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The Day the Beatles Changed the World

On Feb. 9, 1964, the world of rock music — and American culture in general — was turned upside down by the Beatles‘ debut performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

That seeds planted by this event would soon grow out of control, and for all intents and purposes, the world would never be the same again. As it’s been described by more than one ecstatic soul — before John, Paul, George and Ringo, the world was in black and white, and after them it was in technicolor.

The Beatles arrived in the U.S. on Feb. 7, and within 48 hours or so, a new era in youth culture would begin. They first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9 for what would be the first of three consecutive weekly appearances. Watched by over 73 million viewers, it has long been mentioned as one of those “Where were you when … ?” moments in history, and with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” sitting on top of the U.S. charts, “Beatlemania” had officially begun!

The band performed five songs: “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” All except “She Loves You” would appear on their first album for Capitol Records, Meet the Beatles, released a couple weeks after this appearance. Oh and just for the record, it was live, not lip synced!

The Beatles would transcend mere ‘pop culture’ in ways never dreamed of before. They inspired countless kids to pick up instruments and start bands, leading to the rock and roll revolution that was the ’60’s and ’70’s. The impact of this simple event is still felt to this day. Need proof? Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Kiss and Aerosmith are just a few of the artists who recall how much this day meant to them. And in the below video, Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder trade stories about the Fab Four’s arrival and its impact.

Beatles Albums Ranked Worst to Best

Next: Top 50 Beatles Songs

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