50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, February 9, 1964-

Studio 50, New York City, USA

In the morning there was another Studio 50 rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show. George was unwell and did not participate, in his stead, the cameras rehearsed their positioning with a stand-in, the Beatle's assistant Neil Aspinall.

During the afternoon, before their celebrated live Sullivan debut that evening, the Beatles - with George - taped the appearance, ostensibly their third, that would be screened after their departure from America, on Sunday, February 23rd (8:00-9:00 pm EST). For this, before a different audience from that which would attend the evening performance, they played three numbers: first "Twist And Shout" and "Please Please Me" and then, in a different setting for inclusion later in the program, "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Before any of this happened, though, Sullivan claimed the spotlight and delivered one of his haughty pronouncements that summed up a US reaction to this first Beatle visit: "All of us on the show are so darned sorry, and sincerely sorry, that this is the third and thus our last current show with the Beatles, because these youngsters from Liverpool, England, and their conduct over here, not only as fine professional singers but as a group of fine youngsters, will leave an imprint of everyone over here who's met them".....

Along with the Beatles, this edition featured Cab Calloway and Gordon and Sheila MacRae, and the program was repeated on Sunday, August 23, 1964.

The first and most famous of the Beatle's two live Sullivan transmissions was performed in front of a Studio 50 audience of 728, and an estimated 73 million people in 23,240,000 homes across the United States, tuning in from 8:00 to 9:00 pm, EST. It was easily the highest US TV audience figure amassed to that time.

The Beatles performed five songs, three at the beginning of the show, "All My Loving", "Till There Was You" and "She Loves You", and two in the second half in a different setting. "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand". It was a daunting yet remarkably confident performance, marred only slightly by an awkward sound balance. During "Till There Was You", each of the Beatles came in for individual camera attention, at which point his christian name appeared on screen. When it came to John, an additional caption read, "Sorry Girls, He's Married".

As it transpired, this edition of the "Ed Sullivan Show" had a pronounced British slant, for apart from the Beatles it also featured singer/banjoist Tessie O'Shea and the New York cast of Lionel Bart's London musical, Oliver, starring Georgia Brown and -as the artful Dodger - Davy Jones, the future member of the Monkees. (Another guest act was the American impressionist Frank Gorshin, later to appear as The Riddler in the Batman TV Series.)

This celebrated edition of The Ed Sullivan Show was repeated on Sunday, July 12, 1964 (8:00 to 9:00 pm, EST) while highlights from the Beatles' sequences went into The Ed Sullivan Show: The Swinging Soulful Sixties, a retrospective of musical moments from Sullivan's shows throughout the decade, broadcast by CBS on Sunday, December 21, 1969.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Saturday, February 8, 1964-

Studio 50, Broadway and West 53rd St. New York City, New York, USA

The first of what would be several studio rehearsals by the Beatles for The Ed Sullivan Show, and another opportunity for the hordes of US radio and press reporters to gain access to the group. This one began at 1:30 pm. These rehearsals, plus the two next-day actual performances, took place inside CBS Television's Studio 50 in midtown Manhattan.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, February 7 through Saturday, February 22, 1964-

Right from the moment that their Pan Am flight touched down at John F Kennedy International Airport, the Beatles were subjected to every form of media exposure known to 1964: journalists, photographers, radio stations and TV news crews covered their every single move, many with live reports. Hundreds of people were clamouring, constantly, for their attention if only for a few seconds, in person, by phone, by any means imaginable.

In addition to all this, and with the express permission of Brian Epstein and the Beatles, film cameras were documenting the group's first US visit from an exclusive vantage point, inside their entourage. This was a complicated production, with Granada Television, the north of England ITV franchise - chipping in financially, Epstein's NEMS company retaining some form of editiorial control and Albert and David Maysles producing the documentary for their own company "Maysles Films". The Maysles took their camera everywhere that the Beatles went during these remarkable two weeks in America. Not only Kennedy Airport, but inside the group's Plaza suite, inside their limousine, at a photo shoot in Central Park, at New York rehearsals for The Ed Sullivan Show, at the Peppermint Lounge night club, on the train down to Washington DC and in Miami Beach. The Maysles also filmed Brian Epstein conducting business, Beatles-mad radio disc-jockey Murray The K broadcasting on New York station 1010 WINS, and a New York family watching the Beatle's debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, January 29, 1964-

Pathe Marconi Studio's, Rue de Sevres,

Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris, France

A marathon concert season at the Olympia - 18 days of two, sometimes three shows each, on a nine-act bill. At no time was it made clear who was headlining: the Beatles, French chanteuse Slvie Vartan, or Trini Lopez, the US singer famous for "If I Had A Hammer", although it was the Beatles who closed each performance, with a repertoire comprising "From Me To You", "Roll Over Beethoven", "She Loves You", "This Boy", "Boys", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Twist And Shout", and "Long Tall Sally". There were only two days of rest in the three-week season, the first two Tuesdays, the 21st and 29th - and on the second of these John and George flew back to London for a few hours.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Friday, January 24, 1964-

The Beatles went to a Paris studio and recorded a radio interview for AFN (the American Forces Network), broadcast the next day, on a programme entitled Weekend World - to US tropps stationed in West Germany. (AFN broadcasts could also be received in Britain on 344m, but only from 6:00 pm. This was transmitted earlier int the day.

From 10:00 to 10:45 back at Abbey Road in London, balance engineer Norman Smith made a tape-to-tape copy of the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" rhythm track, take 17 from October 17, 1963.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, January 22, 1964-

The Beatles nearly made an appearance on the French television programme Age Tendre et Tete de Bois, broadcast from 8:30 to 9:15 pm. At this time there was only one TV channel in France. The national listings journal Telerama described their booking for this show as provisional, subject to confirmation. In fact, they never appeared.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Monday, January 20, 1964-

A short interview with the Beatles was broadcast by Europe I probably in Robert Marcy's programme (12:00 noon-12:30 pm) Further details have proven impossible to reasearch.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Sunday, January 19, 1964-

A marathon concert season at the Olympia - 18 days of two, sometimes three shows each, on a nine-act bill. At no time was it clear who was headlining...The Beatles, French chanteuse Sylvie Vartan, or Trini Lopez, the US singer famous for "If I Had A Hammer", although it was the Beatles who closed each performance. A part of today's matinee was broadcast live by the French radio station Europe I in its programme Musicorama, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Listeners heard Trini Lopez, Sylvie Vartan and then five songs by the Beatles.

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, January 16 to February 4, 1964-

The Beatles at the Olympia Theatre, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris, France

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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Wednesday, January 15, 1964-

Cinema Cyrano, Rue Rameau, Versailles, France

The Beatles' first night in France was a warm-up show for all of the artists participating in the forthcoming three-week season at the Paris Olympia, performed before 2,000 people.

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