Beatles News

All hail Ringo, for 50 years the unsung Beatle - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dear Ringo, Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of your appearance with the lads on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I know you’re aware of the media din surrounding Sunday night’s CBS special commemorating the event.

They’re calling it “The Night That Changed America,” since we all know how Feb. 9, 1964 not only impacted the Baby Boomer generation but the entire pop-culture landscape. You were a huge part of that seismic sociological shift. And, hey, with you and Paul “reuniting” for the telecast (we’ll ignore your 2009 and 2010 reunions for now), it’s an exciting night. So savor the moment. Soak it all in. After all, you are The World’s Most Famous Drummer. But people forget that, don’t they? So I’m here to help set the record straight. Consider it a letter from me to you, from one Starr to another. (Yeah, I know, privately you prefer to be called Richy in deference to your birth name, Richard Starkey.) Sure, everyone is falling over themselves to praise you — now — but what befal details

On Sunday CBS aired a tribute to arguably the most influential rock and roll band of all time, titled The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles. That night, of course, was February 9, 1964, when the Beatles made their debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

During GRAMMY week, caught up with music icons who were around when the Fab Four hit our shores for the first time, some of whom were parked in front of the TV the night of the original broadcast. Here's what they told us about their impressions of that night, and the Beatles' role in the changing tides of popular culture. Motown Records founder Berry Gordy: "I certainly saw them [perform] many, many times! Their impact on me was very big! First of all, they did three of our songs on their second album, so I loved them after that. Recently, Paul McCartney came to the Motown Museum, and refurbished an old piano we had." [Note: 1963's With The Beatles featured "Please Mr. Postman," "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and "Money (That's What I Want)."]


On a frigid February night 50 years ago, a cavernous sports arena in Washington D.C. became sacred ground. Two days before, the Beatles had performed on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” inaugurating one of the most frenzied, hysterical fan phenomena of all time. Then the foursome hopped a train to Washington, D.C., for their first live concert in America.

Mike Mitchell, barely older than the crowd, was tasked with documenting the moment when John, Paul, George and Ringo took the stage of the Washington Coliseum. He was mesmerized by the experience, and then horrified when he saw how his photographs were used. It was a conflict that captured the growing divide – and in some cases hostility – that the 60s forged between younger and older generations of Americans. But 50 years later, Mitchell is getting the last laugh – and a whole lot more – from the iconic photos he rediscovered and restored. “I was driving down the road in my green ‘55 Chevrolet. I heard, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ on the radio, and I got it imm details

Today, the Beatles hold an exalted place in the history of rock 'n' roll. But 50 years ago, when they first crossed the Atlantic to perform in the United States, the reaction was decidedly mixed. Here is a sampling of what the critics were saying.

Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1964

With their bizarre shrubbery, the Beatles are obviously a press agent's dream combo. Not even their mothers would claim that they sing well. But the hirsute thickets they affect make them rememberable, and they project a certain kittenish charm which drives the immature, shall we say, ape. 

William F. Buckley Jr.

Boston Globe

Sept. 13, 1964

An estimable critic writing for National Review, after seeing Presley writhe his way through one of Ed Sullivan's shows … suggested that future entertainers would have to wrestle with live details

The British Invasion began 50 years ago on Friday, Feb. 7, 1964, when the Beatles landed at New York's Kennedy Airport. Two days later, on Sunday, Feb. 9, more than 70 million people watched as John, Paul, George and Ringo rocked the house – and the world – on "The Ed Sullivan Show"

As all musicians, the Beatles were armed with their instruments of choice: Ringo's Oyster Black Ludwig drum kit; George's Gretsch Country Gentleman; Paul's Hofner bass guitar with the strange neck-pocket guitar-strap setup; and, of course, John's black Rickenbacker. On Friday, to mark the 50-year anniversary of the Beatles' performance, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum put Lennon's beloved guitar on display, on loan directly from Yoko Ono in New York, carried all the way to Cleveland by a dedicated Rock Hall curator. And then it was lovingly installed in a glass case at the Rock Hall. Stop by and take a look. You'll love it – yeah, yeah, yeah! And don't forget, this whole weekend is being dedicated to the Beatles, with Rock Hall programs and events galore. In details

Guitarist participated as part of house band for "The Night That Changed America," premiering Sunday Just six weeks into the new year, Peter Frampton can say he's already had a pretty good 2014.

As if being inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville just after the GRAMMY Awards wasn't enough, Frampton played an integral part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Beatles' arrival in the U.S. -- which reaches its zenith with Sunday's broadcast of the all-star "The Beatles: The Night That Changed America -- A Grammy Salute" on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. Recruited to perform for, and with, Ringo Starr during the David Lynch Foundation gala on Jan. 20 in Los Angeles, Frampton wound up backing Starr during the GRAMMY Awards ceremony and serving with the house band assembled by Don Was for "The Night That Changed America" taping the next evening. And, the guitarist tells Billboard, spending a week playing Beatles and Beatl details

Fifty years, ago, when Julian Lennon was just a baby, his father, John, and the rest of the Beatles— Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—packed their bags and boarded a plane headed for the U.S. There, on Feb. 9, 1964, they would grace the stage of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” making them an international music phenomenon.

Growing up, young Julian didn’t understand anything about his father’s massive success and the time that would become known as Beatlemania. “I mean, [during the height of Beatlemania] I was 3, 4, 5 [years old],” Lennon told FOX411. “Anyone must remember that dad left when I was 3 years old. Mom and I lived out of the limelight. We lived a totally different life. “People seem to forget that. In many respects, as much as I’m tied in [with Beatles history] I am also quite distant from it.” Still, on the phone, Lennon sounds exactly as you’d expect him to, with a perfect English accent and a slow, steady tone. In photos, the resemblance between Julian and John is unde details

In 1968, Maurice Hindle sent an ambitious letter to a Beatles fanzine requesting an interview with John Lennon. It was always going to be a long-shot; Hindle was a student at Keele University in Staffordshire County, England, and the Beatles were already the biggest band in the country. You can imagine Hindle’s shock, then, when he received a reply from Lennon himself in December, inviting him and his friends to Lennon’s home in Surrey.

The students made their way to his home, sat on Indian carpets, ate bread and jam prepared by Yoko Ono, and listened to Lennon speak for six hours. The topics ranged from politics to social change (Lennon spent a good deal of time responding to the famous Black Dwarf letter criticizing his anti-uprising stance on “Revolution”), to more practical matters like the Beatles’ upcoming tour. Hard Rock acquired the tapes in 1987, but kept them under wraps until now. But with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first American tour imminent, the company has released them to the p details

In just a few days, we will mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first U.S. concert. The Fab Four played right here in D.C. at the Washington Coliseum. Tommy Roe was as close to the action as anyone. He shared the stage with the legendary group that night as the opening act.

It was 1964. The Beatles -- sensations in England – were making their mark in America. After the band played "The Ed Sullivan Show," Beatlemania tightened its grip on U.S. fans. The band was set to play their first U.S. concert, and it was happening in the nation's capital inside the Washington Coliseum. “It was called the Washington Sports Arena, so it really wasn't set up for a concert series,” said Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of the DC Preservation League. They were playing a concert at a venue that wasn't really a concert venue at all. There wasn't even a details

The modern day's most popular psychedelic surrealists, the Flaming Lips, covered the Sixties' most popular psychedelic song, "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," as part of The Late Show With David Letterman's Beatles Week last night. Moreover, they did it with a little help from their friend Sean Lennon.

The Lips had previously shared their own, six-minute audio rendition of the song via frontman Wayne Coyne's Instagram, but, as with every Flaming Lips song, the visual element makes it so much better. On Letterman, Coyne wore a frilly silver coat and stood atop a road case, waving his arms like a born-again prophet, with ribbons colored with pastel pink and green lights flowed from him. Lennon, sporting the same hat and beard his dad wore on the album sleeve for Hey Jude, stood to Coyne's left and swayed as he sang of "cellophane flowers." When the chorus finally hit, so did the glitter, as thousands of tiny silver particles (diamonds?) rained over the musicians and Coyne's ribbon ligh details

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