Beatles on Ed Sullivan 2/9/64

I recall when they were on that summer because I remember going outside after the show and it was warm in NJ. Everyone thought it was a big thing but I was young so not really into music yet .

That is a USA date Feb 9, 64

I was in the Ed Sullivan Theater for the Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2019. After the show, the usher let us walk toward the stage to get a look at the ceiling.

The usher talked about all the history. I asked him how the stage was set up in the past. He explained how Letterman’s desk was in the right side (Colbert’s is on the left) and how the stage was slightly deeper for the Ed Sullivan Show. He said Elvis played where Colbert’s desk is now. Then he pointed center stage toward the back, and said “And The Beatles played right over there.”

And I got goosebumps.

Also on that Ed Sullivan program were future Monkee Davy Jones performing his role as the Artful Dodger from the musical Oliver! and impressionist Frank Gorshin, the future Batman villain, the Riddler.

I was a 4th grader in a small town in rural Missouri, and hadn’t heard anything about the band prior to seeing them on Ed Sullivan. I didn’t have a strong reaction to their performance. During the show there were screen caption with their names (including the well known “Sorry girls, he’s married”).

The next day, kids were talking about it during recess. I mentioned “Ringo” (it was a memorable name), but pronounced it “Ring-oh”, and was quickly corrected.

If you trust the audio on this YouTube clip, the sound mixers obviously thought that McCartney was the front-man and had Lennon’s mic way down. Which doesn’t make sense since… sound checks? You would think.

It’s most obvious when McCartney sings the high harmonies -

When I saw that show on DVD, I was amazed at how slipshod the stage work was. Not only was Lennon’s mic turned way down on “I Saw Her Standing There” , but its height was also left too low: the preceding act was a comedian who was shorter than Lennon, who can be seen adjusting the mic stand himself during the song!

Too be fair, I’m sure it was a crazy time backstage.

One problem was that George was sick with tonsillitis .so they mixed things low to compensate for the vocals. Also apparently the cleaners had erased the chalk marks from an earlier set up.

Less than two months later later they had all the top 5 songs on Billboard.

I saw both The Beatles and Elvis on Ed Sullivan (the latter in 1957). I recall my sister, who was 17 at the time, swooning over Elvis. My wife saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium. I wish she’d kept her ticket stubs.

You have to love Colonel Tom Parker. Sending a telegram in Elvis Presley’s name to congratulate the moptops and steal a bit of their spotlight. And then sending Elvis out to record such great songs as “Yoga is as Yoga Does” and “Old McDonald had a Farm”. Elvis pretty much followed his manager.

I was a college freshman at the time. Everyone in my rooming house watched it on the only tv in the house, a little 12" B&W in some guy’s room. We had watched the Kennedy funeral and Oswald shooting on that same tv.

I was 8yrs old and was largely outside of what all the fuss was about, but my two slightly older siblings were very keen. That evening my parents had over for dinner, a family who’s Dad worked at the factory my Dad managed. They had two kids about my age.

Everything was going as you’d expect, then it was coming on time for Ed Sullivan and the Beatles! Those parents then, very politely made it clear their kids would NOT be watching. No one really explained why, it was all polite smiles and, ‘Of course!’, like it was nothing!

I spent the entire time I was watching them, with my siblings, scouring my mind trying to understand what was so offensive the others forbidden to see!

I asked people about it for a week, but was left none the wiser for all the stupid explanations I was offered.

But for this turn, I doubt I would recall this event at all!

I was only 2-1/2 at the time, but my aunt who was around 12 was bonkers for the Beatles. I became a fan because of her. My grandma (her mom) was into all things cameras, pictures, slides, movies, etc. My grandma filmed the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show with what I assume was super 8. I remember seeing it when we’d watch old home movies. My aunt has converted it to dvd along with all the home movies.

I met a guy who was a DJ and said he flew on the chopper with the Beatles to the Shea Stadium show. I guess I believed him.

My main memory is my mother going on and on about how they needed haircuts and complaining about the screaming. I was 10, so a bit younger than the screaming girls in the audience.

Imagine my surprise some years later when I heard her singing some of their songs as she worked.