The Beatles 50th Anniversary Since First Performance in US - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

People on Delmarva Remember Beatles Historic Performance 50 Years Ago


SALISBURY, Md.-Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first live performance on The Ed Sullivan Show during their first trip to the US.

People all over the country tuned in to see it, including some folks on Delmarva. Many people remember the group's historic performance that drew 73 million viewers. Some also remember the 'Fab Four's' first concert at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, DC, two days later. It was the beginning of what everyone knew as the British Invasion. 

George, Ringo, John and Paul touched down on U.S. soil for the first time Feb. 7, 1964. They were greeted by 4,000 screaming fans at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Rick Garner, who has collected Beatles memorabilia for decades, was just a teenager at the time. He remembers the day the Beatles arrived. 

" I said why would that many people go to an airport just to see someone get off of an airplane," Garner said. " It was absolutely unbelievable. I've never heard of anything like it; I mean they didn't do that for a president."

The Beatles arrived from England just weeks after their single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" landed on top of U.S. charts. 

"They created a fresh, bold idea of the way music should be played," Garner said. " Even though it evolved, it was just refreshing."

It was 50 years ago Feb.9, 1964, when the Beatles made their first live television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Nearly half of the U.S. population tuned in to see it. The rock group performed twice that night. They opened the show with "All My Loving." The audience went wild. That night reeled in the highest ratings ever for a regularly scheduled television program.

Jacqueline Jamison of Berlin was eight years old when she witnessed the onset of the British Invasion on her family's television.

"They dared to be different because they were completely different than anyone who had come over here," Jamison said. "I liked their haircuts and accents."

Garner saw their first performance too.

"One of the things I thought was so cool was when they'd go 'wooooo'," Garner sang, shaking his head side-to-side. "Every time they did it while they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, you would get this little chill running up your spine." 

Garner has more than 500 records, and he has never played any of them because he wants to preserve them. 

"It's just something to occupy my mind and to take the stresses of the world away," Garner said. 

Beatlemania also inspired some of Delmarva's younger musicians like John Pheasant, who use to play Beatles tributes on boardwalk in Ocean City.

Now, the 25-year-old gives back to residents at a rehabilitation center in Berlin when he is not on the move with his band called, " The British Invasion Experience" or working on his solo project. 

"It's just amazing to watch them relive their childhood, so to speak," Pheasant said. "They actually get younger [listening to his music]."

The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show one last time the following year. The show aired in black and white, like the others. The 'Fab Four' performed one week before the show started broadcasting in color. 


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