On February 9, 1964, 73 million people (about 30% of the U.S. population at the time) tuned in to the Ed Sullivan Show to see the Beatles perform for the first time on American television. Today, Sir Paul commented on his first visit to America:
"We didn't know what to expect on that first visit. We didn't expect the craziness that was there and when we did the Ed Sullivan Show it got even crazier. We were just kids at the time and it was just fantastic. Seeing all the footage of it now is still a great buzz. It's a great memory for me, it was one of the highest points of my life.
"The great thing about The Beatles and a lot of the other acts then was that we'd done a lot of work before the big break. Some of the kids these days haven't been around as much as we'd been. We'd done Hamburg and England and a few places in Europe and we were cocky, we kind of knew we were a good little band. So even when we got to go to America, playing in New York on Ed Sullivan, we knew we were a serious little unit."
Ringo Starr added:
"We had no idea what the Ed Sullivan Show meant, we didn't know how huge it was. I don't think we were nervous because we were doing songs that we knew how to play, we'd done them before and we'd done plenty of TV. But the idea of just coming to America was the mind-blower -- no one can imagine these days what an incredible feat it was to conquer America. No British act had done it before. We were just coming over to do our stuff, hopefully get recognized and to sell some records. But it turned into something huge."
Today EMI released the DVD edition of the Maysles Brothers' film The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit. In the film, Albert and David Maysles chronicle the events that took place during that first historical visit including the Ed Sullivan performances (two in New York, one in Miami) and scenes from the Washington Coliseum concert. The DVD includes the original 81-minute feature film as well as a new 50-minute addition, "The Making of the First US Visit," featuring previously unreleased footage along with extensive commentary from Albert Maysles.
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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