(Re) Meet The Beatles!

It was 50 years ago today, John, Paul, George and Ringo came to the US  to play. Since then their music’s always been in style, and they’re guaranteed to raise a smile…..

Yes, this is a lame adaptation of Sgt. Pepper lyrics, but you get the drift. It’s been 50 years ago since The Beatles came to the United States, and rocked us in ways that were overwhelming at the time. They literally arrived on February 7, 1964 on Pan Am flight #110. Their flight arrived at Idlewild Airport which had just been renamed JFK Airport, for President Kennedy who was assassinated just 11 weeks earlier.

(PS:  “Khrushchev’s due in Idlewild” is the key lyric from what hit TV show song? Answer below)

I am showing my age by these memories as I was in sixth grade at the time at Florence M. Guadineer Junior High School in Springfield, NJ. Music was an important part of my life then and still is, but the power of radio in introducing The Beatles was overwhelming. The format was of the era was labeled “Top 40” later rechristened CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) and in the New York market the major Top 40 stations were AM rockers, WABC (770AM) and WCMA (570AM). Still too early for FM. At WABC the key jocks were Herb Oscar Anderson, Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Scott Muni & Cousin Brucie, among others. WMCA, the home of the Good Guys, were the mavericks featuring Joe O’Brien, Harry Harrison (who’d later move to WABC), Jack Spector, Dandy Dan Daniel (who’d later become a long-time jock at oldies station WCBS-FM in NY), Gary Stevens and BMR (B. Mitchel Reed).

It was an era of  short, tight playlists with the #1 song played hourly and these two stations pumped out Beatles hits one after one. WABC if fact often called themselves–W, A, Beatle, C. And did they play the Beatles, which had Ten #1 hits in 1964 & 1965, including the following, in chronological order of their U.S. release:

I Want To Hold Your Hand

She Loves You

Can’t Buy Me Love

Love Me Do

Hard Day’s Night

I Feel Fine

Eight Days a Week

Ticket To Ride



Beatles & edSJust two days after the Beatles landed in the U.S., on February 9, 1964 they played on the Ed Sullivan show, the Sunday evening CBS powerhouse variety show. The show was live from CBS TV Studio 50 which housed 700 people. Imagine the price of a ticket for the show introducing The Beatles in today’s world. But the show was not populated with only the well-heeled of influence as it would be today, but instead laden with screaming teenage girls.

Ed Sullivan’s simple introduction was as follows:

Now, yesterday and today our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that this city has never witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles. Now tonight, you’re going to twice be entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of the show. Ladies and gentleman, The Beatles! Let’s bring them on.

And then the Beatles played, All My Loving, Till There Was You, and She Loves You in the first set and then I Saw Her Standing There and I Want to Hold Your Hand in the second set. The program got a 45.3 rating, a mind boggling rating that’s “Super Bowl worthy” in today’s world.

We all know the history of The Beatles and the music they created, their break-up in 1970, never to re-unite and the tragic murder of John Lennon and passing of George Harrison. Their mark on the music industry was Elvis-like and some. 50 years ago in 1964. It was another time, but nothing today compares in its musical impact, and probably never will.

PS: Answer to question above: 1961-1963 TV hit  Car 54 Where Are You? starring Joe E. Ross and Fred (“What’s a Yute”) Gwynne. Can you sing the entire Car 54 song?

More Strumings

Leave a Reply