CBS is calling it’s upcoming special about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9 1964 “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles.” The question is whether or not seeing the Beatles perform on the CBS variety show changed you.
A record setting 74 million people watched Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr perform “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” That means the odds are high those of you who are over the age of 50 were sitting in front of the television watching musical history being made. Please please me and share your memories of the show.
Fresno’s Diane Daniels, who was 14 when the show originally aired, recalls vividly sitting with her entire family — including her grandmother who was living with them at the time — gathering in the living room to watch the program. She was already a fan of the Fab Four through their records and radio play.
“My mother said how terrible it was they had long hair. All they had were bangs,” Daniels, whose favorite Beatle is Paul, says.
She was living in Fremont at the time and begged her parents to buy her a ticket to see the Beatles when the appeared at the Cow Palace in San Francisco six months later. They forked over the $8.50 for the ticket and Daniels and her best friend, Joanne, arrived at the venue at 8 a.m. — 12 hours before the show.
“It’s the happiest memory in my life including my wedding,” Daniels says.
Warren Auernheimer, general manager Spinners Records in the Tower District was in the third grade when the big event happened.
“I don’t remember that performance but I do remember my mom letting me stay up to watch it. My mom was a big Beatles fan and knew everything about them. My dad was also into music because he designed and built stereo equipment so we always had music on in the house,” Aubrnhdimer says.
Tom Whitlock, general manager of Clovis’ Whitcomm Electronics, was 9 when the show aired. His memories of the telecast are more of his parents than of the performance.
“I remember them singing ‘She Loves You’ and my parents flipping out over their long hair and the music. Their eyes were as big as saucers and their jaws dropped,” Whitlock says. He pauses and then adds, “I also remember the girls screaming.”
The music that caused his parents such grief became a huge part of Whitlock’s life as he helped launch KFIG radio in the ‘70s. The Beatles were part of the Album Oriented Rick format played on the station.
Many of you may have been moved to a frenzy later on as the performance have been released and re-released on video and DVD. Either way, I am looking for you to share your memories of that historical day. Please take a trip down music melody lane with a comment.
As for the continuing popularity of the Beatles, the recent Grammy telecast — that featured a performance by McCartney and Starr — was the second most watched Grammys in 21 years with 28.5 million viewers. The two-hour CBS special was taped the night after Grammys and will feature today’s top artists covering the songs performed by the Beatles on that momentous evening along with other Beatles songs through the years. There also will be as footage from that landmark Sunday evening and other archival material.