NBC footage of The Beatles at the Winter Gardens broadcast on 3 January 1964
Many people believe Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to America, but their first television appearances used the footage shot in Bournemouth – initially on CBS and then on NBC’s Jack Paar Show, a month before the Ed Sullivan Show.
Until the Winter Gardens footage was shown though, the group’s track record in America was virtually non-existent.
At first, Capitol turned down the group and their debut single, Love Me Do, was not even released. The follow-ups, Please Please Me and From Me To You, both flopped on the Veejay imprint, before EMI struck a deal with the Swan label to release She Loves You on 16 September 1963. It bombed.
But with coast-to-coast airplay, I Want To Hold Your Hand topped the US Billboard charts on 1 February 1964. A week later The Beatles landed in New York – at the newly renamed John F Kennedy Airport – and on 9 February made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. The show was watched by 73 million people; 40% of the entire population.
Beatlemania was in its pomp and after seven weeks at number one I Want To Hold Your Hand was replaced by, of course, the re-released She Loves You.
This extract is taken from Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth which is available to order from www.beatlesandbournemouth.com.