Category: The Beatles come to America

50 Years of Beatlemania

By Daniel Fickman


Mulchrone, Vincent. “This Beatlemania.” The Daily Mail 21 Oct. 1963

Spitz, Bob. “Chapter 23/ So This Is Beatlemania.” The Beatles: The Biography. New York City: Little, Brown, 2005

Beatles Invade America. Perf. The Beatles. Universal, 1964. Newsreel

Strongin, Theodore. “The Beatles, “Musicologically”” The New York Times 10 Feb. 1964

Schneider, Cary. “What the Critics Wrote about the Beatles in 1964.” N.p., 9 Feb. 2014. Web.

Kaplan, Fred. “Teen Spirit: What Was so Important about the Beatles’ Appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show?” N.p., 10 Feb. 2014. Web.


The Birth of Beatlemania

Many music fans, journalists, and reporters debate who coined the term, “Beatlemania.” The first printed use of the term seems to have appeared in The Daily Mail, a British middle-market tabloid newspaper, on Oct. 21, 1963. The headline, “This Beatlemania” ran above a feature article written by Vincent Mulchrone. Underneath the headline Mulchrone asked, “Would you let your daughter marry a Beatle?”

About a week before this article appeared, Beatlemania really began to spread throughout the UK. The Beatles’ Oct. 13, 1963, performance on “Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium” made them a fixture on the nation’s front pages. And although they busted out No.1 hits including “From Me To You,” and “Twist and Shout,” it wasn’t the music that caught everyone’s attention. It was the extreme fandom surrounding them. If you watch the original recording you’ll notice that The Beatles could barely hear themselves playing.

No one had ever seen anything like this. Eyewitnesses spoke to The Daily Herald in London remarking that they saw screaming girls launching themselves at police, “sending helmets flying and constables reeling.” In a matter of months, Beatlemania was set to reach a fever pitch when The Beatles made their way over to America, kicking off the British invasion.



It was 50 years ago today…

In January 1964 “I Want to Hold Your Hand” became the band’s first No.1 hit in the U.S. Also in January TV talk show host Jack Paar gave Americans their first prime-time glimpse of Beatlemania in the UK by showing clips of their concerts and crazed fans. Excitement and anticipation was through the roof.

The British invasion truly began on Feb. 7, 1964. The Beatles arrived at JFK airport in New York City to kick off their United States tour, and they were greeted by thousands of screaming fans. Two days later one of the most important moments in rock n’ roll history occurred on “The Ed Sullivan Show.

On February 9, 1964 The Beatles made their U.S. television debut. A record-breaking 70 million viewers tuned into “The Ed Sullivan Show” to watch the fab four from Liverpool change the face of popular music in the United States. Interestingly enough, however, critical reaction to this legendary performance was mixed at the time.

On Feb. 11, 1964, one Los Angeles Times critic wrote that they were a “press agent’s dream combo.” The critic then doubled up on that insult by stating, “Not even their mothers would claim that they sing well.” On Feb. 10, Theodore Strongin who wrote for The New York Times claimed that, “The Beatles’ vocal quality can be described as hoarsely incoherent, with the minimal enunciation necessary to communicate the schematic texts.”

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Ed Sullivan John Lennon, Paul McCartney

The Beatles performing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” “For Educational use only.”


Roll Over Beethoven

In 2004, the 40th anniversary of “The Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, Fred Kaplan, a writer for Slate, reflected on why that specific television performance was so important in terms of U.S. pop culture.

“The Beatles took hold of our country and shook it to a different place because they were young, because their music had a young, fresh feel, and because—this is the crucial thing—our parents didn’t get it,” Kaplan stated. “The day after that Sullivan show, every boy came to school with his hair combed down as far as he could manage (which, in most cases, wasn’t very far). Some went out and bought Beatle wigs. Or saved up to buy a guitar and then got together with friends to form a band.” Kaplan also made the interesting point that most popular music before 1964 sounds ancient, while most popular music that came after that point still sounds modern today.

Regardless of what the critics said at the time, one thing is for sure: The Beatles elevated popular music in a way that had never been done before.


Daniel Fickman is a journalism senior. He can be reached at

The Beatles come to America

Beatles come to America

By Kristen Smith

Information from: Paul Gardner, New York Times, Saturday February 8, 1964 page 25

Public Domain footage:

Beatles Invasion: 


Beatles Rare Photos

Image by Mike Mitchell, AP Images

Beatle Infestation

Saturday, February 8 at 1:20 P.M., a PanAm flight from London to New York brought 4 unknowingly famous men to America. Greeted by 3,000 screaming teenage fans, the Beatles were welcomed into America in February of 1964. Their arrival was recorded for the news. A household name, the Beatles had already gained great popularity before they ever set foot into the states.

“Multiply Elvis Presley by four, subtract six years from his age, add British accents and a sharp sense of humor. The answer: It’s the Beatles,” Paul Gardner, reporter for the New York Times, said.

That’s exactly what the Beatles were. They brought a wave of culture into America that didn’t previously exist, including “tight pants, boots, and hair that never seems to be cut,” Gardner said.

It seems that the four young gents were not aware of their momentous fame in a country like the U.S.

“All we knew was that a couple of the records had done well in the States,” Cynthia Lennon said in an interview for the Beatles Bible website. “We believed there was still a huge mountain to climb if The Beatles were really to make it there.”


Beatles, Who?

The Beatles, also known as the Fab Four, was comprised of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Laura Young, who was 8 years old when the Beatles first came to America, remembers going to their concert as a teenager. “They were touring and came to Lake Charles, which is just down the road from where I grew up,” Young said. “I went with a few of my friends and we had all picked a Beatle to be our husband, and I got stuck with Ringo.”

The Beatles were a different kind of rock ‘n’ roll than what Americans were used to. Compared to American rockers like Elvis, they definitely had an unusual look.

“They’re different,” Danielle Landau, a Brooklyn 15-year-old from Gardner’s article, said. “They’re just so different. I mean, all that hair. American singers are soooo clean-cut.”

The band is remembered for trippy lyrics, iconic hairstyles and a revolutionary take on rock ‘n’ roll music.


Beatles in the Media

For their first live television appearance, The Beatles went on the Sunday February 9 evening episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. The second appearance took place on the following Tuesday, where they played a concert in the Coliseum in Washington. On that Wednesday, for Lincoln’s Birthday, they performed two shows at Carnegie Hall. Their third television appearance took place in New York the weekend after and was recorded on tape.

Come Together 

When the Beatles first came to America, they weren’t welcomed as warmly as their airport entourage may have let on. In a press conference that took place upon their arrival, an interviewer asked them the following question:

“In Detroit Michigan, there handing out car stickers saying, ‘Stamp Out The Beatles.'”

Paul then replied, “Yeah well… first of all, we’re bringing out a ‘Stamp Out Detroit’ campaign.”

The group as a collective had a wit that paired with their sweet British charm to make fans of all ages swoon.



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