When the Beatles left London's Heathrow Airport on the morning on Feb. 7, 1964 -- sent off by a swarm of well-wishing fans -- they didn't know what to expect. Even though they had a No. 1 hit with 'I Want to Hold Your Hand,' they'd heard enough stories about other British musicians who failed to connect in America to question whether or not their success in England would translate on the other side of the Atlantic.
The third part of the equation that would become the Beatles fell into place on Feb. 6, 1958. George Harrison joined the Quarry Men, the John Lennon-led group that Paul McCartney had joined as a second guitarist and singer the previous summer.
The 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first visit to America is certainly getting its due as a pop-culture milestone, with celebrations hosted by the Grammys, David Letterman and CBS. But it'll also receive a more lasting honor, courtesy of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
As the Beatles gathered for what would be their final live set on Jan. 30, 1969, they hadn't performed in public since Aug. 29, 1966 -- a three-year period in which the group would reach new artistic heights, even as it began to fall apart.
On Feb. 9, CBS will air 'The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles' to commemorate -- to the hour -- the 50th anniversary of their debut appearance on the 'Ed Sullivan Show.' Last night (Jan. 27), the program was taped in Los Angeles, with the two surviving members of the group playing together to mark the occasion.
For all of the many superstars who made appearances and thrilled fans with performances at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, the night will probably best be remembered as the night the Beatles dominated the airwaves again . . . almost 50 years to the day when they first landed in the U.S.
Depending on your level of Beatlemania, the Beatles' U.S. albums are either a lasting corporate scar on the group's legacy or beloved nostalgic artifacts tailored for a specific marketplace. Capitol Records are hoping it's the latter with its 13-disc box set 'The U.S. Albums.'
Two weeks after Black Sabbath announced their new line of sneakers, the Beatles have unveiled some brand new shoes of their own. But unlike the Sabbath sneaks, which are inspired by four different albums made by the original band lineup, the new Fab shoes grab images solely from the group's 1968 animated movie 'Yellow Submarine.'
The Recording Academy is going all out to honor the Beatles at this year's Grammy Awards, honoring the band with a Lifetime Achievement Award and helping round up an all-star cast of performers to commemorate their groundbreaking 1964 appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' and it's all got Ringo Starr in a rather nostalgic mood.
It may have taken Capitol Records a year to decide to distribute the Beatles in America, but when it did, the label quickly flooded the market with music. The first entry, 'Meet the Beatles,' reached shelves on Jan. 20, 1964.
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