Monday, February 9, 2015

The Beatles Arrive

They arrived in New York City on February 7, 1964 aboard Pan Am Flight 101 from London’s Heathrow Airport. The Beatles were already at the top of the charts in the UK and had played for the Royal family. Now, their carefully orchestrated American debut would launch a meteoric rise to international fame.

Seltaeb, the group’s US merchandising company had promised every fan that came to the airport would receive a dollar bill and a t-shirt. Capitol Records had printed posters and distributed hundreds of “The Beatles are coming!” bumper stickers throughout New York City. So as the plane taxied to the gate between three and five thousand screaming fans were crammed on the terminal roof to see John, George, Paul, and Ringo as they stepped on to the tarmac. Two hundred reporters and photographers jockeyed for close-ups and pithy quotes.

Two days later the Beatles made the first of three memorable appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. The group’s manager, Brian Epstein had finalized the deal with Sullivan– the group would receive $10,000 and top billing for appearances on three consecutive shows. On that first evening 73,000,000 viewers tuned in to hear the Beatles sing.

The group was also featured on the cover of Newsweek on February 24th. An article in that issue entitled “Bugs About Beatles,” was less than complimentary. “Visually, they are a nightmare: tight, dandified, Edwardian/Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically, they are a near-disaster: guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony, and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of “yeah, yeah, yeah!”) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments.” The article ended with the following prediction, “…the odds are they will fade away, as most adults confidently predict.”1

Hear the Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show: httpss://

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at

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