THE SHOCK OF THE NEW, FEBRUARY, 1964: IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY…

…That the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, of course. And I would be remiss if I didn’t share my favorite quote from among the numerous American performers who had already witnessed them in Europe (and the only one, so far as I know, who actually made a tape to bring to her American record company–which informed her that neither their sound or their look would ever make it here).

“They were just a little band that started opening shows for me, and I thought they were fabulous….And every night they would do these different songs and at that point, the British Invasion had not come to America. So I thought, ‘Where did these songs come from?’ So I talked to John and Paul, and they said, ‘Well, we wrote all these songs.’ I’m thinkin’, ‘My Lord.'”

Brenda Lee, hitting the nail on the head, as usual. (Source: Great American Country, August, 24 2007)

And here’s a clip from the BBC (December, 1963), which–unlike the Sullivan shows–actually indicates what the fuss was all about…you know, beyond all those songs. As a live act, they were never going to be Elvis or James Brown (or Brenda Lee if it comes to that), but, even with John determined to show everybody just how much Music Hall there was in their schtick–and even with two of the three numbers being somebody else’s songs–both they and their audience were much looser and far less self-conscious here than they ever would be again:

 

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