February 9 - 1964 - The Beatles' First Ed Sullivan Appearance

When the Beatles first arrived in America, they were by far the biggest band in Britain and had made serious inroads in the USA. Yet when they landed at JFK Airport, the Beatles were greeted by thousands of fans and a mob of reporters. Their real breakthrough in America came two days later, however, when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Ed Sullivan was the arbiter of cultural import in the 1960s, and by featuring the Beatles on his show, Sullivan signalled that the Beatles were significant. Sullivan's taste was overshadowed by the overwhelming desire of American audiences to see the Beatles. Teenage girls screamed through the entire performance. More strikingly, some 70 million people watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and an estimated 60% of all televisions were tuned in to the Beatles' performance. From that point on, the Beatles were the biggest band in America.

William Floyd