Introducing...The Beatles: Celebrating Their First Ed Sullivan Performance

Courtesy Jacksboro Highway
L-R: Pete Best, John Lennon, Delbert McClinton, Bruce Chanel, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
Lonesome, Onry and Mean didn't get in much trouble in school. So his parents were a little disturbed to find the eighth grader in the principal's office on the afternoon of February 10, 1964. He and his best friends, Mike Clowdus, Brad Rutledge, and Larry "Suitcase" Simpson, had been written up and sent to the office by Mr. Stephen Haynes, the eighth grade honors algebra teacher.

The infraction? Combing our hair like the Beatles.

We'd been hearing about the Beatles for a few weeks. Ed Sullivan, the host of the popular television variety show, The Ed Sullivan Show, had the full weight of CBS Television behind him as a hype machine, and it had been made very plain to the American public that the Beatles were a phenomenon of Elvis-like proportions -- and possible cultural danger. So, of course, we awaited this terrible moment with all the tingling anticipation of a horror movie.

Some of our friends had parents so strict that they forbade their children to even witness the telecast, but LOM's parents were not of that persuasion, so we all gathered in the living room eagerly awaiting the blessed event. I don't remember clearly, but knowing my Mom there was probably a large bowl of popcorn.

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i was 4 and tried to shake my crew cut like ringo's mop...  my dad was a country music dj and not too thrilled with this development...  he kept giving my mom, who liked them, a hard time about how they were "crying"...  they were just sweating from the tv lights...

Arty Hill
Arty Hill

"[O]ne look at the video shows a band that would be very average in today's world.  None of the Beatles were particularly accomplished players, singers, or songwriters...."  I disagree.  To begin with, they are playing this show with no monitors and bunch of screaming girls in the audience.  They probably can't hear their own instruments or voices at all (hence Paul's difficulty singing the low notes), yet they're all playing in time.  George's solo is not fancy, but it's note perfect, as is his harmony on the last verse with Paul.  The song has a very fine melody - the lyrics are not great literature, but they're great pop lyrics.  The Beatles may look unimpressive to some in this video, but that's because the things they were accomplished at - playing in tune and in time, writing melodic songs, and singing well - are no longer of value to many contemporary musicians.  Which is why we probably won't get a 21st century "Rubber Soul" or "Revolver" any time soon.


this is great!  Ringo looks absolutely bored!  And perhaps i am wrong but is there some lip syncing going on there?  I thought Madonna invented that shit! 


Beautiful little slice of life there, LOM.And it did indeed shift the cultural axis of the world.

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