This Day in History (February 9)

Feb 9, 1964: America meets the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

History.com

At approximately 8:12 p.m. Eastern time, Sunday, February 9, 1964, The Ed Sullivan Show returned from a commercial (for Anacin pain reliever), and there was Ed Sullivan standing before a restless crowd. He tried to begin his next introduction, but then stopped and extended his arms in the universal sign for “Settle Down.” “Quiet!” he said with mock gravity, and the noise died down just a little. Then he resumed: “Here’s a very amusing magician we saw in Europe and signed last summer….Let’s have a nice hand for him—Fred Kaps!”

For the record, Fred Kaps proceeded to be quite charming and funny over the next five minutes. In fact, Fred Kaps is revered to this day by magicians around the world as the only three-time Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques Grand Prix winner. But Fred Kaps had the horrific bad luck on this day in 1964 to be the guest that followed the Beatles on Ed Sullivan—possibly the hardest act to follow in the history of show business.

It is estimated that 73 million Americans were watching that night as the Beatles made their live U.S. television debut. Roughly eight minutes before Fred Kaps took the stage, Sullivan gave his now-famous intro, “Ladies and gentlemen…the Beatles!” and after a few seconds of rapturous cheering from the audience, the band kicked into “All My Lovin’.” Fifty seconds in, the first audience-reaction shot of the performance shows a teenage girl beaming and possibly hyperventilating. Two minutes later, Paul is singing another pretty, mid-tempo number: “Til There Was You,” from the Broadway musical Music Man. There’s screaming at the end of every phrase in the lyrics, of course, but to view the broadcast today, it seems driven more by anticipation than by the relatively low-key performance itself. And then came “She Loves You,” and the place seems to explode. What followed was perhaps the most important two minutes and 16 seconds of music ever broadcast on American television—a sequence that still sends chills down the spine almost half a century later.

The Beatles would return later in the show to perform “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” as the audience remained at the same fever pitch it had reached during “She Loves You.” This time it was Wells & the Four Fays, a troupe of comic acrobats, who had to suffer what Fred Kaps had after the Beatles’ first set. Perhaps the only non-Beatle on Sullivan’s stage that night who did not consider the evening a total loss was the young man from the Broadway cast of Oliver! who sang “I’d Do Anything” as the Artful Dodger midway through the show. His name was Davy Jones, and less than three years later, he’d star in a TV show of his own that owed a rather significant debt to the hysteria that began on this night in 1964: The Monkees.

This Day in History (February 7)

Feb 7, 1964: The Beatles arrive on American shores

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“On the airplane, I felt New York,” Ringo Starr said many years later. “It was like an octopus….I could feel, like, tentacles coming up to the plane it was so exciting.” For the better part of a year leading up to their arrival in America on this day in 1964, the Beatles had been adjusting to the hysteria that seemed to greet them wherever they went. They had grown somewhat accustomed to the screaming hordes of teenage fans and the omnipresent pack of photographers, cameramen and reporters. They had conquered Sweden, France, Germany and their native England. Yet even the Beatles were nervous at the prospect of finally visiting the United States, a country that had seemed to react indifferently to the initial small-label release of singles like “Please Please Me” and “She Loves You” almost a year earlier.  “I know on the plane over I was thinking, ‘Oh, we won’t make it,'” John Lennon later recalled. “But that’s that side of me. We knew we would wipe them out if we could just get a grip.”

Getting a grip would be difficult given the reception that awaited them on the ground in New York.

“We got off the plane, and we were used to ten, twelve thousand people, you know,” Ringo later recalled. “It must have been four billion people out there. I mean, it was just crazy!” The Beatles were loose, poised and funny at the airport news conference amid the bedlam of shouted questions and screaming fans. But on the ride into Manhattan, Ringo says, they were as giddy as some of the fans who surrounded their limo as it approached the Plaza Hotel. “It was madness! They were all outside and there’s barriers and horses and cops all over the place…with the four of us sitting in the car, giggling. I’ll speak for everybody—we couldn’t believe it! I mean, I’m looking out the car saying, ‘What’s going on? Look at this! Can you believe this?’ It was amazing.”

Nowadays, scenes like those that greeted the Beatles in America in February 1964 could be manufactured by any competent publicist with a client who was willing to foot the bill. It would be impossible, though, to manufacture the emotional impact of Beatlemania, both on the Beatles themselves and on America. John, Paul, George and Ringo had developed an airtight act both onstage and off, but they were still four working-class lads from northern England, now being hailed as conquering heroes in the country whose music had inspired them to become musicians in the first place. And America—not just its teenagers, but the entire country—was still looking for a reason to emerge from the shadow of the Kennedy assassination barely two months earlier. New York found its reason on this day in 1964, and the rest of America followed just two days later when the Beatles made their live television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles Studio Album Remasters Make Stereo Vinyl Debut

Article taken from thebeatles.com

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“The Beatles’ acclaimed original studio album remasters, released on CD in 2009 and in 2010 for digital download exclusively on iTunes,will make their long-awaited stereo vinyl debut on 12th November (13th November in North America).

Manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork, the 14 albums return to their original glory with details including the poster in The Beatles (The White Album), the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band’s cutouts, and special inner bags for some of the titles. Each album will be available individually, and accompanied by a stunning, elegantly designed 252-page hardbound book in a lavish boxed edition which is limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.

The book, exclusive to the boxed edition, is authored by award-winning radio producer Kevin Howlett and features a dedicated chapter for each of the albums, as well as insight into the creation of the remasters and how the vinyl albums were prepared. The 12”x12” book showcases a wealth of photographs spanning The Beatles’ recording career, including many images which were not included in the 2009 CD booklets.

The titles include The Beatles’ 12 original UK albums, first released between 1963 and 1970, the US-originated Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the group’s core catalogue, and Past Masters, Volumes One & Two, featuring non-album A-sides and B-sides, EP tracks and rarities. With this release, The Beatles’ first four albums make their North American stereo vinyl debuts. In 2013, the remastered albums will make their mono vinyl debuts.

Since it was recorded, The Beatles’ music has been heard on a variety of formats – from chunky reel-to-reel tapes and eight-track cartridges to invisible computer files. But there has never been a more romantic or thrilling medium for music than a long-playing twelve-inch disc. We ‘play’ records. The process of carefully slipping the disc out of the sleeve, cleaning it and lowering the stylus provides a personal involvement in the reproduction of the music.

When The Beatles’ albums were first released, the listener enjoyed a tangible relationship with the music in the grooves of a record. There was an emotional connection to the artifact carrying the sound, and this bond was strengthened by the LP sleeve. Rather than a merely functional object to protect the disc, it was elevated to a stylish accessory. Certainly, the cover of a Beatles album conveyed a message about the music it was wrapped around. For example, the dominant orange and brown hues and elongated faces on the front of Rubber Soul seem to embody the sound of the record. With the advent of the cassette tape in the seventies and the compact disc in the 1980s, album artwork was reduced in size and importance, losing much of its charm. That is partly why vinyl LPs have not, as predicted, been discarded.

None of that would really matter, were it not for the enduring power of The Beatles’ music. In September, 2009, The Beatles’ remastered albums on CD graced charts around the world. Seventeen million album sales within seven months was resounding evidence of the timeless relevance of their legacy. Through five decades, the music of The Beatles has captivated generation upon generation.

For producer Rick Rubin, surveying The Beatles’ recorded achievements is akin to witnessing a miracle. “If we look at it by today’s standards, whoever the most popular bands in the world are, they will typically put out an album every four years,” Rubin said in a 2009 radio series interview. “So, let’s say two albums as an eight year cycle. And think of the growth or change between those two albums. The idea that The Beatles made thirteen albums in seven years and went through that arc of change… it can’t be done. Truthfully, I think of it as proof of God, because it’s beyond man’s ability.”

The Stereo Albums Available individually and collected in a boxed collection, accompanied by a beautiful 252-page hardbound book.

•Please Please Me “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” are presented in mono (North American LP debut in stereo)

•With The Beatles (North American LP debut in stereo)

•A Hard Day’s Night (North American LP debut in stereo)

•Beatles For Sale (North American LP debut in stereo)

•Help! Features George Martin’s 1986 stereo remix

•Rubber Soul Features George Martin’s 1986 stereo remix

•Revolver Original album

•Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Packaging includes replica psychedelic inner sleeve, cardboard cutout sheet and additional insert

•Magical Mystery Tour Packaging includes 24-page colour book

•The Beatles (double album) Packaging includes double-sided photo montage/lyric sheet and 4 solo colour photos

•Yellow Submarine “Only A Northern Song” is presented in mono. Additional insert includes original American liner notes.

•Abbey Road Original album

•Let It Be Original album

•Past Masters, Volumes One & Two (double album) “Love Me Do” (original single version), “She Loves You,” “I’ll Get You,” and “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” are presented in mono. Packaging, notes and photographic content is based on the 2009 CD release.”

YES PLEASE!!!

This Day in History (August 27)

Aug 27, 1967: Beatles manager Brian Epstein dies

History.com

On August 27, 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was found dead of an accidental drug overdose in his Sussex, England, home. The following day, the headline in the London Daily Mirror read “EPSTEIN (The Beatle-Making Prince of Pop) DIES AT 32.” Brian Epstein was, by all accounts, the man who truly got the Beatles off the ground, and in John Lennon’s estimation, it was difficult to see how they’d manage to go on without the man who had managed every aspect of the Beatles’ business affairs up until his unexpected death. “I knew that we were in trouble then,” John later recalled. “I didn’t really have any misconceptions about our ability to do anything other than play music. I was scared. I thought, ‘We’ve ******* had it.'”

The relationship between Brian Epstein and the Beatles dated back to Liverpool in late 1961. Entirely self-managed and without a recording contract, the Beatles had just recently returned from Hamburg and begun playing Liverpool’s Cavern Club. Epstein was then running his family’s record and musical instrument shop on Walton Road, just blocks away from the Cavern, but as he would later tell the story, he hadn’t heard of the Beatles until he had two young customers in quick succession enter his store looking for a copy of a record they’d made in Hamburg as the backing group for vocalist Pete Sheridan. Based on this rather modest “buzz,” Epstein arranged to go see the future Fab Four several weeks later.

The band that Epstein saw the first time he laid eyes on the Beatles was very different from the one that would soon conquer the world. They dressed in black leather, they played only cover tunes and they would freely eat and drink onstage during and between songs. Yet Epstein was immediately taken with their charisma and the crowd’s response to it. On January 24, 1962, he was officially hired by John, Paul, George and drummer Pete Best in a deal that gave Epstein a 25 percent cut of the band’s gross earnings for the next five years.

As a business deal, that management contract may seem to have been tilted very much in Epstein’s favor, but it is fair to say that the world might never have heard of the Beatles were it not for their manager and good friend. Epstein put the Beatles in suits, had them bow in unison after each number and, just a few months after being hired, got them their first recording contract with Parlophone Records.

This Day in History (August 19)

Aug 19, 1964: The Beatles kick off first U.S. tour at San Francisco’s Cow Palace

History.com

The Beatles took America by storm during their famous first visit, wowing the millions who watched them during their historic television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. But after the first great rush of stateside Beatlemania, the Beatles promptly returned to Europe, leaving their American fans to make do with mere records. By late summer of that same year, however, having put on an unprecedented and still unmatched display of pop-chart dominance during their absence, the Beatles finally returned. On August 19, 1964, more than six months after taking the East Coast by storm, the Fab Four traveled to California to take the stage at the Cow Palace in San Francisco for opening night of their first-ever concert tour of North America.

Although in retrospect it would seem a laughable underestimation of their drawing power in America, Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein chose venues like the 17,000-seat Cow Palace for the 1964 tour expressly because he feared that the Beatles might not sell out large sports stadiums like San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, where they would play their final official concert in 1966. Suffice it to say that the Beatles had no difficultly filling the Cow Palace, which was packed with 17,130 screaming fans when the group bounded to the stage shortly after 9:00 p.m. on this day in 1964 and launched into “Twist And Shout.”

The Beatles’ set that night and throughout the tour that followed featured only 12 songs, most often in this order:

“Twist and Shout”

“You Can’t Do That”

“All My Loving”

“She Loves You”

“Things We Said Today”

“Roll Over Beethoven”

“Can’t Buy Me Love”

“If I Fell”

“I Want to Hold Your Hand”

“Boys”

“A Hard Day’s Night”

“Long Tall Sally”

At other stops on the tour, the Beatles’ performances would last approximately 33 minutes, but the show that night in San Francisco lasted some five minutes longer—not because of any difference in the Beatles’ performance, but because of police intervention to stem the growing pandemonium. Within the first few seconds of the first song that night, at least one radio journalist traveling with the Beatles had been trampled to the ground along with a young female fan who broke a leg in the melee. And thanks to an offhand comment by George Harrison about the group’s favorite candy in the days leading up to the show, the Beatles themselves were pelted with flying jelly beans throughout that night’s set. Though John, Paul, George and Ringo were uninjured, they left the Cow Palace that night by ambulance after their limousine was swarmed by berserk fans. It was a scene that would become familiar to them as they continued on their first historic tour of America in the months ahead.

This Day in History (July 6)

Jul 6, 1957: John meets Paul for the first time

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History.com

The front-page headline of the Liverpool Evening Express on July 6, 1957, read “MERSEYSIDE SIZZLES,” in reference to the heat wave then gripping not just northern England, but all of Europe. The same headline could well have been used over a story that received no coverage at all that day: The story of the first encounter between two Liverpool teenagers named John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Like the personal and professional relationship it would lead to, their historic first meeting was a highly charged combination of excitement, rivalry and mutual respect.

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It’s easy to assume that John and Paul would eventually have met on some other day had a mutual friend not chosen that hot and humid Saturday to make the introduction. But as much as they had in common, the two boys lived in different neighborhoods, went to different schools and were nearly two years apart in age.

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Only John was scheduled to perform publicly on July 6, 1957. The occasion was the annual Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete, a parade and outdoor fair at which John and his Quarry Men Skiffle Group had been invited to play. The main attractions were a dog show and a brass band, but a family connection had helped get the Quarry Men added to the bill as a nod to the hundreds of teenagers in attendance. Midway through their first set, 15-year-old Paul McCartney showed up and watched, transfixed, as John, despite his rudimentary guitar skills and his tendency to ad-lib in place of forgotten lyrics, held the crowd with charm and swagger. After the show, it was Paul’s turn to impress John.

A mutual friend made the introduction in the nearby church auditorium, where John and his bandmates slouched on folding chairs and barely acknowledged the younger boy. Then Paul pulled out the guitar he was carrying on his back and began playing Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock,” then Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula,” then a medley of Little Richard numbers. As Jim O’Donnell writes in The Day John Met Paul, his book-length account of this historic moment in music history, “A young man not easily astonished, Lennon is astonished.” Paul’s musicianship far outstripped the older Lennon’s, but more than that, John recognized in Paul the same passion Paul had detected in John during his earlier onstage performance. Soon Paul was teaching a rapt John how to tune his guitar and writing out the chords and lyrics to some of the songs he’d just played.

Later that evening, walking home with one of his bandmates, John announced his intentions toward their new acquaintance. Two weeks later, John Lennon invited Paul McCartney to join the Quarry Men.

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This Day in History (June 1)

Jun 1, 1967: The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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History.com

Bob Dylan’s instant reaction to the recently completed album Paul McCartney brought by his London hotel room for a quick listen in the spring of 1967 may not sound like the most thoughtful analysis ever offered, but it still to hit the nail on the head. “Oh I get it,” Dylan said to Paul on hearing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time, “you don’t want to be cute anymore.” In time, the Beatles’ eighth studio album would come to be regarded by many as the greatest in the history of rock and roll, and oceans of ink would be spilt in praising and analyzing its revolutionary qualities. But what Bob Dylan picked up on immediately was its meaning to the Beatles themselves, who turned a critical corner in their career with the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on this day in 1967.

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Writing in The Times of London in 1967, the critic Kenneth Tynan called the release of Sgt. Pepper “a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization,” but 30 years later, Paul McCartney called it a decisive moment of a more personal nature. “We were not boys, we were men,” is how he summed up the Beatles’ mindset as they gave up live performance and set about defining themselves purely as a studio band. “All that boy [stuff], all that screaming, we didn’t want any more,” McCartney said. “There was now more to it.” With Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles announced their intention to be seen “as artists rather than just performers.”

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Sgt. Pepper is often cited as the first “concept album,” and as the inspiration for other great pop stars of the 60s, from the Stones and the Beach Boys to Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, to reach for new heights of creativity. For the Beatles themselves, 1967 marked not just a new creative peak, but also the beginning of a three-year period in which the group recorded and released an astonishing five original studio albums, including two—1968’s The Beatles (a.k.a. “The White Album”) and 1969’s Abbey Road—that occupy the 10th and 14th spots, respectively, on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. Also in the top 15 on that list are Rubber Soul (1965) at #5, Revolver (1966) at #3 and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at #1.