The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show this week in 1964 marked the start of the so-called ‘British Invasion,’ in which UK rock ’n roll groups surged in U.S. popularity. An article in the Feb. 29, 1964, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner of Fairbanks, Alaska, quantified American enthusiasm for the group.
“According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the first appearance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan’s show of Feb. 9 was seen on television sets in an estimated 23 million homes and by close to 70 million people.
“These gigantic audience figures, projected on the basis of samples made by Nielsen, catapulted the Sullivan show into the No. 4 position among the networks’ top 10 programs.
“If the ratings had been taken on the basis of only one show – the Beatle program – it would have been at the top of the list, well ahead of the perennial winner, ‘Beverly Hillbillies.’ ”
Read more about the British Invasion
A Feb. 9, 1964, article in the San Antonio Express and News of San Antonio, Texas, previewed Beatlemania’s transatlantic appeal. British idols
A Feb. 11, 1964, Associated Press article in The Advocate of Newark, Ohio, included the Rev. Billy Graham’s admission that he was ‘on a different wavelength’ than the British quartet. U.S. reaction is entertaining