Ed Sullivan with the Beatles in February 1964.
Earlier this week my boyfriend and I attended a taping of Late Night with David Letterman (guests were Joel McHale, Amy Sedaris and astonishingly good Elvis impersonator Justin Shandor), where Dave mentioned that this week -- specifically February 9th -- marks the 49th anniversary of the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964. Paul Shaffer and his band played Beatles songs during the break, which was a real treat for a fan like myself. They played "Tomorrow Never Knows," "I Saw Her Standing There," "Any Time At All," and "No Reply."
The Beatles' set list of four songs included "All My Loving," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand." They would go on to appear on the show two more times that month. It has been said that it was the band's first American television appearance (it was their first live one), but Walter Cronkite set the record straight when he said the band first appeared on the "CBS Evening News" in December 1963.
Ed Sullivan was watching the segment and called Cronkite after:
"We were good friends, and Ed said, 'Walter, Walter, tell me about those kids, tell me about those kids,'" Cronkite said. "'Those kids you just had on the air. What do you call them? The bugs or the beetles or something?'"Thanks to glorious YouTube, you can watch the show, which was viewed by over 70 million people at the time.
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