“The British are Coming, The British are Coming” …


… the second of this week’s major rock & roll anniversaries was on Friday, February 7th … the 50th anniversary of the arrival in the United States of … the first wave of the “British Invasion” … THE BEATLES.

Rolling Stone Magazine:  The Beatles Arrive in the U.S.

Rolling Stone Magazine: The Beatles Arrive in the U.S.

The Beatles, of course, changed rock & roll forever … and in the process profoundly changed the United States in ways the consequences of which continue to this day.

John, Paul, George & Ringo … last names not necessary … came to the U.S. while the country was deep in mourning over the then recent assassination of President John F. Kennedy  … and provided, at least for the younger generation of Americans, a welcome diversion from the melancholy which had gripped the country.

Because I was in the midst of “gloom period” (the post-Christmas leave, mid-winter period of cold, snow & early darkness) of my plebe year at West Point, I was not a spectator … either directly or even by way of television … at the arrival of the Beatles.

But, thousands of Americans … mostly teenagers or journalists … greeted the band on its arrival at the recently renamed John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

The Beatles Press Conference February 7, 1964

The Beatles Press Conference February 7, 1964

After their arrival, the Beatles participated in a press conference with New York disc jockey Murray Kaufman … “Murray the K” … who came to refer to himself as “The 5th Beatle”.  Kaufman hosted the “1010 WINS New York” evening time slot … and was (along with Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow) one of my favorite DJ’s of the rock & roll era.

The Beatles went on to make American television history with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9th … with 73 million viewers … a staggering 40% of the total American population … and the largest recorded TV audience for a single show ever up to that time.

Meet the Beatles Album Cover

Like many young Americans, I bought every Beatles album as it was released … at least until I graduated from West Point … at which time I unwisely sold most of my record albums, including all of my Beatles albums, to underclassmen. 

Although I was never as much a fan of the Beatles as I was of others who they credited with making their success possible … including Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley … and did not like most of their post-1966 recordings … I do, to this day, enjoy their early recordings … such as …

03_iwantoholdyourhand

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” … “Love Me Do” … and “I Saw Her Standing There” … which provided temporary relief from the drudgery of life as a West Point plebe … and which still bring a smile to my face when I hear them.

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The Beatles on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles

The Beatles arrive in the U.S. on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles_in_the_United_States

How popular were the Beatles albums?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/07/beatles-ed-sullivan-anniversary_n_4745035.html?ir=Entertainment

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