Published On: Fri, Feb 7th, 2014

This Day in History: 50 years ago the Beatles arrive, The British Invasion begins

On February 7, the CBS Evening News ran a story about the Beatles’ United States arrival that afternoon in which the correspondent said “The British Invasion this time goes by the code name Beatlemania”.

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport on February 7, 1964

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport on February 7, 1964

Two days later (Sunday, February 9) they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Nielsen Ratings estimated that 45 percent of US television viewers that night saw their appearance and music was never the same.

According to Michael Ross, “it is somewhat ironic that the biggest moment in the history of popular music was first experienced in the US as a television event.”

For two years British acts dominated the music scene: Dusty Springfield, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Herman’s Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Troggs, Them (with lead singer Van Morrison), Tom Jones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Yardbirds and Donovan, and Lulu.

On April 4, the Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and in May of 1965, British acts composed the entire Top 10 slots on the chart.

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