first appearance on the ed sullivan show


February 9th 1964: Beatles on Ed Sullivan

On this day in 1964, the British band the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the USA. This performance, watched by a record 73 million - which accounted for around 40% of the American population at the time - began the so-called ‘British Invasion’ when British music made its mark on America. On February 7th 1964, the Beatles had arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport to a crowd of over 4,000 fans. The band was beginning to take off in America, with their hit ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ having risen to number 1 in the charts. On the Ed Sullivan Show, two days after their arrival, the four-man band from Liverpool performed hits such as ‘All My Loving’ and ‘She Loves You’. The Beatles were already popular in their native Britain, but their success in America forever established them as a world famous musical sensation. The performance on the Ed Sullivan Show is credited with beginning the worldwide spread of ‘Beatlemania’.


The first time that I appeared on stage, it scared me to death. I really didn’t know what all the yelling was about. I didn’t realize that my body was moving. It’s a natural thing to me. So to the manager backstage I said, ‘What’d I do? What’d I do?’ And he said ‘Whatever it is, go back and do it again.’”

Olivette Miller, celebrated “swing” harpist of the 1940s, was born 101 years ago today (February 2, 1914) in Illinois. Here parents were Bessie Oliver Miller, a 1900’s chorus girl and the venerable actor, comedian, writer and producer Flournoy Miller, who co-wrote and produced the groundbreaking Broadway musical “Shuffle Along.” Raised on Harlem’s famous Striver’s Row, Ms. Miller graduated from East Greenwich Academy, a private Methodist boarding school in Rhode Island in 1931, and went on to study music in Paris and at Juilliard. She originally planned to play concert halls but after being “bitten by the night club bug” she turned to more popular music. Ms. Miller’s stunning beauty and colorful love-life kept her in the newspapers almost as much as her performances around the country and the world. She performed with both Lena Horne and a young not-yet-a-superstar Dorothy Dandridge in the 1940s, top notch night clubs in Hollywood, Chicago and New York, and made a few appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1960s. I’m still trying to pin it down, but by my count, she was married at least six times. The Chicago Defender reported her impending divorce from her first husband, Channing Price in November 1934 and in October 1939, the New York Amsterdam News reported that Ms. Miller, who had married a musician named Oett Mallard two years earlier, gave birth to their son, Alvin Miller Mallard, on October 1, 1939 in Denver, Colorado. She was married to the dancer Freddie Gordon in the 1940s and in the 1950s to the comedian Bert Gibson and performed and toured with him across the country. In the 1970s, when she sued Flip Wilson for copyright infringement over a sketch he did on his show that Ms. Miller claimed was lifted from her father’s work in “Shuffle Along,” her name ws Olivette Miller Darby. By the early 1990s, she had a bit part as a maid in the film “A Rage in Harlem” and was billed as Olivette Miller Briggs, due to her marriage to the dancer Bunny Briggs. Ms. Miller died on April 27, 2003 at the age of 89. Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

Jay-Z, photographed signing copies of his eighth studio album The Black Album for fans on November 26, 2003. At the time he was heading into the Ed Sullivan Theater to record an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman.

The album was released on November 14, and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 463,000 copies. It was certified 3x Platinum just over 18 months later, and has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

TV Guide  -  March 30  -  April 5, 1957

Dame Julia ElizabethJulieAndrews, DBE (née Wells; born 1 October 1935)  Film and stage actress, a singer, an author, a theatre director, and a dancer. Andrews, a child actress and singer, appeared on the West End in 1948 and made her Broadway debut in The Boy Friend (1954). She rose to prominence starring in Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady (1956), playing Eliza Doolittle, and Camelot (1960), playing Queen Guinevere. In 1957, Andrews starred in the premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s written-for-television musical Cinderella, a live network broadcast seen by over 100 million viewers.

In November 1955, Andrews was signed to appear with Bing Crosby in what is regarded as the first made-for-television film, High Tor.

In 19587 she was featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein television musical, Cinderella which was broadcast live on CBS on March 31 under the musical direction of Alfredo Antonini and had an estimated 107 million viewers. The show was broadcast in colour from CBS Studio 72, at 2248 Broadway in New York City. Only a black-and-white kinescope remains, which has been released on DVD. Andrews was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance.

Between 1956 and 1962, Andrews guest-starred on The Ed Sullivan Show (15 July 1956), and also appeared on The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, What’s My Line?, The Jack Benny Program, The Bell Telephone Hour and The Garry Moore Show. In June 1962, Andrews co-starred in Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a CBS special with Carol Burnett.  Andrews starred in her first television sitcom, the short-lived Julie aired on ABC for only seven episodes and co-starred James Farentino.  (Wikipedia)


George Harrison in Bangor, Wales, 25 or 26 August 1967; and in Vrindavan, India, 1996. Photo 1 presumably © Henry Grossman; photo 2 courtesy of Prithu Prabhu.

“The things I learned from the yogis and mystics of the East are still in me. And I think in the end, no matter what happens with this planet, the only answer really lies within each one of us. Now doctors are saying Meditation should be introduced into the National Health. Why do you think we were saying this in 1967? They all said we were a bunch of lunatics, but it’s proven now that we weren’t that dumb after all.” - George Harrison, Daily Express, 29 July 1989 [x]

“In September 1991, [George] Harrison asked [Deepak] Chopra to set up a meeting with Maharishi, which he did. ‘We got on to a chartered plane, which had just dropped off Paul McCartney to Monte Carlo.

George wrote a note to Paul, saying, “Guess whom we’re going to meet”, and signed it “Jai Gurudev”. Then we flew to Vlodrop, in the Netherlands, where Maharishi was staying.’

It was an emotional meeting. As Chopra tells it, Harrison first presented Maharishi a rose. This was followed by a long silence.

Then Maharishi asked, ‘How have you been?’ George replied, ‘Some good things (have happened), some bad things.’

Then he added, ‘You must know about John being assassinated.’ Maharishi replied, ‘I was very sorry to hear about it.’

After some time, Harrison spoke. ‘I came to apologise,’ he said. ‘For what?’ asked Maharishi. ‘You know for what,’ replied Harrison.

‘Tell Deepak the real story,’ said Maharishi. Harrison said, ‘I don’t know about it 100%, but here’s what I know transpired.’ And he narrated the incident about the Beatles being asked to leave [Rishikesh].

Did Maharishi harbour any bitterness towards the Beatles?

Chopra smiled. ‘Part of the Beatles lore is that when they made their first appearance on American TV, on the Ed Sullivan show, there was no crime in the US for that one hour.

Maharishi told us, “When I heard this, I knew the Beatles were angels on earth. It doesn’t matter what John said or did, I could never be upset with angels”. On hearing that, George broke down and wept.’

There was another long silence. Then Harrison told Maharishi, ‘I love you’ and Maharishi responded, ‘I love you too.’

The two left, and Harrison later phoned Chopra and told him, ‘A huge karmic baggage has been lifted from me, because I didn’t want to lie.’” - Times of India, 15 February 2006

Jackie Mabley

Generally considered the first female stand-up comedy superstar, she overcame much to become billed as “The Funniest Woman in the World.” She was the first woman to be featured at the Apollo. In 2013, she also was the subject of an HBO documentary by Whoopi Goldberg. From most sources she was also known as openly lesbian (and during the early 20th century no less), making her a pioneer in that regard as well, considering the time period. So how funny was she? See for yourself.

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The Beatles performed five songs on their Ed Sullivan Show live debut. They sang All My Loving, Till There Was You and She Loves You, in the first half of the programme, followed by an advertisement for Anadin. Ed Sullivan’s other guests - Georgia Brown & Oliver Kidds, Frank Gorshin, Tessie O'Shea - followed, after which The Beatles performed I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand.

While Paul McCartney sang the ballad Till There Was You, the cameras panned to each of the Beatles in turn, with their names captioned on the screen. When they got to John Lennon, an additional caption appeared, saying: “Sorry Girls, He’s Married.”

After the show radio DJ Murray The K took John, Paul and Ringo to the Playboy Club. With a police escort they walked several blocks to 59th Street where they were ushered into the club’s Penthouse lounge for dinner.

They later went on to the Peppermint Lounge, where they danced the twist until 4am. 

(The Beatles visit The Peppermint Lounge on their first night in the United States on February 7, 1964 in New York City.)

The first performances for “The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles” have been announced. Scheduled to perform are four-time GRAMMY winner Annie Lennox and GRAMMY winner Dave Stewart reuniting as Eurythmics for one night only; Alicia Keys with John Legend, Maroon 5, John Mayer, and Keith Urban.

The show will air Feb. 9 at 8pm — exactly 50 years to the day, date, and time of their groundbreaking first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”


9 February 1964 - It was 50 years ago today…

…that The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time, one of the most significant cultural moments of the 20th Century.  After many previous attempts to break into the American music market, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” had made number one in America, causing 73 million viewers to tune in to see the Ed Sullivan performance.  The band preformed “All My Loving”, “Til There Was You”, “She Loves You”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and, of course, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.

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On this day in music history: September 17, 1967 - The Doors make their first and only appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show performing their recent number one hit “Light My Fire”. Executives from CBS’ Standards & Practices (i.e. network censors) asks the band to change the line “girl we couldn’t get much higher” to “girl we couldn’t get much better”, feeling the original line might be offensive to some parts of the viewing audience. Lead singer Jim Morrison agrees to sing the altered line, but when the band performs the song on the live broadcast, Morrison sings the line as it was originally written, even emphasizing it the second time he sings it. This infuriates Sullivan and the network who had planned to have The Doors make another six appearances on the show, which are immediately cancelled. When a show producer tells them they’ll never appear on the show again, Jim Morrison reportedly tells him, “Hey man. We just did the Sullivan Show.”