Sunday night, February 9, 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show, television introduced the Beatles to 73 million Americans, or nearly 40% of the total population of the country at the time (by comparison, this past Sunday’s broadcast of the Super Bowl, the highest rated showing of that annual extravaganza, was viewed by an estimated 106 million Americans, or about 30% of the population).
The February 9 airing of Ed Sullivan’s weekly variety program (his “really big shoo”) was the first of three consecutive Sunday evenings on which the Fab Four appeared on the show. That night they performed five songs in two sets, opening with “All My Loving”, followed by “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You.” In the show’s second hour they came back with “I Saw Her Standing There” and ended with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
Click here for an interesting side-by-side video of two versions of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” – one taped earlier in the day for inclusion on the February 23 show, and the other filmed live on February 9. For my Beatles playlists, click here.