On this day in history, Feb. 7, 1964, Beatles arrive in US for first time, inspire nationwide mania
The Beatles were greeted by the deafening roar of thousands of screaming fans when they arrived in the United States for the very first time on this day in history, Feb. 7, 1964.
“When the Beatles arrived in America, it was like seeing a new color for the first time,” a fan said years later.
Pan Am Flight 101, a Boeing 707, touched down with John, Paul, George and Ringo — the Fab Four still known globally by their first names — at the recently renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City at 1: 20 p.m. ET.
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America, reeling in the wake of the assassination of President John Kennedy just 11 weeks earlier, was instantly intoxicated by Beatlemania.
“The pilot [rang] ahead and said, ‘Tell the boys there’s a big crowd waiting for them,’” Paul McCartney said in “The Beatles Anthology.”
UNITED STATES – FEB. 07: (AUSTRALIA OUT): Photo of the Beatles — from left to right, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison — waving at crowds as they arrive at JFK Airport for their first U.S. tour. (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
“We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it.'”
The band would soon dominate global pop music and, in many ways, reshape Western culture for generations to come.
“We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it.'” — Sir Paul McCartney
“Pandemonium broke out among the stamping, banner-waving fans as The Beatles — John, Paul, George and Ringo — stepped from the plane,” The Daily Mirror of London wrote on its front page the following day, under the lead headline that screamed, “Yeah! Yeah! U.S.A.!”
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“I think the world has gone mad,” the story stated, quoting a New York City police officer who was working crowd control at the airport.
The Liverpool lads had become superstars in Britain only a year earlier. Their arrival in America brought Beatlemania to an entire new level. It would soon consume pop culture.
NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 7: Fans scream with excitement at the arrival of The Beatles at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Feb. 7, 1964. (CBS via Getty Images)
The Beatles would prove even bigger in the United States than they were in the United Kingdom.
“America was the best,” Ringo Starr said in “The Beatles Anthology.” “It was a dream, coming from Liverpool.”
The Lovable Mop Tops appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” from Midtown Manhattan two nights later, a landmark moment in American cultural history.
“America was the best. It was a dream, coming from Liverpool.” — Ringo Starr
Their performance was seen by an estimated 73 million Americans, nearly 40 percent of the entire population of the United States at the time.
The Beatles soon dominated U.S. radio and music charts.
The Top 5 Billboard hits for the week of April 4 were “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” — each song by the Beatles.
American television host Ed Sullivan smiles while standing with the Beatles on the set of his television variety series, New York, Feb. 9, 1964. Left to right, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sullivan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
The feat of one act owning the top five spots on the American charts has never been duplicated — or even approximated.
America’s obsession with the Beatles has never ended, nearly 53 years since they disbanded.
“Abbey Road,” the classic Beatles album released in 1969, was the 12th best-selling album in America — in 2022, according to Billboard.
The Beatles returned America’s embrace.
John Lennon played his prized 1958 Rickenbacker 325 when the Beatles first played “The Ed Sullivan Show’ on Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964, from CBS’s Studio 50 in New York City. Three of the four band members are shown here (from left): George Harrison, Ringo Starr (drummer) and John Lennon. (CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
John Lennon moved to New York City in 1971. He was tragically killed outside his Manhattan home in 1980 by a deranged fan — leading to an instant outpouring of grief in New York and across the nation.
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“I play here four to five times a week and you see people silently crying to themselves,” New York City musician Jules Avalon told Fox News Digital in December as he performed at Strawberry Fields, a corner of Central Park devoted to Lennon and the Beatles across the street from his murder site.
“‘Abbey Road,’ the classic Beatles album released in 1969, was 12th best-selling album in America in 2022, according to Billboard.”
George Harrison was living in Los Angeles when he died in 2002.
McCartney and Starr continue to tour the United States.
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPT. 15: Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney attend the World premiere of “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years” at Odeon Leicester Square on Sept. 15, 2016 in London, England. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Fans spontaneously serenaded McCartney with “Happy Birthday” last summer when he performed at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on the eve of his 80th.
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It appears a new generation of American children will grow up with an appreciation of the Beatles’ sound and their impact on our national heritage.
John Lennon’s “music made people happy,” Ethan Doyle, 12, of Philadelphia, told Fox News Digital in December outside the Dakota where the musician was murdered, accompanied by his mother, Monique, and brother Brodie, 9.
The entrance to The Dakota in Manhattan, where John Lennon was murdered in 1980. It’s a global pilgrimage site today. “This place radiates importance,” Ethan Doyle, right, 12, of Philadelphia, told Fox News Digital on Dec. 7, 2022, the eve of the anniversary of Lennon’s death. He’s pictured with brother Brodie and mom Monique Doyle. (Kerry J. Byrne/FoxNews Digital)
“This place radiates importance.”
At one point during McCartney’s MetLife show last summer, a couple and their three small children — perhaps none older than 8 or 9 — danced gleefully as McCartney performed “Love Me Do.”
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The young children responded instinctively to the Beatles’ sound — much the way their grandparents did in 1964.
Kerry J. Byrne is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.