ON this day, the 7th February in 1964, the Beatles - arguably the most influential music act of all time - touched down at New York’s JFK on what was to be the first day of the ‘British Invasion’.
Departing Heathrow airport, band members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were waved off by a crowd of 4,000 fans with a similar number of screaming fans greeting them in New York.
The day after their arrival, the ‘British Invasion’ began in earnest with over 73 million viewers tuning in to their first televised US performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, an audience share of over a third of the American population.
EMI’s subsidiary record company, Capital Records, had initially blocked the release of the Beatles’ music in the United States over the course of 1963. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was subsequently released in December 1963, selling a million copies and becoming their first US number one hit by January 1964.
In the following days, the group played their first US concert at the Washington Coliseum, two shows at Carnegie Hall and a further appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show before returning to the UK, cementing “Beatlemania” across the pond.
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