On the heels of the Epic reunion of Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney at last night’s GRAMMYS© telecast The U.S. Albums, a new 13 CD Beatles collection spanning 1964’s Meet The Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude, are now available from Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol. This release commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first U.S. visit and the band’s history-making debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The albums are presented in mono and stereo, with the exception of The Beatles’ Story and Hey Jude, which are in stereo only. Collected in a boxed set with faithfully replicated original LP artwork, including the albums’ inner sleeves, the 13 CDs are accompanied by a 64-page booklet with Beatles photos and promotional art from the time, as well as a new essay by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. For a limited time, all of the albums (with the exception of The Beatles’ Story, an audio documentary album) will also be available for individual CD purchase. A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude, and the U.S. version of Revolver make their CD debuts with these releases.
Celebrate 50 Years of Globe-Sweeping “Beatlemania”
By the end of 1963, before The Beatles’ American arrival, “Beatlemania” had already sprung forth across the Atlantic to take root in the U.S. In early December, The New York Times published a Sunday magazine feature and “CBS Evening News” aired an in-depth report about the unprecedented frenzy over the young band from Liverpool. Radio stations in the U.S. began playing The Beatles’ latest U.K. single, ““I Want To Hold Your Hand,” in heavy rotation, trying to meet an insatiable listener demand. Capitol Records rushed out the American single for “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (with B-side “I Saw Her Standing There”) on December 26, three weeks ahead of schedule and one month after the single’s U.K. release. More than one million copies of the U.S. single were sold within 10 days.
In early January 1964, Vee-Jay reissued “Please Please Me” (with B-side “From Me To You”), and Swan reissued “She Loves You.” The Beatles’ first Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, followed on January 20. After achieving the No. 1 chart position for five consecutive weeks in the U.K., “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on February 1, holding the No. 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, and within two months, more than 3.5 million copies of Meet The Beatles! were sold in the U.S.
The excitement of The Beatles’ February 7 arrival in New York, where they were met by an estimated 3,000 ecstatic fans at the airport, was documented by the world’s leading media outlets, beamed around the world in a blitz of news bulletins and photos. Every move The Beatles made, and seemingly every word they uttered, was captured – melting hearts of young fans everywhere who simply could not get enough of these charming, witty and stylish British boys and their electrifying new songs. America’s biggest star of the day, Elvis Presley, sent The Beatles a telegram wishing them well for their national television debut.
Ed Sullivan spoke of the unprecedented frenzy in his memorable first introduction of The Beatles, saying, “Now, yesterday and today our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that this city never has witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles.”
After captivating North America with their Ed Sullivan debut, The Beatles traveled to Washington, DC, performing their first Stateside concert on February 11 at the Washington Coliseum to 8,000 fans in the round. The Beatles then returned to New York for two sold-out Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12. On February 16, they made their second appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in a live broadcast from The Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Viewership for the episode was nearly as strong as for their debut one week prior, with an estimated 70 million people — 40% of the American population — tuned in to watch their performances of six songs. On February 22, The Beatles returned to England in triumph, welcomed home upon their 7am landing at London’s Heathrow Airport by an estimated 10,000 fans.
The Beatles were now firmly in place as the world’s favorite and most famous band. Their third “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, a three-song performance taped prior to the band’s live debut on the program, was broadcast on February 23. Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart for April 5, 1964 was graced by 12 Beatles songs, including the chart’s Top 5 positions, a sweep of the chart’s summit that has not been achieved by any other artist since. The band’s meteoric rise to unparalleled fame continued as “Beatlemania” swept the globe, a singular and boundless cultural marvel. The Beatles now belonged to the People, as they have ever since, with their universally-loved music and unflagging respect for humankind, advocating peace and love for all people around the world.