From Ed Sullivan to the Montreal Forum
A scrapbook of the early days of Beatlemania

On Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles burst onto the North American scene with a vengeance.

The Fab Four had been rocking the pop charts in Britain and Europe for months, with such hit singles as Love Me Do, released in 1962, followed by Please Please Me and She Loves You, and savvy North American disc jockeys had begun playing their music. But it was that first television spot on the Ed Sullivan Show, the prime venue for the hottest new acts and old standards at a time when channel-hopping was unheard of, that really launched the Beatles on this continent.

What was it about the working-class lads with the matching suits and floppy hair that so captivated the world and spawned Beatlemania, transforming young girls into screaming hysterics and leaving teenage boys to swoon at guitar shops?

Everyone seemed to have a theory. For those old enough to remember that first grainy TV appearance, there are also fond memories and souvenirs of what it was like to be young and mad about the Beatles.

Here are photos, news clippings, and testimonials from that frenetic year. Hover over items to read more about them.

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Noreen Speirs:

"Watching Ed Sullivan was a regular event on Sunday evening in our home. I remember watching all their appearances on Ed Sullivan. Goosebumps. I was 14 at the time and fell in love with the music and the Beatles themselves."

MARCH 1964

The Times of London describes music by the Beatles as being characterized by "pan-diatonic clusters, flats of medium key switches and aeolian cadences."

APRIL 1964

MAY 1964

JULY 1964

The Beatles return home in time for the British première of their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night.

In an interview, Paul McCartney says the band will not perform in South Africa or anywhere in the U.S. where there is racial segregation.


A Hard Day’s Night opens in Montreal on Aug. 14 at the Capitol and Dorval cinemas.


Set list for the two Montreal concerts, as printed in the Beatles in Montreal exhibit at Pointe-à-Callière museum. They played for 28 minutes:
You Can’t Do That
All My Loving
She Loves You
Things We Said Today
Roll Over Beethoven
Can’t Buy Me Love
If I Fell
A Hard Day’s Night
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Long Tall Sally

Diane Renzo:

I will always remember that matinee concert and how excited we all were. I saw McCartney in 1992 with the same girls I had gone to see the Beatles with. I still have a T-shirt with Paul’s face on it.


Katherine Crowe:

"Through the fan club, I would receive a monthly magazine and other materials, such as posters. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of those materials anymore. I don’t know how or why it is that I managed to hang on to these cards, but I did!"

Peggy Curran: "My sister Colleen, ever the producer, got my cousins, Kathy and Sandra McGlynn, together in our basement in Ville d'Anjou for a jam session. It went like this:"

Put together by Peggy Curran, Jordan Zivitz,
Roberto Rocha, Mick Côté, and Jeanine Lee