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.
Best viewed on Google Chrome, Mozila Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer 9 and above.