The British Invasion! Video Tales Of The Big Boys…
The Beatles and Rolling Stones Coming to America!
Beatles story just before coming to America:
The Beatles When They First Arrive:
February 7, 1964 – An estimated four thousand Beatles’ fans were present on 7 February 1964 as Pan Am Flight 101 left Heathrow Airport. Among the passengers were the Beatles, on their first trip to the United States as a band, with their entourage of photographers and journalists, and Phil Spector.
The Beatles First USA Interview:
The Interview Before The Beatles Appear On Ed Sullivan.
The Beatles First Appear On The Ed Sullivan Show. Do you remember where you were when they came on? (In 2 parts)
On February 9, 1964, The Beatles made their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. (For those of you unfamiliar, The Ed Sullivan Show was a hugely popular, legendary variety show which ran in America from 1948 to 1973. If you can imagine American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, and multiply it times 20, that was how popular The Ed Sullivan Show was in the 1960s. Pretty much everyone watched the show.
The Beatles had been seen in clips and recorded interviews before this, but this was their actual performance debut on U.S. television. The show was watched by an all-time record (at the time) of 73,000,000 people. The show remains a landmark in television history and is an indelible memory to any of us who watched the historic performance.
The show is, quite possibly, the single most important moment in the history of rock and roll. Like September 11, 2001 or the day President Kennedy was assassinated, no one who witnessed this show will ever forget where he or she was at the time.
A Series of Three
Although this appearance is thought of by almost everyone as “The Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show,” the truth is, The Beatles appeared on the show nine times. On February 9, 1964, on the afternoon of the historic appearance, the boys actually taped an appearance as well, to be broadcast two Sundays later. They sang three songs before a frenzied studio audience, and this taped set was broadcast on February 23rd, making it their third Ed Sullivan Show appearance, even though it was taped first. (For these three-Sundays-in-a-row appearances, the Feb Four was paid the not-quite-munificent salary of $10,000, plus expenses.)
The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, had made sure in his negotiations that The Beatles would “get top billing” on the show. One can only imagine the bizarre irony of The Beatles being billed below the immortal comedy team of “Brill and McCall” (read on).
The First Show
On the historic February 9th show, the Fab Four sang five songs in total, three at the beginning of the show, and two more to wrap up the show at the end. Other guests appearing on the show that night were a pretty actress/singer named Mitzi Gaynor, Frank Gorshin (a talented impressionist who was to achieve his greatest fame playing The Riddler on the popular Batman TV series a few years later), the comedy team of Charlie Brill & Mitzi McCall, and the troupe of the Broadway musical Oliver! Irony of ironies -included in the Oliver! cast was a young British singer named Davy Jones, who in less than three years would become a member of The Beatles’ greatest mid-’60s rivals in popularity with the teenyboppers, The Monkees.
During the broadcast, each of the four Beatles’ names were up on the TV screen to identify them to the curious American viewers. Although it seems unthinkable today, at this point in time, most Americans couldn’t tell one Beatle from another. None of them had achieved any kind of individual identity as yet. While Paul crooned “Til There Was You,” the sign under John Lennon read, “Sorry girls, he’s married.”
Although, as we know, the crowd at the Ed Sullivan Theater watching The Beatles was chock full of young girls screaming their lungs out, a lady in the audience claims her infant, held in her arms, slept through the Fab Four’s performance (!!!)
The Second Show February 15, 1964
The February 16th Ed Sullivan Show was broadcast from The Beatles’ hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, where the boys were currently relaxing, swimming, and sunbathing. This followup show drew similar ratings to the first, and the boys came across great again. They had spent the afternoon playing in front of a studio audience to warm up for their later appearance, which was broadcast by satellite.
Their 3rd Ed Sullivan Show on February 23, 1964
The Rolling Stones When They Arrived in America:
500 screaming girls and a press conference greeted Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts after they touched down at New York City’s J.F.K. Airport on June 1, 1964. The scenario echoed The Beatles’ famous landing less than four months before, except The Rolling Stones were still largely unknown this side of the pond. To date they had just one charted single in the U.S. – their Bo Diddley-esque cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” which peaked at #48 earlier that year (as opposed to it reaching #3 in the UK) – and England’s Newest Hit Makers, the American version of their debut album, had been released just two days before their arrival. It wasn’t until the fall of 1964 that they had their first U.S. smash with “Time Is on My Side,” but the hysteria that greeted them in New York suggested otherwise.
“Police started pulling us out, saying, ‘Run! It’s every man for himself,” Wyman wrote of arriving at the Astor Hotel in his 1990 auto-bio Stone Alone. “In seconds the hotel reception became an insane asylum. Mick and I made a mad dash into the lobby, and Hilda Skarfe of Song Hits magazine raced after us, followed by about 70 screaming girls, with police close behind…we ran into a laundry closet by mistake and we were trapped. It was like a scene from a movie!”
The Stones’ New York greeting was similar to The Fab Four’s – including questions about their hair at press conferences and radio interviews with self-proclaimed “Fifth Beatle” Murray the K. The DJ also played the Valentinos’ soon-to-be hit “It’s All Over Now” and suggested the Stones cover it. They took his advice and recorded their version nine days later at Chess Studios. Within weeks it was the Stones’ first British chart-topper, and one of two minor hits the group had in America that summer (the other being “Tell Me;” both peaked in the mid-20s).
The Stones’ first television appearance stateside was a June 2nd interview on The Les Crane Show. Crane joked about Brian Jones’ “Prince Valiant” hairdo, and pressed the comparison between them and The Beatles by continuing referring to the Stones’ as “that other British group.” After two days of New York press the band flew to Los Angeles for their notorious American TV debut performance on Dean Martin’s Hollywood Palace.
“In America then, if you had long hair, you were a faggot as well as a freak,” Richards wrote in his 2010 memoir Life. “Dean Martin introduced us as something like, ‘these long-haired wonders from England, the Rolling Stones…They’re backstage picking fleas off one another.’ A lot of sarcasm and eye rolling.”
The Hollywood Palace was an hour-long variety show broadcast by ABC on Saturday nights from 1964 through the end of the decade. The Stones taped two performances on June 3rd. The first, their take on Muddy Water’s “I Just Want To Make Love To You” was broadcast on June 6th. The second, “Not Fade Away,” was saved for a second season episode that aired September 26, 1964 (by which time the Stones had legitimately blown up). It’s Martin’s jokes at the Stones’ expense however that are best remembered, and begrudged to this day by Richards. According to some accounts, the conflict stemmed from backstage drama that began when the show informed the Stones they needed to buy uniforms to appear and the band angrily refused. Photographer Bob Bonis recalls, “Dean Martin came in and had no idea what he was dealing with. The vibe, as we call it today, was just awful. Dean and I got into an argument at one point and Keith, my newfound friend, was about to pop him one with one of those solid-body guitars.”
“You know these singing groups today?” Martin cracked on the air, “You’re under the impression they have long hair. Not true at all…it’s an optical illusion…they just have low foreheads and high eyebrows.”
Although the Rat Pack star’s insults seem mild by 2014 standards, at the time they signaled the growing divide of the “generation gap.” Stephen King, 16 years old at the time, recalls of watching the TV show: “I thought, ‘Fuck you, you old lounge lizard. You’re the past, I’ve just seen the future.” Martin, in fact, was still putting out hit records and starring in feature films. Regardless, Bob Dylan immortalized the beef by writing “an dean martin should apologize t the rolling stones” on the back cover of Another Side of Bob Dylan, released that summer.
The Rolling Stones First TV Appearance:
June 1: The Rolling Stones arrive in New York City for their first American tour, holding a press conference at Kennedy Airport.
June 2: The Rolling Stones American TV debut interview on The Les Crane Show.
June 3: The Rolling Stones tape their debut American TV performance for Dean Martin’s Hollywood Palace. Drama ensues.
June 4: The Rolling Stones meet arranger Jack Nitzsche at Los Angeles’ RCA Recording Studios.
June 5: The Rolling Stones’ first United States tour begins in San Bernardino, California.
June 6: The Rolling Stones first Hollywood Palace performance airs.
June 10-11: The Rolling Stones record in the U.S. for the first time at Chicago’s Chess Studios.
June 12-20: The Rolling Stones complete their tour.
June 17-20: The Rolling Stones’ television performances include Clark Race Show, The Mike Douglas Show (Cleveland) and The Clay Cole Saturday Show.
The Rolling Stones On The Mike Douglas Show
The Rolling Stones First Appearance On The Ed Sullivan Show
About the author, Harry