“We were driving through Colorado, we had the radio on and eight of the top ten songs were Beatles songs.,, I Want To Hold Your Hand, all the early ones. They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. I knew they were pointing in the direction of where music had to go.”
For most people, there is no middle ground with these four guys. Either you like their music or you don’t. Not many people are indifferent. Regardless of what you feel about them or their music, it’s impossible to ignore the impact they had on the music industry, and in many ways, the world.
February 7, 2017 will mark the 53rd anniversary of their first visit to America, where they broke all kinds of television records when they appeared on Ed Sullivan. But before we get to that appearance, here are some facts about them that many people outside the music industry probably don’t know.
They were the first band to have a record sell a million copies before it’s release. (Can’t Buy Me Love, 1964)
They were the first band to play in a stadium.
The first group to have its drummer sit higher than the band.
The first rock band to designate one of its members as lead guitarist. (George, 1962)
The first band to combine rock with classical music. (Yesterday, 1965)
The first band to create a song that faded out and then in again. (Strawberry Fields Forever, 1967)
The first band to create an album of all original songs. (A Hard Day’s Night, 1964)
The first band to create an album of more than ten songs. (Please Please Me, 1962)
The first band to print the song lyrics inside the album. (Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
The first rock group to use a harmonica in a song. (Love Me Do, 1962)
The first rock group to use a sitar. (Norwegian Wood, 1965)
The first popular band to use electric keyboards and synthesizers in some of its songs.
The first recording artists to use sound effects in their songs.
The first band to combine an early form of reggae called ska with rock and roll. (I Saw her Standing There, 1962)
The first band to create an album in which one song runs into another.
When they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show soon after their arrival, this country was in a state of hysteria. Incredibly, seventy-three million people watched television that evening, which was the largest TV audience for an entertainment program, ever. The show was watched in more than twenty-three million homes. Remember, this was 1964.
While the program was being aired, much of the nation came to a standstill. It was near impossible to get a bus or taxi anywhere. Even more interesting was that between 8:00-9:00 pm that Sunday night, crime rates in many American cities fell to an all time low.
In 1965 when the Beatles once again toured America, they appeared at Shea Stadium in New York. Until then, the largest crowd to attend a rock concert had been twenty thousand people. More than fifty-five thousand showed up at Shea that night.
It was a different time, one that, for many reasons, may never be repeated. But on February, 1964, these four boys arrived.