Beatlemania: 'Ed Sullivan' appearance an extraordinary moment that can never be repeated

  • Article by: CHRIS TALBOTT , Associated Press
  • Updated: February 8, 2014 - 3:55 PM

LOS ANGELES — Musical moments that capture the attention of a national audience — and beyond — never seem to be in short supply. Last week, Bruno Mars set a ratings record with 115 million people watching his Super Bowl performance. A few months ago, the talk was about Beyonce's surprise album. And there's still discussion of That Miley Moment at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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optionFeb. 8, 14 8:37 AM

I remember watching the Beatles that night. The choices for television entertainment were so limited then (compared to today). When people tuned into watch TV, they had CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and maybe one or two independent stations to choose. So, when people watched an event like the Beatles, even if they didn't know it was going to be an historic moment, a lot higher percentage of the population was likely to tune in. Conversations that followed the next day were certain to be focused. That's not to say that the finale of great shows like "Dallas", "The Sopranos", "MASH", or the parting emotions of "Johnny Carson" or "Jay Leno" didn't have impact; it's just that the current impact is diluted by the choice of 100's (if not 1000's) of channel selections, on demand streaming entertainment services, convenient, high quality home entertainment systems, and the like. But, I will never forget the night I huddled around the old black and white TV set out on the farm in Rice County to watch the Beatles perform. My Mother was almost apoplectic! And I was never allowed to wear my hair any longer than what my Dad deemed appropriate, since he was the family barber and about once a month, my brothers and I would go, one by one, to get shorn, resulting in the above the ear, non-optional white-walls.

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boboboboFeb. 8, 1410:00 AM

I remember vividly watching this. We always watched Ed Sullivan with his wooden walk and his corny plate spinning acts. I was ecstatic. My parents (like many) were appalled and terrified at the same time. This was totally beyond their control, and they knew it. Life changed for millions of people that night. People that were born later might think this statement is an exaggeration. It is not. It's truly a case of "you had to be there to fully understand it." I would also argue that even if you Were there, you Still can't fully understand it. Happy 50th, Beatlemania!

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april24Feb. 8, 1410:13 AM

I was born in 1975 but I can still feel the reverberations of that night today. The Beatles have been a huge influence in my life. What is so mind blowing is that it wasn't just the phenomenon surrounding them, it was that they truly had unmatched talent that hasn't been touched since. Best band ever...

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elklevenFeb. 8, 1410:50 AM

In 1965, the percentage of the U.S. population watching was 37.9%. Using today population, that would equate to 119 million watching, making it bigger than the recent Super Bowl

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davehougFeb. 12, 14 6:53 PM

The US was more united when everyone could discuss what was on TV last night. Both sides of the political spectrum watched the same shows. I'm glad for our choices today, but something has been lost.

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