Monday, February 10, 2014

The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Monday, Feb. 10, 1964 Read more: The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Monday, Feb. 10, 1964

The reviews of the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan appearance brought everything back down to earth. The boys paged through a stack of them with feigned indifference early the next morning, Feb. 10, over breakfast in their Plaza suite. The table was strewn with dailies that featured their TV debut prominently. They were delighted at first by the extent of coverage, but their faces soon collapsed into furrows and wrinkled brows reflecting the off-key tone of the criticism.

It seemed no one of note had appreciated their act. “Televised Beatlemania,” wrote the New York Times TV critic, “appeared to be a fine mass placebo,” and he dismissed the Beatles as nothing more than a “fad.” The Herald Tribune, while less convoluted, gave it a page-one treatment under the puzzling banner Beatles Bomb on TV. Its columnist blasted the absence of talent in their performance, calling it “a magic act that owed less to Britain than to Barnum.” The Beatles “apparently could not carry a tune across the Atlantic,” he wrote, rating the overall appearance as “75 percent publicity, 20 percent haircut, and 5 percent lilting lament.”

The Beatles performing live "Please Please Me" at The Washington Coliseum in February 11th 1964, on their first U.S. visit. The song belongs to their debut album Please Please Me, released on March 22nd 1963, and it was first published as a single in the U.K. on January 11th that year.

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