Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Few Americans now 50 and older didn't watch The Beatles when they appeared three consecutive Sunday nights on television's Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. The band's appearances put the British Invasion into high gear and changed popular music.
Appropriately, it was Sunday night when we hosted another 50-something couple to watch a DVD of the four Ed Sullivan shows on which The Beatles appeared live (one show was taped before a studio audience).
After only seeing the briefest of clips from those performances, it was interesting to see the band go through their entire sets. Just as entertaining was the rest of the show, including commercials for Lipton Tea, Aeowax, Anacin and Cold Water All.
I had to feel sorry for an illusionist named Fred Kaps. On Feb. 9, 1964, poor Fred was saddled with being the act to immediately follow The Beatles. About the last thing the studio audience -- and millions of TV viewers -- was interested in seeing at that moment was a guy doing a card trick.
It seems curious now, but it made sense in the era of Top 40 radio, that The Beatles performed "I Want to Hold Your Hand" all three February 1964 shows. They sang "I Saw Her Standing There," "She Loves You" and "All My Loving" two of the three nights. Ringo got one solo ("Act Naturally") but George had none. (No wonder they called him The Quiet Beatle. He didn't get a chance!)
There was no doubt that this was live production. The microphone settings for their performance in Miami were off, with John on background vocals drowning out Paul's lead.
Forty-three years later, it was fun to see what all the fuss was about.