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The Beatles historic US debut was hardly a sure thing - CNET

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It's amazing to think about it now, but the Beatles' famous introduction to the U.S. audience on the Ed Sullivan show almost didn't happen.

The band was already huge in the UK, but in the early 1960s UK bands never "crossed over" to make it big in the US. Their music was rarely played on US radio stations, let alone performed on TV. The Atlantic ocean separated the two countries' music, and back then it was an imposing gulf.

Nonetheless, on February 9, 1964, 73 million Americans tuned in to watch the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan TV show, based in New York City. That, followed by two more appearances on the Sullivan show plus heavy Top 40 radio exposure led to the Beatles string of three no. 1, and seven Top 10 singles in the US in 1964!

The Beatles and Ed Sullivan after the first performance CBS Photo Archives/Capitol Photo Archives

The US debut only happened because on October 31, 1963, Ed Sullivan was at the London Airport (renamed Heathrow Airport in 1966) and by chance...(continued)

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