Fifty years ago today, the Beatles appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Here are some local people’s memories of that night. Share your own memories in the comments below. Note: You’ll need a Facebook to comment.
“I was 13 when the Beatles appeared on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ … My sister was married and gone, but my 10-year-old brother, mother and grandmother all sat there to see the real thing. The radio stations had been playing the music for weeks. I, of course, was on the edge of my seat. They were actually singing the songs and kept up a banter with Ed.
“Their accents were very heavy and they talked fast, but I fell in love with them that night and haven’t stopped. Their songs are the ones I know every word to. … Paul was my favorite because he was, and still is, the cutest. I never saw the Beatles in person, but did see Paul and Wings in North Carolina one summer. … I loved all of the songs on the Rubber Soul album. My favorites are ‘Girl’ and ‘You Won’t See Me.’”
— Sharon Pol
“I was 9 years old on that Sunday evening. …As the Beatles were introduced, I was speechless and awestruck. … My mother, a strong Southern Baptist, stated unequivocally, ‘It’s the end of the world.’ Waiting for my father’s response, I never heard a word. He was as glued to the small black-and-white TV as me. I kept my thought — ‘If they are bringing the end of the world, what a way to go!’— inside me for fear that I might experience the ‘end of the world’ from my mother. … I loved John Lennon. In terms of sheer genius, I believe the song ‘Imagine’ is timeless as well as profoundly inspired by God … the cosmic irony if one listens to the words.”
— Nicholas Abraham
“I was 12 years old and, of course, my twin sister and I watched that Sunday night to see our favorite Beatles sing. We were mesmerized as every other girl our age. I was IN LOVE with Paul, and every song on the first album was a favorite! … I remember everyone in the news talking about the Beatles ‘invasion,’ and that their music was going to change everything, and they did.
“If I had to describe in one word, when we were finally able to watch and see the Beatles that night on Ed Sullivan, it would be ‘JOY.’”
— Jeanne Triche
“Yes, I watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I was 7 years old. My favorite Beatle has always been Paul McCartney. He is a true British gentleman. … My favorite song is ‘Bluebird. I also enjoy the song ‘I will.’”
— Andrea Clesi McMakin
“I was 12 years old watching in the living room on the one and only TV (I guess black and white) we had. I can’t necessarily say I heard them as the screams from the audience were louder than the ones you would hear in Death Valley on an LSU football night. I had already heard about the ‘Fab Four’ and was anxious as everyone else to see them perform.
“My sister knew I was taken with music and the Beatles and bought me their first album ‘Meet the Beatles’ for my birthday, which was Feb. 14. That was the first real album I ever owned, and it opened up a magic door for me. I started collecting albums and following other bands, especially the British movement.
“My next birthday, I asked for and got an electric guitar. By my 15th birthday, I had joined a band and, in 1968, became the lead singer for ‘Love Express.’ … John Lennon was my favorite Beatle because of his complexity, his message of peace, his massive creative talent and the inner beauty of his soul.
“George Harrison, the ‘quiet Beatle,’ is a close second. I loved every song on the album ‘Revolver.’”
— David Humphreys
“I was 6 and had to watch it because my three sisters were in high school and had Beatles posters all over the walls of their bedroom. I couldn’t hear them sing because my sisters were screaming the whole time. My parents were amused. … My sisters were in love with Paul, but my brother and I liked Ringo because he was the cool drummer who didn’t seek the limelight. Interestingly, some of the other moms on the street wouldn’t let their kids watch it because of the long hair and other Elvis-like paranoia. My favorite song is ‘Hey Jude,’ which I believe was beat out for No. 1 by John Fred’s ‘Judy in Disguise.’”
— Jason Furrate
“I was 13 years old, and Ed Sullivan was THE show. Every family watched it. When we first saw the Beatles, we were like ‘what is this?’ but we never stopped moving … jumping around. It was different in our (African American) community but it was a contagious kind of music. … Ringo was my favorite. He seemed to be the most authentic, not about the fame but more about the music. My favorite Beatle song is ‘Yesterday.’”
— Gwen Hamilton
“Yes, I did watch ‘The Ed Sullivan Show on my black-and-white TV. I was 10 at the time. I didn’t have a favorite Beatle, the group just appeared to be as one and I just enjoyed their music. I have two songs that I really like — ‘Help’ and ‘Let It Be.’”
— John F. Smith
“I saw ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ that night but didn’t think it was that great. I was 16 years old. All four of the Beatles are favorites, but George Harrison is special. I have a dozen or so favorite Beatles songs, but ‘The Long & Winding Road’ stands out for me.”
— Johnny Palozzotto