Beatles 50th anniversary on Ed Sullivan

A few weeks ago I was in a rebellious mood, and like I usually do when I’m in a rebellious mood, I did something dangerous.

I tweeted.

“Three most innovative/important artists since popular music became a thing: The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Kanye West.”

Naturally, such an absolute statement received a lot of criticism. People were aghast that I would say Kanye West is one of the greatest musicians ever, and some even criticized me saying that about Michael Jackson.

However, out of all the negative feedback I received, no one questioned the legitimacy of The Beatles ranking. The Beatles are universally recognized as one of the best bands in musical history.

On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and performed five songs. The performance would go down in history.

“Their style and their energy when they came, there was a whole mystique about them at the time,” said Dr. Mcllhagga, music professor.  “They were so different from what anyone had ever experienced.  It was like the American teenagers were waiting for someone they could freak out about. It was the right place the right time kind of thing.”

After the performance, Beatlemania was in full swing in America, and it spread throughout the rest of the world.

“The telling thing that the Ed Sullivan Show appearance did was it—I don’t even know if those guys knew it at the time—but it was kind of foreshadowing what was going to happen to them at every public appearance they made from then on,” said Drew Dunham, associate dean of academic affairs and registrar. “You hear Ringo talking about how he couldn’t hear anything on the stage. He kept track of where they were at by watching John, Paul, and George tapping their feet, bobbing their heads, maybe a glimpse of the word coming out of their mouth.”

To celebrate this monumental show, CBS put on a special tribute celebrating the Fab Four’s dynamic entry into US airwaves. The special aired Feb. 9 and was viewed by 73,000,000 people. During the special, contemporary artists such as Katy Perry and Imagine Dragons had the opportunity to butcher classic Beatles songs.

Fortunately, many other artists, such as Stevie Wonder, Gary Clark Jr. and Dave Grohl also covered Beatles songs.

However, the indisputable highlight of the night was Paul and Ringo performing ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ and ‘Hey Jude’ together.

“I think it’s electrifying, it’s awesome, it’s better than live stuff now,” said Chris Blaker, Farmington Hills senior. “I think the reason that stuff is better is because the music is better, and you don’t need all that showy acrobatic theatrical kind of display for these kinds of concerts.”

Many of us aren’t able to say we were alive during the original Ed Sullivan broadcast, but we can say that we were during the 50th anniversary, which I still think is pretty special.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

About Joshua Van Laan 39 Articles
Josh Van Laan is currently a sociology major from Clinton Township.

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