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Flashback: Beatles Debut on Ed Sullivan [VIDEO]

The Beatles
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

It was 49 years ago on tomorrow night (February 9th, 1964) that the Beatles made their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. Seen by over 73 million viewers, the show has gone on to become one of TV’s most iconic moments, much like Neil Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the moon. The Beatles performed twice, both opening and closing the program.

The group performed a total of five songs that night: “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and their then-current Number One hit “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” One of the more memorable parts of the show was during “Till There Was You,” when the screen dimmed as each Beatle was highlighted with his name appearing on the screen. John Lennon didn’t know it at the time, but an additional caption saying “Sorry Girls — He’s Married” was added under his name.

What many people don’t know is that their legendary Sullivan appearance was actually their second of the day. Prior to the live February 9th broadcast, the Beatles taped a future segment for Sullivan’s February 23rd show. After that, the audience was cleared for the live broadcast.

Up until the group’s break-up in 1970, they continued to send promo clips of their latest singles to be aired on The Ed Sullivan Show — including “Paperback Writer,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Hello, Goodbye,” and “Let It Be.”

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