The Beatles Invasion, 50 Years Ago: Sunday, Feb. 9, 1964
The curtains swept open and America had its first look at the band—not in black leather and stagy scowls, not intimidating, as some had feared, but neatly groomed, all smiles, vaguely harmless: a pleasant surprise. The Beatles! Without hesitation, they launched right into a crisp if workmanlike version of “All My Loving,” a cut from their freshly minted LP, Meet the Beatles, which topped Billboard ’s charts the following week and remained there until it was knocked off by their sec
Ringo’s drums erupted into “She Loves You,” jolting the audience. The last two numbers were even more riveting. Both “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” delivered on the promise of something thrilling.
The phenomenon unfolded in living rooms across the country. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the viewing audience was estimated at about 74 million people, reflecting a total of 23.24 million homes, a record for any TV show.