When The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, I wasn’t alive, but I knew exactly who to ask about the Brits’ American television debut: my mom. She described sitting at home at age 11 with her family, and as each song played — “All My Loving,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — she inched closer to the edge of the couch. Then she slid down the couch to be closer to the TV. Then she was cross-legged on the floor. Then she had her face right up by the screen. She needed to be as close as possible to the Fab Four and their music — and she wasn’t alone.
More than 73 million Americans gathered around their televisions on the night of Feb. 9, 1964, and on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, exactly 50 years later to the day and time, The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A Grammy Salute will bring us back to that magical night. The two-and-a-half-hour show includes the band’s famous fans performing their biggest hits; interviews with those involved in the Sullivan telecast, including David Letterman’s sit-down with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (check out a preview below); and a Beatles reunion performance.
But it was so much more than just a musical moment. As the show’s producer, Ken Ehrlich, told EW, the country was searching for something to rally around after months of tragedy.
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