Once upon a time in America
The first british invasion of the United States would pave the way for countless acts. Andy Price examines just what it was about The Beatles that won america over …
At 1:20pm on 7 February 1964, the plane carrying John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr touched down in America al the recently-named John F Kennedy Airport in New York. As they emerged al the top of the steps of the Pan American World Airways Flight l 01 that day, The Beatles were greeted by throngs of fans and journalists who were every bit as fevered as those they had jusi left behind in the UK. lt was an astonishing moment. The band’s single/ Want To Hold Your Hand was No. l in the American charts and yet no British band before or since has received such adulation without having even playing a note in that country. The Beatles themselves seemed as surprised as anyone. As John Len non pul it to an enthusiastic reporter in Washington DC a few days later: “We thought it would be much quieter. We thought we’d have to grow on everybody but everyone seems to know us already as though we’d been here for years.”
lssue two of The Beatles Years focuses on 1964 to 1965 and opens with this first visit to the US, where the coast-to-coast broadcast of their iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show would galvanise their Stateside success. We chart their exhilarating, yet exhaustive, US and world tours, their prolific songwriting, the making of the films A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, their relationship with the press, the controversia! awarding of MBEs to the band, and their appearance al the first-ever stadium rock concert in front of 55,600 fans al Shea Stadium. “We were just so far away from the audience,” remembered Ringo. At the heart of it all is the music and this issue provides track-by-track analysis of the four albums that culminated with Rubber Sou/, the band’s first undisputed masterpiece. For many, 1964 to 1965 was the definitive era for the Fab Four. lt was also one that would see them develop into one of the greatest creative and cultural forces the world has ever seen.