Fifty years ago today, the Beatles arrived in America for a short concert tour of the east coast and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Sullivan's talent scouts actually had been aware of the Beatles for nearly a year. The scouts failed to appreciate their talent, however, but considered booking them as a humorous "novelty act." They thought American viewers might get a laugh at the longer, uncombed hair sported by the Beatles.
In October of 1963, Sullivan himself first heard of the Beatles. He visited Britain and found the London's Heathrow Airport overwhelmed with traffic, reporters, and people. Sullivan thought the Queen was arriving. When told it was the Beatles, he asked, "Who the hell are the Beatles?"
After arriving back in the United States, Sullivan eventually met with Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles. Epstein was in the country attempting to promote the then unknown band and to secure a company to distribute their recordings in the United States.
Sullivan booked the Beatles for three performances in consecutive weeks, two to be broadcast live and one to be taped.
On 7 February, 1964, the plane carrying the Beatles touched down at JFK airport, greeted by 200 journalist and 4,000 screaming fans.
Beatlemania arrived to America.