Aside from assorted segments on television news, the event marked the first time Americans saw them perform. That Sunday night on 9 February 1964, 73 million viewers tuned in to CBS. For many years, that evening's Ed Sullivan Show ruled as the most watched television broadcast in history.
It was the first of three consecutive appearances on the show.
The Beatles first performed an afternoon concert that CBS taped for a later broadcast on 23 February 1964.
That evening, the performed the live show that 73 millions watched.
The Beatles followed with a short concert tour of the east coast.
The following week on 16 February 1964 Ed Sullivan caught up with the Beatles again to broadcast his show live from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, where the Beatles had scheduled one of their concert stops.
On February 23, after the Beatles completed their brief but successful tour, CBS broadcast that taped performance of February 9.
Below is a video of that live evening performance of 9 February 1964.