At the end of 1963, literally no one in America had heard of the Beatles. Yet on Feb. 9, 1964, they drew the largest TV audience in history- 73 million viewers-when they appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." How could they have achieved all of this so quickly?
The explosion of the Beatles in America was the result of combined forces- artistic, social and technological, intellectual, smart and more than a bit of luck.
The Beatles came out of England. And England was where the Beatlemania began. Unlike its sudden arrival in America, Britain's obsession with the Beatles emerged during the course of nearly a year. The band was huge locally in its native Liverpool, even before the group had begun to make records. After the Beatles signed to EMI's Parlophone label, a series of singles appeared beginning in late 1962: "Love Me Do," "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You"-each a bigger hit than the previous one. The first whispers of mass madness boomed out of the north of England in late spring, just as Please Please Me moved into the No. 1 position on the U.K. chart, a spot that a succession of Beatles albums would hold for almost a year.
It’s hard to even imagine rock ‘n’ roll without The Beatles. Jimmy Page said, “If it hadn’t been for the The Beatles, there wouldn’t be anyone like (Led Zeppelin) around.” Even Keith Richards said, “The Beatles were the first to actually find that middle path between the artistic and the intellectual and at the same time still be on the street.” It’s no surprise The Beatles have more than twice as many groups listed among those they “influenced,” either “directly” or substantively, as The Rolling Stones: 211, according to AllMusic, to the Stones’ 87.
The Beatles were only a band for eight years, but they’ve maintained a hold on every generation that followed. The Beatles notched their 32nd Top 10 album in any sales in 2016 with Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which peaked at No. 7. Their catalogue is worth more than the GDP of most countries.
I feel I can guarantee that people will be playing Beatles music for as long as we survive as a species. Brings the beautiful area of success back and refreshed every single time.