A DAY IN THE LIFE
Incredible photos show The Beatles’ historic first trip to America… as over 3,000 frenzied fans waited in the cold at JFK airport to welcome their heroes
This month marks 53 years since The Fab Four first visited the USA
BY NATALIE KEEGAN
7th February 2017
George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney pictured together of their Pan Am jet arriving at JFK airport
A COLLECTION of historic photos capture the first time The Beatles set foot on US soil.
The fascinating images, from February 1964, show what happened after The Fab Four landed at JFK airport in New York – where they were met by 3,000 screaming fans.
Once in NYC, the band performed on the Ed Sullivan show in front of a TV audience of 73million people.
Their visit, which took place 53 years ago this month, marked the start of Beatlemania.
The groundwork for their first US trip had begun months earlier, in October 1963, when presenter Ed Sullivan had been passing through Heathrow Airport as the Beatles were due to land from a Swedish visit and he spotted a huge gathering of fans waiting for them.
At that time, the Liverpool legends had already achieved three UK number ones with Please Please Me, From Me To You and She Loves You.
Crows of screaming fans awaited the band at the airport
Ed recalled: “There was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in my life.
“I asked someone what was going on and he said, ‘The Beatles’. ‘Who the hell are The Beatles?’ I asked.
“But I went back to my hotel, got the name of their manager and arranged for them to do three shows.”
The group’s manager Brian Epstein sealed the deal with Sullivan, accepting $10,000 (around £62,000 in today’s money) for the performances.
The Beatles at London Airport on their way to New York, 7th February 1964
The US trip marked the start of Beatlemania around the world
Muhammad Ali poses in the ring in mock victory over The Beatles, meeting the press in New York during an American tour
The Beatles at a photo shoot the day before their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show
Ed later admitted that he had been nervous because the band was still relatively unknown in his country.
Luckily, just days before the band arrived in the US, American audiences had caught up and The Beatles had scored their first number one with I Want To Hold Your Hand – almost 11 months after they first topped the charts in the UK.
The Beatles pose for a shoot in front of an American flag during their trip to New York City
Teenage girls and fans shout and cheer as The Beatles arrive
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon hold their first US press conference
Ed’s show then received 50,000 applications for tickets in a 728-seat theatre.
When the band touched down at JFK, they never imagined the welcome that they would receive – as thousands of fans eagerly awaited them.
Paul McCartney told Anthology: “There were millions of kids at the airport, which nobody had expected. We heard about it in mid-air.
The band couldn’t believe how many people were waiting for them at the airport
Beatlemania didn’t just wait at the airport – they also congregated outside the band’s hotel
It wasn’t just fans who hoarded to catch a glimpse of The Fab Four – the American press were also out in their droves
John Lennon’s ex-wife Cynthia Lennon flew to NYC with her then-husband
John and Cynthia Lennon arriving at the Peppermint Lounge on their first night in the United States
The Beatles visit The Peppermint Lounge on their first night in the United States on February 7, 1964 in New York City
The band had their first number one in the US just days before they arrived in New York City
“There were journalists on the plane, and the pilot had rang ahead and said, ‘Tell the boys there’s a big crowd waiting for them.’ We thought, ‘Wow! God, we have really made it.’”
Ringo added: “It was so exciting. On the plane, flying in to the airport, I felt as though there was a big octopus with tentacles that were grabbing the plane and dragging us down into New York.
“America was the best. It was a dream, coming from Liverpool.”
On February 11 1964, two days after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the band performed their US concert debut in Washington.
The concert was held at the Washington Coliseum and the seating plan in the arena was in its arrangement for boxing.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr explore New York City
Cynthia and John Lennon pictured on that historic Pan Am flight
When the band made their way back to London at the end of February 1964, masses of fans awaited them to welcome them home
The Beatles had their first US number one almost 11 months after they first topped the charts in the UK
The Beatles had to set up on the un-roped ring in the middle – which meant that the group were only facing 25 percent of the 8,092 fans in the audience at any given time.
To combat this, the band moved their amps, microphones and Ringo Starr‘s drum riser one-quarter turn clockwise between songs.
The band played a 35-minute set of 12 songs, including: Roll Over, Beethoven, From Me to You, I Saw Her Standing There, This Boy, All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man, Please Please Me, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Twist and Shout and Long Tall Sally.
When the band made their way back to London at the end of February 1964, masses of fans awaited them – with many holding banners with slogans such as “welcome home boys”.