The Beatles Arrive in America: 50th Anniversary

February 5, 2014 Updated: February 16, 2014

I was studying and working at Birmingham University in England when the Beatles, the four lads from Liverpool, first materialized in England. I saw them on “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” an immensely popular pop music television show in Britain.

Never on a Sunday! Nobody, young or old, left their homes on Sunday night—we were all glued to our television sets to watch, listen to, and dance along with in our pajamas, the sensational Beatles. Even my 9-month-old son sang along and swayed in his playpen. This was one of the things I treasured about living in England at that memorable time.

We moved to the United States in 1964, the same year the Beatles arrived in New York City. They would have their historic television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964.

Fifty years later, the date is still celebrated by all who fell madly in love with the four mop-haired Liverpudlians and their fabulous music—“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” It was an overwhelming, welcoming, and thrilling event.

For those of us who grew up with “All You Need Is Love,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the nostalgic memories of “Yesterday” will continue in our enjoyment and adoration for Beatles songs.

I attended the final live performance of The Beatles on Aug. 29, 1966, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park with my son, then age 4. It was a nostalgic reminder of our happy years in Birmingham—and I never get tired of listening to The Beatles music. It is classic, even today.

At last week’s GRAMMY Awards, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two remaining Beatles, reunited in a rare joint appearance to perform Beatles compositions. It was a wonderful, emotional sort of déjà vu for me to hear them.

Surrounded onstage by music artists including Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and Keith Urban, they performed two Beatles songs—“Hey Jude” and “With a Little Help From My Friends”—commemorating the 50-year anniversary of The Beatles coming to America.

Watching the GRAMMYs, I was touched as the two honored their missing band members, John Lennon and George Harrison.

“We were in a band called The Beatles, and whenever we play, George and John are always with us,” Starr said.

“Tonight we are remembering our beautiful friends John and George,” McCartney added.

Lennon was shot to death in 1980, at age 40. Harrison died in 2001 of lung cancer at age 58. The performance was seen by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and Harrison’s widow, Olivia.

The concert was filmed for a CBS tribute, “The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute to The Beatles,” which will air Feb. 9.

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