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The Beatles' 50 in the U.S. -- a year-long celebration
Fifty years ago we loved them -- yeah, yeah, yeah.
And we still do.
Beatlemania these days isn't carried with quite the same frenzy as it was in 1964, when the group -- which had already been causing riots in its British homeland for the better part of two years -- brought the frenzy across the pond for its first U.S. visit. But it's evident from the activity surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's arrival here, starting with Tuesday's (Jan. 21) re-release of its 13 U.S.-only albums, that the Beatles remain indelibly stamped in the pop culture psyche even 44 years after they announced their break-up.
"I think there's definitely a mini-Beatlemania excitement going on," says veteran Detroit radio personality Doug Podell of WCSX, himself an avid Beatles fan and collector. "I would say this is a bigger celebration than what the (Rolling) Stones did. Look at all the books that have come out surrounding the Beatles, all the new products -- from T-shirts to (holiday) ornaments to car mats. It's been crazy."
Even though the formal celebrations will be limited to the next few weeks, leading up to a Feb. 9 special on CBS to commemorate the Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," the coming months will be filled with all sorts of 50th anniversary markers from a year that saw the group release four albums on these shores and mount its first concert tour. In front of all that, we thought we'd take a look at the key dates from the Beatles U.S. invasion of 1964...
January 10 -- The "first" Beatles U.S. album, "Introducing...The Beatles" on Vee-Jay Records is released. The company had signed a licensing agreement with EMI, which held the Beatles rights in the rest of the world, for a five-year right of first refusal to release the group's albums in America. Vee-Jay initially declined to put out the band's "Please Please Me" album on these shores during 1963, but when it got into money problems later in the year and the Beatles' popularity was beginning to spread overseas, Vee-Jay decided to reconfigure the British album and beat Capitol Records, EMI's U.S. label, to the Fab Four punch. EMI was able to get a restraining order to temporarily halt further manufacture of "Introducing..." because it owned U.S. publishing rights to the songs "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You," but Vee-Jay came up with a second version of the album that circumvented the issue. "Introducing..." peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts.
January 17 -- "I Want to Hold Your Hand," released as a single in December, hits No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
January 20 -- "Meet The Beatles," the group's first "official" U.S. album, is released, mixing songs from the first two U.K. albums "Please Please Me" and "With the Beatles." The 12-song set spent 11 weeks at No. 1 and has over the years been certified five-times platinum.
February 3 -- The Beatles, while performing in Paris, visit the U.S. Embassy to obtain visas for their upcoming visit.
February 7 -- The Beatles arrive at New York's JFK International Airport on Pan Am flight 101 from England. Greeted by 3,000 screaming fans and a media horde, they famously thought that U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson or some other dignitary was arriving at the same time.
February 9 -- The Beatles' first performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS. An ailing George Harrison missed the rehearsal but recovered enough to appear on the show, during which the Beatles performed five songs and filmed another three for broadcast later in the year.
February 10 -- The revised version of Vee-Jay's "Introducing...The Beatles is released.
February 11 -- The Beatles performed their first full-scale concert before 8,092 fans at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C., followed by a reception at the British Embassy.
February 16 -- The group appears on a live "Ed Sullivan Show" episode from Miami, playing another six songs before an audience that included boxing champions Joe Louis and Sonny Liston.
March 26 -- Former Beatles drummer Pete Best comes to the U.S. to appear on the show "I've Got a Secret."
April 4 -- The Beatles have the top five singles on the Hot 100 chart, with "Can't Buy Me Love" at No. 1.
April 10 -- "The Beatles's Second Album" is released a scant 11 weeks after its predecessor, featuring more songs from "With the Beatles" as well as previous British singles (including "She Loves You") and B-sides and two new songs, "I Call Your Name" and Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally," that came out the U.K. the following month. The set replaced "Meet the Beatles" at No. 1 and has been certified double-platinum.
April 27 -- "Love Me Do" is released, 18 months after its U.K. release. It eventually hits No. 1 on the Hot 100.
June 13 -- "A Hard Day's Night," the single and title song from the Beatles' first movie, is released. It hits No. 1 on Aug. 1.
June 26 -- The "A Hard Day's Night" album is released -- on United Artists rather than Capitol, the Beatles' regular label -- and hits No. 1. It's been certified four-times platinum.
July 20 -- The Beatles' fourth U.S. album, "Something New," is released, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It's been certified double-platinum.
August 12 -- The "A Hard Days Night" film opens.
August 19 -- The Beatles' first North American tour begins at San Francisco`s Cow Palace. It ends Sept. 18 in Dallas.
September 1 -- The Beatles Monthly is published in the U.S. for the first time.
September 6 -- The Beatles play two shows at Detroit's Olympia Stadium -- despite a Stamp Out The Beatles campaign launched by some concerned locals. A radio station bought the sheets the group slept on at the Whittier Hotel, cut them into one-inch squares and sold them to fans.
October 1 -- Vee-Jay releases "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons" album, containing hits from both groups.
October 4 -- Beatles manager Brian Epstein's autobiography, "A Cellarful of Noise" (written by band publicist Derek Taylor) is published.
November 13 -- CBS broadcasts a documentary, "The Beatles in America."
December 15 -- The album "Beatles '65" is released, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It's been certified three-times platinum.
This year's Beatles
Key dates for the Beatles' U.S. 50th anniversary celebrations:
January 21 -- Capitol releases the group's 13 U.S.-only albums, individually and in a box set, as well as on iTunes.
January 20 -- Ringo Starr will receive the Lifetime of Peace and Love Award from the David Lynch Foundation in Los Angeles. The tribute concert will feature Joe Walsh (his brother in law), Eurythmics Dave Stewart, Bettye LaVette and others, with Detroit's Don Was serving as musical director.
January 26 -- Starr and Paul McCartney will perform, separately at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, where the Beatles will also receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.
January 27 -- McCartney, Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia will take part in the taping of CBS' "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles," which will feature performances by the reunited Eurythmics, Maroon 5 and pairings of Keith Urban with John Mayer and Alicia Keys with John Legend.
January 29 -- "The New Powerpuff Girls," featuring a voice cameo by Starr, debuts on The Cartoon Network.
February 4 -- Starr will publish a children's book based on the Beatles song "Octopus's Garden," in collaboration with Ben Cort. On the same day, "The Beatles: Six Days That Changed the World," about the first U.S. visit, comes out.
February 7 -- McCartney and Starr are slated to appear on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman, which is taped in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. Letterman is planning to celebrate the Beatles for the entire week of broadcasts.
February 9 -- CBS will air "The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles."
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