Friday marks 50 years since The Beatles landed at JFK
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Friday marks 50 years ago since four 20-somethings from Liverpool landed in the United States and changed music forever.
The Beatles landed at JFK Airport with John, Paul, George and Ringo on February 7, 1964. And to mark the Fab Four's first US trip, the Port Authority has a number of events planned.
It all leads up to Sunday's 50th anniversary of the group's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
It's hard to convey the excitement in the city on the day the Beatles arrived, as everyone young, old and every age in between was talking about them. It marked the end of one era and the beginning of another, with the British Invasion providing the turning point.
In 1964, Peter Blachley was among the 73 million people who watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, an evening recorded in photos that are part of a special exhibit at his gallery -- Morrison Hotel -- in SoHo.
"The Beatles didn't know what they had," he said. "Matter of fact, they probably thought it could end at any time. And that's what I love about them, because it's really all about the authenticity and what could be from this music."
Manager Brian Epstein was the guy trying to ride the rocket named Beatle Mania, but the influence of the band transcended music to help an entire nation heal.
"It was an America that was only two months or so out from the Kennedy assassination, and people really felt they'd been punched, punched in the stomach," longtime music executive Steve Greenberg said. "When they stepped onto the Ed Sullivan stage with such exuberance and such energy and such joy, they really woke a country that was mourning President Kennedy out of its stupor."
For those born after the Beatles rocked our world, these images help to explain what made one moment in time so important. The Beatles exhibit opens Friday at the Morrison Hotel.
A book about what it all meant, called "How the Beatles Went Viral in '64," is available now online. Read more at Amazon.com
jfk international airport, the beatles, entertainment
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