Ed Sullivan and the Beatles

image for Ed Sullivan and the Beatles
Exhibition Label
On February 9, 1964, seventy-nine million Americans gathered around their television sets to watch four young men from Liverpool, England, make history. Ed Sullivan, the "king of Sunday night television," booked the Beatles for three appearances after seeing the response of fans during a stay in London, despite criticism from colleagues that the band was practically unknown in the United States. Following the appearance, the phenomenon of Beatlemania swept the country, causing girls to faint and boys to grow longer hair. John, Paul, George, and Ringo secured their place in American hearts and spurred an invasion of British rock and roll that altered the face of popular music in the United States. This publicity photograph was taken during a rehearsal for the broadcast.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Unidentified Artist
Ed Sullivan, 28 Sep 1902 - 13 Oct 1974
Ringo Starr, born 7 Jul 1940
George Harrison, 25 Feb 1943 - 29 Nov 2001
John Lennon, 9 Oct 1940 - 8 Dec 1980
Sir Paul McCartney, born 18 Jun 1942
Sir Paul McCartney: Male
Sir Paul McCartney: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer
Sir Paul McCartney: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
Sir Paul McCartney: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
Sir Paul McCartney: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Pianist
Sir Paul McCartney: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
Sir Paul McCartney: Oscar
Ed Sullivan: Male
Ed Sullivan: Communications\Journalist\Reporter
Ed Sullivan: Communications\Journalist\Columnist
Ed Sullivan: Performing Arts\Performer\Television Personality
George Harrison: Male
George Harrison: Performing Arts\Producer
George Harrison: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
George Harrison: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
George Harrison: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
George Harrison: Oscar
John Lennon: Male
John Lennon: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
John Lennon: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Guitarist
John Lennon: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer\Rock
John Lennon: Oscar
Ringo Starr: Male
Ringo Starr: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Songwriter
Ringo Starr: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
Ringo Starr: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Drummer
Ringo Starr: Oscar
Gelatin silver print
Image: 16.9 x 22.2 cm (6 5/8 x 8 3/4")
Sheet: 18 x 23.1 cm (7 1/16 x 9 1/8")
Mat: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18")
National Portrait Gallery