50 Years Ago: The Beatles Make Second Appearance On ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’
After the history-making appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ fans didn’t have to wait too long for another glimpse of the Beatles. On Feb. 16, 1964, only one week after their debut, the group performed again on the popular variety show.
In the interim, the Beatles had their first American concerts — at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, D.C. and two shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Feb. 12. The next day, they, flew down to Miami, where Sullivan’s show was being broadcast from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. For the Beatles, so accustomed to the miserable British winters, Florida was a paradise.
“We had never been anywhere where there were palm trees,” said Paul McCartney in ‘Anthology.’ “We had a great time down there. We played at one of the hotels…and we’d look down on the beach where the fans would write ‘I love John‘ in the sand, so big we could read it from our rooms.”
After a few days of relative relaxation in the water, it was time for the show. Sullivan introduced them by recognizing the importance of the previous week’s events.
“And now, this has happened again,” he began. “Last Sunday, on our show in New York, the Beatles played to the greatest TV audience that’s ever been assembled in the history of American TV. Now tonight, here in Miami Beach, again the Beatles face a record-busting audience. Ladies and gentlemen, here are four of the nicest youngsters we’ve ever had on our stage…The Beatles! Bring ‘em on!”
They followed the same format as the first shot — three songs at the start (‘She Loves You,’ ‘This Boy’ and ‘All My Loving’) and another three at the end (‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ ‘From Me to You’ and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’). At the conclusion, Sullivan brought them over to say that Richard Rodgers, who wrote the music for dozens of Broadways shows including ‘Pal Joey,’ ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘The Sound of Music,’ contacted Sullivan to say that he was one of their “most rabid fans.’
The next week, the Beatles made their third appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ but by this point, they were already back in England. It had actually been taped before the first show on Feb. 9. That first week, Sullivan’s introduction bordered on bemusement. But here, he spoke from the heart about the impact they had made on him personally.
“You know, all of us on the show are so darn sorry — sincerely sorry — that this is the third, and thus our last current show with the Beatles, because these youngsters from Liverpool, England in their conduct here — not only as fine professional singers, but as a group of fine youngsters — will leave an imprint with everyone over here who’s met ‘em, and that goes for all of us on our show.”
The Beatles made a few more appearances on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ during their career, but none were live in the way the Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 shows were. On Abbey Road notes that the May 24, 1964 episode featured an interview with them to promote the film ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ during which a clip of ‘You Can’t Do That,’ which was edited out of the movie, was shown.
A year later, they played another six songs — ‘I Feel Fine,’ ‘I’m Down,’ ‘Act Naturally,’ ‘Ticket to Ride,’ ‘Yesterday,’ and ‘Help!’ — on Sullivan’s Sept. 12, 1965, but the performance was actually taped on Aug. 14, the day before their historic concert at Shea Stadium.
After that, the Beatles decided that, rather than perform on Sullivan’s show, they would send over promotional films of their newest singles. They did this four times over the course of their career. June 5, 1966 (‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’), Feb. 12, 1967 (‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’), Nov. 26, 1967 (‘Hello, Goodbye’) and Feb. 15, 1970 (‘Let It Be,’ ‘Two of Us’)
The last two performances of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan came on February 12, 1967 with “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and the final performance was on February 15, 1970. On this final occasion, they played “Two Of Us” and “Let It Be.”