The Beatles: How The Boys Conquered America

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Half a century has passed since The Beatles made their historic first visit to the United States and, in doing so, changed the face of popular music. No other act has made such an impact on the States, before or since. Read more

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Half a century has passed since The Beatles made their historic first visit to the United States and, in doing so, changed the face of popular music.

No other act has made such an impact on the States, before or since. It was extraordinary, unprecedented and remains unmatched. The arrival of John, Paul, George and Ringo in New York in February 1964 helped lift the mood of a nation still coming to terms with the assassination of their president, John F Kennedy, less than two months earlier. Shock, grief, anger and fear were the dominant emotions in the US until the four lads from Liverpool turned up to spark excitement and hysteria in American teenagers.

The Beatles’ popularity grew bigger and bigger in Britain throughout 1963, to the extent that the term ‘Beatlemania’ was coined to describe the phenomenon infecting the UK. America remained immune and ignorant at what was happening across the pond for most of the year, largely because Capitol Records, owned by EMI, did not release their singles in the States, believing The Beatles would hold little or no appeal to a country which they believed had moved beyond rock and roll.

When The Beatles began to garner some attention in the US, bemused news reports focused on the giddy effect their music was having on the British people, rather than the songs or the lads producing them. They were first seen on American television screens on November 18 1963, as NBC’s The Huntley-Brinkley Report ran a four-minute item on Beatlemania.

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