Friday, February 14, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend ( February 14 - 15 - 16 )

The Beatles made their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan on Sunday, February 16th ... this time they performed SIX tracks:  "This Boy" and "From Me To You" ... along with repeat performances of "I Saw Her Standing There", "All My Lovin'", "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand".  The show was broadcast live from The Deauville Hotel in Miami where The Beatles were photographed earlier in the week enjoying the sun and the pool, a far cry from rainy ol' England!  (Sullivan signed The Fab Four for three appearances on his program ... the record-breaking show the week before, recently saluted on CBS Television with The Grammy's All-Star Tribute To The Beatles television special, the performance we're remembering today from Miami ... and a third trip back the following week (which was actually taped in advance so that The Beatles could return to England for other commitments.)   

Earlier in the week they made their first live concert appearance on American soil when they performed at The Washington Coliseum (on February 11th) where approximately 8000 screaming fan witnessed this very special occasion.  (In fact, it was filmed for television ... The Beatles performed a make-shift version of "in the round" ... which is to say that in order for all the fans in the coliseum to see them, they literally had to get up and turn the stage by hand themselves between songs to face all four sides of the theater!  As if that wasn't embarrassing enough, the end of the concert was lost forever when the camera ran out of film!!!)  The film of this concert showed up in movie theaters a couple of months later so that fans all across the country could see their new music heroes live in concert.  (Well, live on FILM anyway!!!)

The following night they appeared at Carnegie Hall (thanks to a bit of clever maneuvering by promoter Sid Bernstein, who sold the Hall on the idea by referring to The Beatles as some "British Gentlemen" who were quite popular in their homeland.  Incredibly Bernstein booked the band before he had heard them play a single note, solely on their amazing popularity overseas!)  The Beatles put on TWO shows that night, both to sell out crowds.  It was a prestigious engagement ... they were, in fact, the first rock group to ever play Carnegie Hall ... but The Fab Four never returned to perform at this venue again.

Bernstein described the events this way to The Allentown, PA Morning Call in 2008:  

“I knew the woman who did the Carnegie bookings.  I used to see her in the neighborhood supermarket. I told her there was this group of four guys from England who were a phenomenon, that she should get them. Carnegie never had a rock group before, so when I made my application, she assumed they were a string quartet — I never told her otherwise. When they saw the crowds, they weren’t too happy.”   

Chartwise here in The States, it looks a bit like The British Invasion is gaining some momentum.  

In the Billboard Magazine Chart dated February 15th, I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND is #1 for the third straight week … and SHE LOVES YOU has moved up a few notches to #3.  The DUSTY SPRINGFIELD Hit I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU is now in The Top 30, sitting at #27.  More Fab Four records follow as PLEASE PLEASE ME climbs to #45, I SAW HER STANDING THERE has jumped 15 points to #54 and MY BONNIE, a record THE BEATLES recorded with TONY SHERIDAN back in 1961, has now debuted at #67.  (They were originally called THE BEAT BROTHERS on the original pressings of that record, which never became a hit in Europe until AFTER Beatlemania spread worldwide.  However, it was a fan who walked into Brian Epstein's record shop asking for this record that first prompted Brian to check the group out for himself.  After witnessing an afternoon lunchtime session at The Cavern, he was ready to sign them right on the spot!)  That gives THE BEATLES FIVE records on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart for the third week of February!  Also new this week ... THE DAVE CLARK FIVE premier on the U.S. Chart for the very first time, coming in at #77.  A so-called rivalry between the two bands (manufactured by the U.S. Press) will soon ensue!    

Here in Chicago, The Beatles are at #1 and #2 with "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You" respectively.  New on the charts is "Glad All Over" by The Dave Clark Five, premiering at #27.  Meanwhile, Cliff Richard climbs to #29 with "It's All In The Game".  (Again for some reason Dusty Springfield's first hit, "I Only Want To Be With You", never charted here in Chicago ... yet today it's one of her best known tracks.)