The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

February 6, 2014

Memories of the Beatles' US television debut

(Continued)

"I remember the first time I heard the word 'Beatles,'" he recalls. "It was that Friday. I was in seventh grade and my best friend, who was really into music, said, 'You gotta watch them, they're on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Sunday night.'

"I said, 'Really? There's a group called the Beatles?' It sounded gross.

"But I watched, and I saw this unbelievable crowd reaction to these guys. And at school the next day, the Beatles were all anybody was talking about. And I felt very cool, because I had seen it. But three days earlier, I hadn't heard of them."

These days, the Ed Sullivan theater is familiar territory for Moonves.

"I've done a number of presentations for advertisers from that stage," he says, adding that his mind immediately goes to the Fab Four. "(I think), 'The Beatles were here! The Beatles were here!' On these very planks beneath my feet."

___

Even Ringo Starr didn't know the magnitude of what was about to happen when he played with his bandmates that night.

"Incredible!" he recalls. "It was 'Ed Sullivan,' it was a big show. We didn't know while we were playing that 70 million people were watching, but it was being in America that was so exciting.

"All the music we loved was in America, it came from America to England."

While holed up at their Manhattan hotel, they were interviewed by the city's leading deejays, which, all by itself, was an amazing experience.

"With Murray the K and Cousin Brucie, we were on the radio — we were in the hotel rooms on the phone to Murray the K. You didn't have anything like that in England. The whole experience was just incredible."

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