50 years ago, Beatles appeared on 'Sullivan'

It was 50 years ago today that the Beatles appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Their first appearance in America was a pivotal cultural moment.

Nielsen says 45 percent of all TV sets in use at the time were tuned into the broadcast, or more than 70 million viewers. Some who watched were already fans, while others were just curious about the new phenomenon of "Beatlemania."

The Beatles performed live before an audience full of screaming teenage girls in the CBS studio in Manhattan that now houses the "Late Show With David Letterman."

%@AP Links

040-r-07-(Ed Sullivan introduces the Beatles, during first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show)--Here's what it sounded like 50 years ago today when Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles to American TV audiences on his show. ((Shorter version of previous cut)) (9 Feb 2014)

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009-w-33-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP Music Correspondent, with Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.)--AP Music Correspondent Oscar Wells Gabriel reports the choices on TV were pretty sparse 50 years ago today. ((Wrap opens with music)) (9 Feb 2014)

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008-w-39-(Oscar Wells Gabriel, AP Music Correspondent with Ed Sullivan, George Harrison and music)--A major music and cultural anniversary today. AP Music Correspondent Oscar Wells Gabriel reports it's been 50 years since the "British Invasion" began in earnest. (9 Feb 2014)

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045-r-51-(Sound of The Beatles, performing their first U.S. hit, "I Want To Hold Your Hand.")--Here are The Beatles performing their first U.S. hit, "I Want To Hold Your Hand." (9 Feb 2014)

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