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The Beatles Invade America

The Beatles - Paul, George, Ringo an John - on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9, 1964. The world would never be the same.

I was nine years old when the Beatles arrived in America to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. Little did I know at the time how much that would change my life.

I watched the show on our black-and-white television set. As girls in the audience screamed, the Fab Four - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - belted out five songs, starting with "All My Loving."

We'd already been buying Beatles' singles and albums since they began hitting the charts in 1963. Now we finally saw them on stage. The world would never be the same.

Here's a chronology of the Beatles' first two weeks in America 50 years ago:

Feb. 7, 1964 - Pan Am flight 101 with the Beatles on board arrives at JFK Airport in New York at 1:20 pm. A crowd of 5,000, mostly girls, greets them, as well as 200 members of the press.

Feb. 9, 1964 - The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York in two segments. Set 1: "All My Loving," "Till There Was You" and "She Loves You." Set 2: "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Feb. 11, 1964 - The Beatles perform a 12-song, nearly hour-long set at Washington Coliseum for a crowd of 8,000 mostly screaming girls. It's their first-ever concert in the U.S. Set list: "Roll Over Beethoven," "From Me to You," "I Saw Her Standing There," "This Boy," "All My Loving," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Please Please Me," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Twist and Shout" and "Long Tall Sally."

Feb. 12, 1964 - The Beatles perform two 34-minute sets (7:45 pm and 11:15 pm) at Carnegie Hall in New York. There is no audio or set-lists from these shows.

Feb. 16, 1964 - The Beatles perform again on The Ed Sullivan Show, this time in Miami at the Deauville Hotel. They play six songs: "She Loves You," "This Boy," "All My Loving," "I Saw Her Standing There," "From Me to You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Feb. 21, 1964 - The Beatles fly back home to London via Miami and New York.

Feb. 23, 1964 - For the third consecutive week the Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. However, the songs they perform - "Twist and Shout," "Please Please Me" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" - were recorded the same day as the first show on Feb. 9, and hence are not performed "live."

When the Beatles returned to New York in August, they smoked marijuana for the first time at the Delmonico Hotel with Bob Dylan and journalist Al Aronowitz, who provided the pot.

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.