The closer we get to Feb. 9 and the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first live performance on American television on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the more commemorations that are announced.
In New York, where the group first touched down at John F. Kennedy Airport on Feb. 7 ahead of the Sullivan show performance, four days of musical tributes have been slated from Feb. 6 through Feb. 9 for the NYC Beatles 50 celebration.
Participants have yet to be announced, but events begin Feb. 6 with “Twist & Shout: New York Celebrates the Beatles,” and the following day what is being described as an “all-star concert” is slated for the venerated Apollo Theater in Harlem.
On Feb. 8 and 9, dozens of bands will perform throughout the day at various sites around the city. The 50th anniversary theme is carried out by the use of 50 bands from 50 countries that have been invited to attend, with most tickets priced at $50. Proceeds are being earmarked to benefit the Food Bank for New York City.
The NYC Beatles 50 festival was announced Tuesday, on the 50th anniversary of the group’s first prime-time television exposure in the States -- well before the Ed Sullivan show mayhem.
As noted by Beatles historian Bruce Spizer on his website counting down various 50th anniversary milestones, a news feature about the Fab Four had aired during “The CBS Morning News with Mike Wallace” early Nov. 22, 1963, and was scheduled to be repeated that night in prime time on “The CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite.” But the assassination of President Kennedy that day in Dallas preempted all previously scheduled programs.
Cronkite remembered the piece and decided to air it 18 days later, on Dec. 10, thinking the country could use a bit of upbeat news in the dour days following the president’s death. That helped kickstart what would blossom into full-blown Beatlemania two months later.
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