Beatles arrive, make American TV debut, as reported by The Associated Press in February 1964

The Associated Press

FILE - In this this Feb. 7, 1964 file photo, Britain’s Beatles arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport, in New York, after their flight from London. From left to right, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The Beatles would go on to take America by storm, and rock 'n' roll was never the same. (AP Photo/File)

Associated Press + More

By The Associated Press

EDITOR'S NOTE: In February 1964, the Beatles took America by storm, and rock 'n' roll was never the same.

AP reporters covering the band's Feb. 7 arrival at New York's Kennedy Airport and their appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" two days later never failed to mention John, Paul, George and Ringo's long hair, or the screaming teenage girls who followed them wherever they went.

In covering the airport arrival, AP reporter Arthur Everett goes to great lengths to use contemporary slang like "way out" and "fab." And he quotes female fans as shouting "We want beatniks!" Might it have been "We want Beatles!"? The story on the Sullivan show appearance focuses on the scene, making scant mention of the band's music. In a separate review, AP television-radio writer Cynthia Lowry allows that the boys "sing close harmony." But she is put off by their hairdos, and declares that the appeal of the Liverpudlians remains a mystery to an "elderly viewer." (Lowry was in her early 50s at the time.)

Fifty years after their original publication, the AP is making these reports available to subscribers:

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BEATLES LAND IN NEW YORK

NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (AP) — Britain's way out Beatles, equipped with rag mop hairdos and guitars, invaded the colonies today. Thousands of delirious teen-aged native girls paid them wild tribal homage when they landed at Kennedy airport.

"I love them, I love them," shrieked one junior miss, teetering on the verge of emotional collapse. A singing quartet of British youth, the Beatles are all the rage - or rather "fab" for fabulous - on the tight little isle, and their fame has spread to America via best-selling recordings. Now they are here in person for a series of sold-out public appearances.

The Beatles collectively are sort of a sheep dog version of Elvis Presley — the adulation they arouse in reminiscent of the grip the American star once held on the juvenile population.

However, when a newsman described them to their faces — or the visible portions thereof — as "four Elvis Presleys," they replied in unison: "Not True."

As the Beatles left their transatlantic airliner shortly after noon, 5,000 school-skipping American fans stormed police barricades, pelted the quartet with jelly beans and candy kisses, and screamed: "We want beatniks! We want beatniks!"

Behind them, with their departure from London, the Beatles left a pack of British teen-age girls, awash in tears, keening forlornly and twisting sodden hankies in anguished farewell.

But accustomed as they are to the weird worship rites attending their every appearance, the Beatles were shocked into momentary immobility as they left their plane to face the American horde. They recovered enough to wave, mug and dance a small jig for their panting audience.

"It's marvelous," Beatle Paul McCartney, 21, later told a news conference. "It's fantastic! We've never seen or had anything like this before. It's the best ever."

There was some small measure of mild dissent amid the joyous welcoming uproar that kept 100 policemen on edge at the airport. One sign on display read: "Beatles go home!" and another proclaimed: "We love Beethoven."

At the news conference the Beatles were informed that a "stamp out the Beatles" movement is under way in Detroit.

"We're going to start a campaign to stamp out Detroit," was their rejoinder.

As for Beethoven, Beatle Ringo Starr, 23, conceded that "he's beat - especially his poems."

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ED SULLIVAN APPEARNCE

NEW YORK, Feb. 9 (AP) — The Beatles — four British Lads who sing when they are not busy running away from barbers — made their American Television debut tonight — and some things may never be the same.