Home Musician 10 Famous Musicians Who Saw The Beatles Perform On “The Ed Sullivan Show”

10 Famous Musicians Who Saw The Beatles Perform On “The Ed Sullivan Show”


The Beatles performed to a screaming crowd of over 700 fans on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. About 50,000 people applied for tickets. Even Sullivan struggled to get tickets to her own show. The unfortunate ones who couldn’t sit down watched along with the 70 million other people who tuned in to watch that night.

Some of that 70 million included future musicians like Billy Joel and Tom Petty. They imagined themselves on this stage singing in front of the crowd. Watching the Beatles gave them hope and inspiration. Soon they were famous in their own right.

Here’s what 10 famous artists had to say about watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles performing on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ | CBS via Getty Images

Tom Small

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Tom Petty had this to say about watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show“I think the whole world was watching that night. It certainly was. You knew it, sitting in your living room, that everything around you was changing.

“It was like going from black and white to color. Truly. I remember earlier that day, actually, a kid on a bike passed me and said, “Hey, the Beatles are on TV tonight. I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me, and I thought, “That means something. [The Beatles] came out and just flattened me. Hearing them on the radio was pretty amazing, but seeing them finally perform was electrifying.

Gene Simmons

In 2010, Kiss’ Gene Simmons said Liverpool Echo, “There’s no way I’m doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for the Beatles. I was watching ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and saw them. These skinny little boys, kinda androgynous, with long hair like girls.

“It blew my mind that these four boys [from] the middle of nowhere could make this music. Then they talked and I thought ‘How do they talk?’ We had never heard the Liverpool accent before. I thought all Brits sounded like the Queen.

Billy Joel

Billy Joel told CBS News, “That performance changed my life…Up until that point, I had never considered rock music as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn’t look like they came out of the Hollywood star mill, playing their own songs and instruments, and mostly because you could see that look on John Lennon’s face – and he seemed to be always saying, ‘Fuck you!’ “I said, ‘I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I’m these guys.’ That’s what I’m going to do: play in a rock band.’ »

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Joe Perry

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said Music Radar, “Seeing them on TV felt like a national holiday. Talk about an event. I’ve never seen such cool guys. I had heard some of their songs on the radio before, but I was unprepared for the power and utter spellbinding they were to watch.

“It completely changed me. I knew something was different in the world that night. The next day at school, The Beatles were all anyone could talk about. Us guys had to be there. playing pretty cool, because the girls were so excited and were drawing little hearts on their notebooks, ‘I love Paul’, that kind of stuff. But I think there was an unspoken thing with the guys that we all have dug the Beatles too We just couldn’t come out and say it.

Richie Sambora

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora said Music Radar, “One of my earliest memories was of sitting cross-legged on the floor in the living room of the house I grew up in and watching black and white television and watching the Beatles in ‘ The Ed Sullivan Show.’

“I was 5 and I remember thinking, ‘Wow! This is what I want to do. I know that sounds silly – most 5-year-old boys say they want to be firefighters or policemen or players. or even president. Not me. I wanted to be one of the Beatles… But the kind of reaction the Beatles get from girls… hey, what guy wouldn’t say, ‘That’s what I want !?’ »

Steven Van Zandt

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Steven Van Zandt said, “It was the main event of my life. It was certainly the major event for many others, whether they knew it or not at the time. For me, it was no less dramatic than the landing of aliens on the planet… There is no equivalent to that today, television shows that literally everyone has watched.

“All ages, all ethnicities, all in black and white on a 14-inch screen… It was their sound, their looks, their attitudes. It was so many things. A time to look at things differently, to question things a bit. All kinds of things were new.

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RELATED: George Harrison Was The First Beatle To Visit America

Chrissie Hyde

Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde said Austin Chronicle, “I remember exactly where I was sitting. It was amazing. It was as if the axis had moved. I remember the first time I saw the 45 in the record bin at the discount house where my parents were shopping and holding it in my hand. It was kind of like an alien invasion.

“If you were a bit of a virgin and you didn’t want to grow up like I didn’t want to, didn’t want to enter the adult world like I didn’t want to, it gave you a kind of new avenue of sexuality. It could be more cerebral. You didn’t have to touch the person’s acne… [The day after, the boys] all combed their hair and made bangs! Me too! I could never put my hair in curlers again. I combed it straight and cut my bangs. Oh yes. It was something else entirely. »

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen told CBS News, “It was different, it changed the lay of the land. Four guys, playing and singing, writing their own material…Rock ‘n’ roll came to my house where it seemed like it wasn’t there. have no way out… and opened up a whole world of possibilities.

Nancy Wilson

Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson told CBS News, “Lightning came out of the sky and hit Ann and me the first time we saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. There had been so much anticipation and hype about The Beatles that it was a huge event, like the moon landing: that’s when Ann and I heard the call to become rock musicians.

“I was seven or eight at the time…Right away we started doing air guitar shows in the living room, faking English accents and studying all the zines.”

Doug Clifford

Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival told CBS News, “A big influence was seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. They were a foursome and we said, wow, we can do this. If these guys from England can go out and rock ‘n’ roll, we can do it… We bought Beatles wigs. We went to the theater store, and I guess it was Three Stooges wigs at the time.

Watch the Beatles play on The Ed Sullivan Show was special to everyone watching, whether as a national holiday or an alien invasion.

However, these artists and many others can all agree on one thing; it was electrifying. It tripped a switch in their brain, and suddenly they were able to relate to something they didn’t know they wanted. Without the influence of the Beatles, we wouldn’t have had any of these artists.

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