Tag Archives: February Music et al

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

February 9, 1964

If February 3, 1959 was the “day the music died,” then five years later, it was reborn.

From the NY Times article, February 9, 1964: Beatlemania creeps in slowly. Collar­less jackets, usually worn Saturday nights on Forty‐second Street, are turning up in the strangest places, like the safe suburbs. Teen‐agers who once considered the G.I. crew‐cut the height of adolescent fashion are letting their locks curl down their necks and over ears and across foreheads. Twenty thousand beatle wigs have been sold.

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

The day the music died

Everyone has milestone dates. Generations share dates. For Don McLean February 3, 1959, the day a plane crash killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, was “The Day the Music Died.” 12 years later, McLean wrote “American Pie.” In it , a 13 year old newsboy remembers that “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver”

For Boomers, shared “where we were” dates are likely: when we found out President Kennedy was killed or later Martin Luther King, Jr, or that same year, Robert Kennedy. Each, like McLean’s, a sad day.

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

The day the music was reborn

February 9, 1964 is at the other end of that spectrum. Rather than the music dying, the music was born.

That was the evening we sat in front of our black and white TV (the only one in our home?) and watched The Beatles inaugural performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Unless you are a Beatles trivia fan, you may not know that that afternoon the Beatles had recorded Twist And Shout, Please Please Me, and I Want To Hold Your Hand, in front of a different audience than the one that saw their live debut that evening. Ed Sullivan broadcast that set on 23 February on their third appearance. By the 23rd, John, Paul, George and Rich were back home in the UK.

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

Sorry girls…

On the evening of February 9, 1964, the Beatles performed “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” which featured the names of the group members superimposed on closeup shots, including the famous “Sorry girls, he’s married” caption on John Lennon, and “She Loves You.” The act that followed Beatles in the broadcast was pre-recorded, rather than having someone perform live on stage amidst the pandemonium that occurred in the studio after the Beatles did their first songs. They returned later in the program to perform “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for US television.

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

How he met the Beatles

How Ed Sullivan’s and the Beatles’ paths crossed is open to some guessing. The most popular story is that Ed Sullivan and his wife happened to be in London’s Heathrow Airport on October 31, 1963 when they encountered thousands of screaming teenagers. (Ironic, I suppose, as he’d have to get used to such happenings in just a few months!)

When he asked what the commotion was all about, he was told that a band called the Beatles  were arriving.

He decided that such popularity was something he’d love to bring to his American show.

Whether that is actually the sequence or not matters not.  By mid-November, Beatles manager Brian Epstein had booked the Beatles.

And like the moon landing, we all remember where we were.

I’d love to see comments about where you were!

Ed Sullivan Meets Beatles

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Billboard #1

February 6 – 19, 1965: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Righteous Brothers Lost Lovin Feelin
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin


The Songfacts site has this to say about this great song:

According to BMI music publishing, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was played on American radio and television more times than any other song in the 20th century. It got over 8 million plays from the time it was released until 2000. Note that this includes all versions of the song, not just The Righteous Brothers’.

The husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this song at the request of Phil Spector, who was looking for a hit for an act he had just signed to his Philles label: The Righteous Brothers.

Before signing with Spector, the duo had some minor hits on the Moonglow label such as “Little Latin Lupe Lu” (#49) and “My Babe” (#75).

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Little Latin Lupe Lu

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Mann & Weil

Mann and Weil listened to these songs to get a feel for their sound, and decided to write them a ballad. Inspired by “Baby I Need Your Loving” by The Four Tops, they came up with this song about a desperate attempt to rekindle a lost love.

The title “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was just a placeholder until they could think of something better, but Spector thought it was great so they went with it. With most of the song written, Mann and Weil completed the song at Spector’s house, where Phil worked with them to compose the famous bridge (“Baaaby… I need your love…”).

Wrecking Crew

Musicians for the song include members of the Wrecking CrewDon Randi on piano, Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Carol Kaye and Ray Pohlman on bass, and Steve Douglas on sax. Also Barney Kessel on guitar and Earl Palmer on drums.  

The background singers were mainly the vocal group The Blossoms [Fanita James, Jean King, and Darlene Love] and Cher, who did a lot of work with Spector early in her career. She can also be heard on background vocals near the end of the song.


The song was the first Righteous Brothers release on Philles, and it shot to #1, giving both the duo and the songwriting team of Mann & Weil their first #1 hit.

In 2001, the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts ranked the recording at No. 9 in the list of Songs of the Century.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine  ranked it at 34 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In 2005,  the Songwriters Hall of Fame awarded Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil  the Towering Song Award for “the creators of an individual song that has influenced the culture in a unique way over many years.”

In 2015, the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress, which each year selects from 130 years of sound recordings for special recognition and preservation, chose the Righteous Brothers recording of the song as one of the 25 recordings that has “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy“.

In addition to it being the most played song of the 20th century, it remains the most-played song ever having accumulated almost 15 million airplays in the US by 2011. Today that honor belongs to Sting’s “Every Breath You Take.”

Righteous Brothers Lovin Feelin

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore Auditorium (photo from Wolfgang’s Vault)
Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

Chet Helms

In 1966 Chet Helms (friend of Janis Joplin and the one who connected her with Big Brother and the Holding Company) teamed up with a commune  called Family Dog and started putting together a series of  shows at the Fillmore Auditorium. Family Dog and Bill Graham, new to the world or rock venues, hosted events on  alternating weekends. The two promoters would lock horns many times over the years, and it was always a contrast in styles. Bill Graham had a reputation as an aggressive, no-nonsense business man, whereas others saw Helms as a more down-to-earth guy who was less interested in money and more focused on throwing a great party. His lack of business skills is one of the reasons Chet never made a much money in the music business, but he was never short on ideas.

The Fillmore Auditorium had been used in December 1965 by Bill Graham in his first foray as a rock promoter.

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

SF Mime Troupe

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco
Mime Troupe benefit ad

The Grateful Dead had performed there as part of Ken Kesey’s January 8, 1966 Acid Test (a very interesting recording of the Dead at that event)

…then the first rock shows as just rock shows (February 4, 5, and 6, 1966) were held at the Fillmore Auditorium.

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

Jefferson Airplane

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco
poster from first show (“Jefferson airplane fillmore poster 1966” by Bill GrahamUploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia – eBay itemimageTransferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jefferson_airplane_fillmore_poster_1966.jpg#/media/File:Jefferson_airplane_fillmore_poster_1966.jpg)
Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco


The Fillmore Auditorium was not the first rock venue in San Francisco. The Matrix had opened six months earlier on August 13, 1965 showcasing the Jefferson Airplane, which singer/founder Marty Balin had put together as the club’s “house band.”

On October 16, 1965, the Family Dog had put on a dance and concert a the Longshoremen’s Hall with the Jefferson Airplane, the Charlatans, and the Great Society. 

Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco

Bill Graham

Bill Graham kicked off his 1967 Summer Series with an incredible lineup at the Fillmore. Headlining the show were Rock and Roll’s biggest new stars, the Jefferson Airplane whose album, Surrealistic Pillow, was climbing the American pop charts. Last on the bill behind Jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo was a relatively unknown guitar player named Jimi Hendrix.
“Jimi first came to San Francisco right after Monterey Pop. …He opened and then Gabor Szabo and then the Airplane. That was the first night. Afterward, the Airplane asked him if they could open the show. Jimi took the town by storm.” Bill Graham (poster from Wolfgang’s Vault site)
Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco


From the Fillmore site: The Fillmore represented the pinnacle of creative music making in the late 1960s. From December 10, 1965, when Bill Graham produced a San Francisco Mime troupe benefit (Jefferson Airplane with Great Society and Mystery Trend; the Warlocks, later the Grateful Dead, kicked off the show), until July 4, 1968, The Fillmore audiences experienced a 2 1/2 year musical and cultural Renaissance that produced some of the most innovative, exciting music ever to come out of San Francisco. The careers of the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape, the Butterfield Blues Band, and countless others were launched from The Fillmore stage. The most significant musical talent of the day has appeared there: Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Cream, Howlin’ Wolf, Captain Beefheart, Muddy Waters, The Who – well, you get the picture. Or you’ve heard the stories. If you’re lucky, you were there.

In July, 1968, the Fillmore Auditorium morphed and moved to the Fillmore West, a west coast counterpart to Graham’s already-opened Fillmore East in New York City.

The site remained basically the same and has been a venue under different names at various times since. Today it is again the Fillmore.


Fillmore Auditorium San Francisco