On the morning of Feb. 7, 1964, a British rock band named the Beatles landed at JFK airport in New York. You may have heard of them. They eventually generated a massive influence on a newly developing international popular culture. In the process, they took a leading role in bringing about that decade's giant wave of change which transformed the world's attitudes, arts, social mores, fashion, thought and politics - not to mention blowing rock 'n' roll wide open, inspiring untold thousands of kids to form rock bands (including one little folk singer in New York named Dylan), all of which, in turn, transformed popular culture from a diversion into a major part of people's lives. That's why for years I've written that Feb. 7 should be a national U.S. holiday - anyone who winds up changing, well, everything deserves nothing less. Anyhow, it all started 50 years ago today, so here is a video of their arrival at JFK airport on a cold day that a ton of Americans remember well.
Some cultural historians and others say that the real beginning of the '60s was the Beatles' performance two days later on Feb. 9 on the Ed Sullivan Show, which was viewed by the largest U.S. TV audience to date. Here is the first Beatles performance during that show. (Performance starts at around the 30-second mark.)
For good measure, here is the band, which was on the verge of breaking up, in their last live performance, five years later in January 1969 on the rooftop of the Apple offices in London.