Did you even know they even made Beatles wallpaper? Yes, they did — and there were people who wanted to buy it.
It was early 1964 and Beatlemania had made its way across the pond. I Want To Hold Your Hand hit the top of the U.S. Billboard chart February 1st, and on February 7th, the boys started their North America tour. Two days later, they played for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show.
That February 9th appearance brought the Beatles to the masses, and kicked the Fab Four frenzy into high gear. It’s estimated 73 million people watched that show — about 38 percent of the U.S. population at the time. It even had been suggested that crime levels dropped dramatically during the broadcast, but that was later disproved.
A second Ed Sullivan performance, pre-taped, was slated to air February 23rd. Two days before that show — when millions of crying, screaming, fainting teen-aged girls just couldn’t get enough of the lads from Liverpool — 24,000 rolls of Beatles wallpaper landed in the U.S. Wallpaper was just one of a near-endless variety of Beatles-branded items you could buy if you were so inclined — from wigs and lunchboxes to boots and oil paintings. According to News of the Odd, “By 1966, Northern Music, in the UK, was exporting $1 million worth of “Beatleware” to the US annually.” (FYI: I managed to find a link on eBay for ‘Rare Beatles Wallpaper’: it was sold out.)
The first appearance on Ed Sullivan One YouTube commenter summed up this performance nicely: “Everything changed for the boys after this night and there could be no looking back.The ESS was the launching pad for it all. There was The Beatles before The Ed Sullivan Show and The Beatles after The Ed Sullivan Show.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qXyw1JiW7I (2 min, 50 min)
The opening of A Hard Day’s Night While I’ve never seen this entire movie, I had to include it here, because when my husband and I took a Beatles walk during our last U.K. visit in September 2018, the guide took us through London’s Marylebone Station — the location for the opening of the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QZa5pzihqE (Watch the opening credits.)
The Beatles break up The news stunned and saddened people around the world, and to this day, no band has quite captured the trippy, melodic vibe of the Beatles. This montage of news clips includes interviews with their publicist on the break-up, and reaction from their fans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4zS2biDur8 (22 min, 6 sec)
Free as a Bird This song was released in 1995 as part of the Beatles Anthology, and accompanying it is what must be one of the most magical, bittersweet music videos ever. Its dreamlike quality and nod to a bygone era — all beautifully interspersed with cameos of John, Paul, George and Ringo — have me riveted every time I watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODIvONHPqpk (4 min, 58 sec)