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Beatlemania at 50

February 5, 2014
Richard Sorrell with his Meet the Beatles albumRichard Sorrell '66 highlights the influence of the Beatles in a course on the social history of rock and roll that he teaches at a New Jersey community college.

“It was 50 years ago today…”

On Feb. 9 1964, an estimated 73 million Americans tuned in to the Ed Sullivan Show to watch the Beatles make their American debut, giving birth to the British Invasion, and ushering the frenzy known as Beatlemania.

“The world sort of stopped,” says Institute for Popular Music Director John Covach, “and everybody listened.”

This weekend, we look back on the four lads from Liverpool, and the impact they made on music, popular culture, and Rochester students alumni.

Watch live online: Beatles Celebration Lecture Series — Instant Combustion

The Institute of Popular Music presents a lecture from University of Michigan professor Walter Everett, author of a two-volume work, The Beatles as Musicians.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
2 p.m.


‘You Love Them, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!’

Ned Ferguson '66 with some of his Beatles memorabilia. (Andy Manis / AP Images for Rochester Review)

Ned Ferguson ’66 with some of his Beatles memorabilia. (Andy Manis / AP Images for Rochester Review)

In the spring of 1964, walking across the Eastman Quadrangle, Edwin (Ned) Ferguson ’66 heard someone shout from a first-floor dorm room: “They’re on!” He rushed to the room, which was covered with Beatles photos and posters, and gathered with eight or nine others around an AM radio to jam to “She Loves You.”

The (Rochester) Face of Beatlemania

still image of screaming girl on the Ed Sullivan telecast, with a smaller image of the same woman with her grandson.

From teeny-bopper to grandmother: Robin Lynn ’70 as she appeared on the live broadcast of the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and with her grandson Nathan in 2010.

Rochester alumna Robin Lynn ’70 witnessed the birth of Beatlemania—and had her reaction broadcast live on television. Fifty years later, she remains linked with the famous British foursome.

‘Meet’ the Beatles

David ’68 and Amy Zimmerman Freese ’71 pose with guitar

David ’68 and Amy Zimmerman Freese ’71 still sing the occasional Beatles song (“Here, There, and Everywhere” is Amy’s favorite) five decades after Amy saw the band as a high schooler on the Ed Sullivan Show.
(Michael Perez / AP Images for Rochester Review)

“There are lots of neat things about my life, but when I tell people about this, their mouths drop,” says an alumna about her chance to be part of a historic musical moment.

50 Years of Beatlemania

“The importance of the Beatles is that they took the popularity that happened to them with this fad and they were able to have sustained and lasting — not only success — but influence.” Professor John Covach looks back on the legacy of the Beatles.

John Covach

Professor John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music.

Study online: The Music of the Beatles

On Sunday, Feb. 9, Professor John Covach will launch his free, six-week online course, The Music of the Beatles, through massive online course platform Coursera. The class, which currently has over 23,000 enrolled participants, will analyze the musical development of the band.

All Together Now

Campus rock ’n’ roll expert John Covach offers a guide to the top hidden gems in the Beatles’ digital catalog.

Let’s Make a Deal: The Beatles, Ed Sullivan, and the British Invasion

Writing in Musicology Now, Professor John Covach looks at the true story of how the Beatles came to be booked on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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Category: Society & Culture