1964: Beatlemania

At the start of 1964, the Beatles were at the top of the charts in the UK, but had just started to attract audiences overseas with songs from their first two albums Please Please Me and With the Beatles. Radio airplay and a broad marketing campaign in the U.S. quickly drove huge record sales and enormous enthusiasm among new fans -- the band and their sound were something new and exciting, and they were coming to America. John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison set off on a series of tours in 1964, starting in Europe, later visiting the United States, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Beatles fans were so excited and determined to see the band that police sometimes resorted to using fire hoses to hold them back. Their first televised concert in the U.S. was on the Ed Sullivan Show, on February 9, 1964. 73 million viewers watched that performance -- 34 percent of the American population. Below are images of the Beatles' big year, in roughly chronological order, as the world discovered Beatlemania. This is the third of five entries focusing on events of the year 1964 this week (and next Monday). Later entries will feature images from Alaska's Good Friday earthquake and the New York World's Fair.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Branden Camp / AP

    Deadly Storms and Tornadoes Hit the American South

    Over the weekend, a massive storm system spawned dozens of tornadoes and caused extensive damage across a swath of the southern United States, from Texas to Florida.

  • Andrew Lichtenstein

    The Power of Protest Photography

    A new exhibition captures the rallies, riots, marches, and demonstrations that erupted in New York City between 1980 and 2000.

  • Bryan Woolston / Reuters

    Photos of the Women's Marches Around the World

    Images of today’s marches in Washington, New York, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and from other cities in England, Ghana, France, Canada, Serbia, Australia, Kenya, Germany, India, and many more.

  • Elizabeth Conley

    Americans at Work: A Church for the Unemployed

    Part of our ongoing series of photo essays at The Atlantic titled “Americans at Work.” This week, photographs of the NorthWest Bible Church’s Between Jobs Ministry in Spring, Texas, made by photographer Elizabeth Conley.

Join the Discussion