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

  • Denis Balibouse / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 4/18-4/24

    This week we have images of a Chilean volcano, migrants shipwrecked in the Mediterranean, the "Blue Forest" in Belgium,  Kim Jong Un atop Mt Paektu, the Boston Marathon, Orcas hunting on a Patagonian beach, Saudi attacks on Yemen, tule elk along California's coastline, and much more.

  • Omar Havana/Getty Images

    Nepal After the Earthquake

    A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal early on Saturday, centered 10 miles below the surface, less than 50 miles from the capital of Kathmandu. At least 1,100 are already reported to have been killed by the quake and subsequent avalanches triggered in the Himalayas.

  • Smithsonian.com

    Winners of the 2014 Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

    The editors of Smithsonian magazine have announced the winners of their 12th annual photo contest, selected from more than 26,500 entries.

  • Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

    The Eruption of Chile's Calbuco Volcano

    Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky over a sparsely populated, mountainous area, triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano.

Join the Discussion