Fifty years ago the Beatles landed in America

On February 7, 1964, a music group from Liverpool, England arrived in New York City to perform on a television show, the Ed Sullivan Show. This first visit of the Beatles to North America is one of the most significant moments in the history of music. Let's see why.

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ATTENTION! The English translation is automated - Errors (sometimes hilarious!) can creep in! ;)

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Ed Sullivan's talk show broke all audience records when it hosted The Beatles on February 9, 1964. “Never before has a live show attracted so many viewers. This evening has become historic from a musical point of view since it launched the beatlemania in the USA.
“For many, the passage of the Beatles to Ed Sullivan Show was a landmark event, as were man's first steps on the moon and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "
Source: The Journal of Montreal
“Their concert on February 9 - 5 tracks heard by about 73 million Americans, 40 % of the population - could well constitute the most influential performance in the history of music, the one that officially launched the Beatlemania and inspired a generation of teenagers to grow their hair out and play the guitar. ”
The following activities will help you learn more about the influence of The Beatles and their music.


At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Watch a sample of the Beatles' performance on the Ed Sullivan Show and discuss their impressions;
- Understand the beatlemania phenomenon of the 1960s;
- Watch a video from the Radio-Canada archives showing the beatlemanie in Montreal in order to summarize this phenomenon in a paragraph;
- Discover some of the Bealtes' hits and associate different key events according to the date of the song;
- Choose a song for analysis and criticism;
- Summarize the career of The Beatles using presentation software;
- Know that Paul McCartney is still an active musician today.

Suggested Activities

ACTIVITY 1: A generation in love

First, ask students if they have ever heard of the term “beatlemania”. This is a portmanteau word. What are the two words that compose it? Finally, what do they know about this phenomenon called beatlemania?
Read the following excerpt to them and then, as a whole class, watch the suggested video. This is an excerpt from the Beatles' performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.
“Since yesterday, our theater has been overrun with journalists and hundreds of photographers from across the country,” exclaims Ed Sullivan. These veterans agree with me that the city has, to this day, never experienced the excitement created by these young people from Liverpool, who call themselves the Beatles. Tonight they are going to entertain you twice. Now as well as in the second part of the show. Ladies and gentlemen: The Beatles! "
Source: Journal of Montreal
Video : The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show
Then ask them for their impressions. How do people behave in the audience?
Then invite them to discover the impact of the Beatles' performance on the Ed Sullivan Show by reading the following article:
Beatlemania: 50 years ago
Journal de Montréal article, January 29, 2014
At the end of the activity, everyone can be invited to write a short paragraph which summarizes what beatlemania is. Students can consult this video from the Radio-Canada archives for additional information.
Beatlemanie sweeps across Montreal

ACTIVITY 2: Music of the Beatles

Before starting the activity, ask students if they can name one or more Beatles songs.
Take a few minutes to listen to a few excerpts with this video: The Beatles - medley of number ones
Then invite the students to complete the following diagram in order to better understand the different hits of The Beatles. For each song, they will have to identify the year as well as a significant event of that year.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Download the source file in Inspiration (.isf) format
Download the file in PDF format (.pdf)

Correct the diagram as a whole class and invite the students to share the events they have identified for each year.
1964: A Hard Day's Night
1965: Yesterday
1966: Yellow Submarine
1967: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
1968: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
1969: Come Together
1970: Let It Be
Finally, the students will have to write a review of a song of their choice. They will first have to analyze the musical piece and identify its constituent elements. They will also have to interpret the meaning of the musical work and ultimately make a critical and aesthetic judgment.

ACTIVITY 3: Group members and their careers

“In ten years of existence and only eight years of recording career (from 1962 to 1970), the Beatles recorded twelve original albums and composed more than 200 songs. "
Source: Wikipedia
Have the students get together in teams of three or four to summarize the career of The Beatles using presentation software like PowerPoint or Prezi, or even tebeware such as ActivInspire or Notebook (or other application of their choice. ). The presentation should include a biography of the band members and also cover three different eras of The Beatles:
1957 to 1962: formation and beginnings
1963 to 1966: Beatlemania around the world
1967 to 1970: the studio years
Finally, a page can be reserved to present the separation of the group in 1970.
Finally, invite each team to present their work to the class or distribute it online.

For further

Is there still a craze for the Beatles today? Ask students to name one of the two Beatles still alive today who makes crowds run through his shows. Discuss the lifestyle of this man, now 71 years old.

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About the Author

Véronique Lavergne
Véronique Lavergne
Véronique is a librarian at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières and a trainer in educational technology for future teachers. She also holds a teaching certificate in the social universe at the secondary level and collaborates regularly with the organization L'École branchée.

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