It was 56 years ago today (February 7th, 1964) that the Beatles landed at New York's JFK Airport launching what has become known as the “British Invasion” and forever changing the face of popular music — along with literally everything that came after — arguably marking the modern world's cultural “big bang.” The group's trip took in three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show — one being pre-taped prior to their first live appearance, and two full-scale concerts: the first at Washington, D.C.'s Washington Coliseum on February 11th — one year to the day of recording their debut UK album, Please Please Me — and a second show on February 12th at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall.
Once in New York, George Harrison fell ill with a 102-degree temperature and missed the following day's photo shoot in and around Central Park and a camera blocking session at the midtown CBS studio. He was well enough to recover for the show without incident.
Prior to the visit, on January 20th, 1964, the album Meet The Beatles was released. Although, it wasn't the first Beatles record released in America; Vee-Jay's Introducing The Beatles beat the band's Capitol Records debut by just short of six months, it was Meet The Beatles, with its hit chart-topper “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that kick started the post-Kennedy '60s, the British Invasion, and completely revolutionized how music was written, played, sung, and produced. On February 1st, 1964, Meet The Beatles entered Billboard's Top 100 LP listings at Number 92, jumping the next week to Number Three, and the following week — February 15th, 1964 — hitting Number One for the first of 11 weeks.