This February 7 marks 50 years since The Beatles first came to America. A thousand tributes will tell you what happened. But how and why did it happen the way it did? What was America really like then, culturally and socially, that allowed the group to strike such a deep nerve? And what was it about The Beatles themselves—their backgrounds, their style, and of course their music—that made them so unlike anything Americans had seen before?
In his new e-book Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Beatles and America, Then and Now, Michael Tomasky explains the group’s impact in the context of the times in a richly detailed, often surprising, I-never-knew-that! account of why they became the phenomenon they did. Kurt Andersen says of Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: “This book was a revelation. No one has more lucidly and entertainingly distilled the whys and hows and look and feel of the moment the Sixties began.”
The network will air a two-hour program about the Fab Four, “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles,” that will feature contemporary artists performing Beatles tunes in addition to archival footage.
The special will air Feb. 9, the 50th anniversary of the band’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for the network. Footage and other archival material from the night of the group’s “Sullivan” performance will be included, along with performers who’ll emphasize the importance of the group’s performance on the show.