WNHU Celebrates Music History with Beatlemania

Ashley Winward

February 9, 1964 marked a day in history nobody could have ever anticipated; a night that would leave its imprint on music for years and years to come. It was that night, at 8 p.m., The Beatles would make their first of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and bring “Beatlemania” across the pond here to the U.S.

Photo by Erica Naugle
Photo by Erica Naugle

WNHU came together the night before this anniversary to commemorate the occasion with both history and entertainment, much to the enjoyment of the nearly packed house in Dodd’s Theater.

The evening began with a history lesson, taught by UNH professor Wes Davis.

Davis, who previously taught a course solely on the Beatles, was able to dictate the history of John, Paul, George and Ringo from inception sprinkling in known and little known facts alike. The crowd enjoyed testing their knowledge, making it more of a trivia game than a lecture. After learning more about The Beatles, the very clips of the first performances on the Ed Sullivan show were shown. Of the three consecutive Sunday shows they performed, it was actually the third week’s performance which was taped first rather than the first performance, which was shown.

The Fab Four played hits such as “All My Loving,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “She Loves You.” Davis pointed out interesting facts about the performance beforehand such as Ringo’s terrible head cold and the fact John Lennon wasn’t planning on letting the public know about his relationship to wife Cynthia when they decided to put the famous “Sorry girls, he’s married!” under his introduction, because he believed girls wouldn’t like it.

The crowd really enjoyed watching the historical footage, some even reminiscing the first time they had seen it live. “My wife and I had just recently gotten married,” a man in the audience recalled, “I was in the service, but when I was home we’d watch the Ed Sullivan show together. We were watching together that very night.” He, along with 73 million others tuned in, an astounding 60 percent of American TVs tuned in at the time.

With the crowd warmed up, it was time to bring out the band. Cover band “Beatlemania Again” came out as spitting images of the boys from Liverpool. The performance came in three parts; “Meet The Beatles,” signifying their beginnings, up through their film “A Hard Day’s Night.”

After a brief intermission, they went straight into the “Sgt. Pepper” era before changing once more into their “Get Back” era. The evening covered all the monumental hits in the extensive Beatles song book, from “Please, Please Me” to “Help!” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Yesterday,” “Back In The USSR,” and more.

The crowd, who had been singing from the second the video started playing earlier, kept the energy high in the room matching the band’s enthusiasm. The night was full of smiles, sing alongs, and clapping to the beat.