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SID BERNSTEIN


The Carnegie Hall Concert was promoted by Sid Bernstein, and ex-ballroom manager who was an agent for the General Artists Corporation. In mid-1963, the Beatles caught his eye. He decided to call Brian Epstein, and he asked Brian if he'd like the Beatles to perform in Carnegie Hall on February 12th. Brian didn't know yet since he had set up two Ed Sullivan shows on the 9th and the 15th.

Sid Bernstein promoted all the Beatles' New York shows except one.

Brian Epstein


Brian had been trying to get the Beatles in America from the summer of 1963. He didn't know if the boys were ready because at first they had failed in the States. In the first 6 months of 1963, they had put four records out in the United States and they got nowhere. Brian went New York to meet with Billy J. Kramer in November of 1963. He wanted to know why the biggest thing in British pop hadn't happened in America.

Brian arranged for Capitol Records to record the Beatles. Brian got an appointment with Ed Sullivan, whose TV show had been the biggest thing in America. Ed Sullivan said he'd book them for two of his shows. The Beatles were nervous about going to America. George had been there on a short vacation in 1963. John was worried because no British singers or bands had gotten through in America before.

In January of 1964, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" made the U.S. charts at 83. Before America, Brian had arranged the Beatles' second continental trip. This was three weeks in France, starting January the 15th. They played at the Olympia in Paris. The first concert there wasn't a success because they had poor reception. Brian Sommerville, the Beatles' new publicity man, was responsible for handling the press on the tour.

In America, on the second week, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" reached 42. Norman Weiss came to see Brian and the Carnegie Hall deal was official. He also agreed to become the Beatles' agents in America. The Beatles were in their hotel room in Paris when they heard that "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" became number one in America. American reporters and interviewers started arriving in crowds, and "She Loves You", which had made no success in America started moving up on the charts after "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Life, the magazine, came out with a six page article on the Beatles. Brian persuaded Capitol Records to spend fifty thousand dollars on an anti-publicity program. The Ed Sullivan show had difficulty trying to keep up with the demands of tickets. Brian was offered another New York date, at Madison Square Garden, but it was too late to fit it in. The Beatles left London on February 7, 1964, for New York. The WMCA, a radio station in NY announced when the Beatles had left. The Beatles were nervous as they traveled on the plane.

Cynthia had joined John on the plane, the first and only tour she joined them. George was sick with the flu. Going to the States was a big step for them. Neil, their road manager, and Mal, who set up their equipment, were also on the plane. They were forging the Beatles signatures on photographs to give to the fans. Brian was also busy. They arrived at the Kennedy Airport at 1:35 p.m. More than 10,000 screaming teenagers were there.

The Beatles In New York


It was chaos at the Plaza Hotel. Screaming teenagers were everywhere. George was sick in bed and it looked as though he might miss the Ed Sullivan Show. Neil took his place at the rehearsal, but George had managed to make it to the show. The show had an audience of 73 million people. Elvis Presley sent the Beatles a telegram congratulating them. Every newspaper had coverage on the show. There was another big press conference. What happened in America was like what happened in Britain but it was much bigger.

The Beatles took their first and last Embassy invitation. They had turned dinner down with Lady Dixon, the wife of the Ambassador in Paris. Everyone wanted the Beatles' autographs. The group started back to New York for their Carnegie Hall show. More than 6,000 people were in the audience for each of the two concerts. Everyone was screaming. After New York, the Beatles went to Miami. It was almost February 25th, George's twenty-first birthday.