The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan Show for the fourth and final time on August 14, 1965. Over 70 million people tuned in to watch.
On Facebook my friend Gareth Branwyn wrote:
Half a century ago! And I'm old enough that I actually saw these performances live on TV. I was a wee one, but I remember seeing my sister and my older cousin (who I had a crush on) going apeshit over the Ed Sullivan appearances so I got swept up in it, too. My sister and I saved up our allowance money to buy Meet the Beatles. Thanks to my sister being 4 years older, I was gripped by this whole rock n' roll shenanigans from Day 1 and it's yet to let go of me.
From the Beatles Bible:
They were driven to CBS-TV's Studio 50 in the morning of 14 August 1965, in a convoy of limousines. Rehearsals took place from 11am-2pm, as The Beatles were unhappy with the initial sound balance and continued work until they were satisfied. A dress rehearsal took place from 2.30pm in front of a studio audience of 700, and the show itself was recorded from 8.30pm.
The Beatles performed six songs: I Feel Fine, I'm Down, Act Naturally, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday and Help!.
In 2009 Paul McCartney appeared on the The Late Show with David Letterman and described how he felt about the performance:
The audience was out there, and we were kind of very new to America – loving it, but a little bit scared, and I had to do Yesterday, my song, on my own, and I'd never done this, I'd always had the band with me, but suddenly they said, 'You're doing Yesterday,' so I said, 'OK'. So I was standing there – 'come on, get it together, it's OK' – and the floor manager, the guy on the curtain, came up to me and said, 'You nervous?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'You should be, there's 73 million people watching.