Forty-nine years ago today on December 17th, 1963, the British Invasion of America had its first spark. The Beatles' I Want To Hold Your Hand had its debut airplay on American radio! Two months before their TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964, a young teen named Marsha Albert sent a request to WWDC disc jockey, Carroll James, to play something by the group. Their new single I Want to Hold Your Hand/This Boy had been out on UK Parlophone since November 29th. James got a hold of the record from a BOAC flight attendant and I Want To Hold Your Hand was broadcast -nine days before its US Capital release on December 26th. After little success with their initial singles released in the US and Canada, the British Invasion had finally begun! Here are The Beatles performing their North American breakthrough hit live in Washington on February 11th, 1964. Note Paul McCartney's gratitude to the audience (at 3:10) for making I Want To Hold Your Hand a hit and "starting this thing off." If blogger isn't loading the video, please click the YouTube icon to view on YouTube.
During this period The Beatles were also gaining traction in Canada. Capital released Beatlemania! With The Beatles on November 25, 1963. By December 16th, the day before the DC broadcast, the album was at number 5. Like Meet The Beatles in the US, the album soon hit number 1 on the charts. The album art was adorned by critical reviews, like "The Beatles have created a teen-age cult more frenetic than anything the bobbysoxers dreamed of in the heyday of Frank Sinatra. Four pop idols for the price of one." Note that I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There were not released on LP in Canada until the Long Tall Sally album in May, 1964.