A new top 100 list from VH1 and Entertainment Weekly magazine says that was it -- the day Beatlemania hit the states and stayed.
The Beatles U.S. debut even topped the 1968 comeback of the King. An estimated 73 million people were watching that night in '64 -- about three times the audience of an episode of this summer's TV blockbuster ``Survivor.'' John Lennon was so nervous he taped song lyrics to the back of his guitar. As Ringo Starr explained, the band didn't realize until it arrived in America how important Sullivan's Sunday night showcase was. For a generation of rock 'n' rollers, it was the moment they knew they wanted to be stars.
Elvis Presley's comeback special four years later, his return to radio after years of B movies, was No. 2, and deemed more important than the King's 1956 debut. The 1968 return at least showed those swiveling hips; in 1956, the camera only shot him from the waist up. VH1 plans to air selections from the list in a series of five one-hour specials on VH1 starting July 31.
The Top 10
1. The Beatles' debut on ``The Ed Sullivan Show,'' 1964
2. Elvis Presley's comeback special on NBC, 1968.
3. MTV launches with first video, ``Video Killed the Radio Star'' by the Buggles, 1981.
4. ``Saturday Night Live'' premieres, showcasing musical acts each week, 1975.
5. ``Motown 25'' special featuring Michael Jackson's first moonwalk, 1983.
6. Dick Clark's ``American Bandstand'' series premieres, 1957.
7. Live Aid aired by ABC and MTV, 1985.
8. Madonna rolls around the stage in a wedding gown singing ``Like a Virgin'' on the MTV Video Awards, 1984.
9. Elvis Presley performs on ``The Ed Sullivan Show,'' shown only from the waist up, 1956.
10. The Who's use of too much explosives ending their performance on the ``Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour'' in 1967.
Source: VH 1 / Updated: Jul 25, 2000