Ed Sullivan with The Beatles
31/10/2020 By liddypool 0

31st October – Life-Changing events for Paul McCartney and Ed Sullivan

Ed Sullivan with The Beatles
John Lennon Paul McCartney George Harrison and Ringo Starr with American TV show host Ed Sullivan on the 8th February 1964

On 31st October 1963, Ed Sullivan was passing through London’s Heathrow Airport when he witnessed “Beatlemania” for the first time. By chance, The Beatles were just returning from their overseas tour in Sweden. There were hundreds of fans gathered in the rain, as well as over 50 journalists and TV crew covering the event.

Who Are The Beatles?

Sullivan asked the journalists; “Who is this all for?” The reply was, “The Beatles”. Ed Sullivan then asked the important question: “Who are The Beatles?” Ed Sullivan began investigating who The Beatles were and, as he recalled later; “I made up my mind that this was the same sort of mass hit hysteria that had characterized the Elvis Presley days.”

This planted the seed in Sullivan’s mind that he needed to have this sensational British group on his show. As we know, that first Ed Sullivan Show appearance in front of 73 million people changed pop music forever, especially for the Beatles.

Mary McCartney

Paul and Mike McCartney
Paul and Mike McCartney

The 31st October 1956 was a tragic one for Paul and Mike McCartney, as this was the day they lost their mother, Mary. Paul was only 14 years old. Although he later commemorated his mother in song, things changed for Paul from this day. His brother Mike always said that the way for Paul to cope with losing their mother was music. Just two weeks after Mary died, Paul went to the Liverpool Empire and saw Lonnie Donegan in concert. Following that concert, inspired by Donegan, he asked his father Jim if he could swap his trumpet for a guitar. Jim agreed.

The first song Paul wrote was called “I Lost My Little Girl”: was this Paul writing about the loss of his mother by creating a fictional broken relationship with a girl?

Ian James

Paul needed someone to teach him to play the guitar which he did. He went to his school friend Ian James, who helped Paul to learn the guitar. Ian, from the Dingle, spent hours teaching Paul to play – Paul was a natural.

Ian James – photo taken by Paul McCartney

I interviewed Ian for my book, “The Fab One Hundred and Four: The Evolution of The Beatles”, and he told how he helped Paul to prepare for meeting John at St. Peter’s Church on 6th July 1957, as well as Ian’s memories of being there at Woolton that momentous day.

Selling The Guitar

Ian James with the guitar Paul learned to play on

Ian shared his memories of still being friends with Paul, going to Woolton, and what happened when he decided to sell his guitar. It was valued at approximately £30,000.

However, when he was advised to get a letter from Paul McCartney, that valuation was dismissed.

It Sold for How Much?

Discover what happened when Ian visited Paul McCartney in London before the auction and how much the guitar sold for – an incredible amount of money!!!

Find out Ian’s story and every musician and influencer in the evolution of The Beatles – 104 people!


The Fab one hundred and Four
The Fab one hundred and Four