It was 40 years ago today!

Beatlemania Frenzy Celebrates 40 Years
LONDON – Just after 1 p.m. on Feb. 7, 1964, a Pan Am flight from London landed at New York’s Idlewild airport. It was carrying a revolution, in the shape of four shaggy-haired musicians from Liverpool.
Over the next two weeks The Beatles stormed America, appearing three times on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and playing concerts in front of thousands of fervid fans. By the time they flew home, the Fab Four were the most famous band in the world, and the nature of celebrity had changed forever.
“I’d never heard of them,” said filmmaker Albert Maysles, who recorded the trip with his brother David for a newly reissued documentary. “Fortunately, my brother knew who they were.
“The first I heard of it was the call from (Britain’s) Granada Television saying they’ll be here in two hours,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday. “We rushed out to the airport and spent the next four, five, six days with The Beatles.”
The Maysles brothers’ film of the visit, shot originally for British TV, is being rereleased on DVD to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the birth of Beatlemania in the United States.
“The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit” was filmed with handheld camera in the brothers’ influential “direct cinema” style, giving ó even four decades on ó a remarkably fresh and intimate portrait of the band on the cusp of its biggest fame.
Opening with the chaotic scenes of enraptured fans and puzzled reporters that met The Beatles at the airport, the film captures the band in hotel rooms and on trains as well as onstage ó listening to their songs being played on transistor radio; watching American TV and going to a nightclub; looking alternately delighted and terrified at their near-hysterical reception.
The Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, was watched by more than 70 million people ó 40 percent of the U.S. population. A second appearance a week later drew similar figures.
The Maysles brothers’ footage of the cheeky, unguarded Beatles helped cement their “lovable moptop” reputation, and influenced Richard Lester’s frenetic Beatles feature “A Hard Day’s Night,” released later the same year.
“We were totally flexible, just the two of us,” said Albert Maysles, who at 71 continues to make films. David Maysles died in 1987.
“Because it was shot that way, there was no need for a narrator to tell you what was going on. You identified with The Beatles. You didn’t need a narrator to explain it to you.
“A woman who’d seen the film recently said to me, ‘I felt like the camera was one of The Beatles.'”
The film’s style recalls the documentarists’ best-known films, which include “Gimme Shelter,” about the Rolling Stones’ violence-marred Altamont concert in 1969, and “Grey Gardens,” a haunting film about a reclusive mother and daughter, relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
“It’s always been my desire to get closer, to get really into the heart and soul of the people and what’s going on,” Maysles said.
With The Beatles, he thinks he succeeded, thanks in large part to the band members, whom he remembers as “so unpretentious.
“There was no affectation … Thousands of people were showing up to see them. Anyone else would be so inflated, their egos. But as long as I knew The Beatles they remained the same ó regular guys, with all the best instincts.”
“The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit” is out on Apple/Capitol in the United States and is released in Britain and Europe on Feb. 9.