Paul McCartney Reflects on First Beatles Hit, the Band’s Historic ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ Performance in New Podcast Episode

Coinciding with the 60th anniversary of The Beatles’ historic first trip to the U.S. this week, the second season of the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics kicked off with an episode looking at the Fab Four’s first big hit, “Love Me Do.”

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Part of the episode features Paul McCartney discussing the artists who influenced him and John Lennon, including The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. As he talks about these artists, he draws comparisons with the many other people who said they were inspired by The Beatles when they saw the group’s famous performance on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964.

[RELATED: Paul McCartney’s The Lyrics Book Co-Author Paul Muldoon Discusses Podcast Series, Shares His Favorite Macca Tune]

“[There are a] trillion people who say that, ‘I knew that’s what I wanted to be when I saw you four-headed monster on the telly … I’ve got to be part of this,’” McCartney explained. “Our current manager of Beatles’ Apple Records says that, Bruce Springsteen says that, David Letterman says that. They all formed on that night … this future for themselves. And there we were in Liverpool [a few years earlier] forming this future, in the same kind of deal.”

The Beatles’ landmark first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show took place on February 9, 1964.

Released in the U.K. in October 1962, “Love Me Do” was the first Beatles song to break into the Top 20 in their home country. It later reached No. 1 in the U.S. in May of 1964.

McCartney on “Love Me Do”

McCartney recalled that he and Lennon co-wrote “Love Me Do” song at one of their many writing sessions at his home in the Liverpool, noting that there didn’t seem to be anything particularly spectacular about the tune.

“John [had] come up with this little harmonica riff,” McCartney remembered. “It’s so simple. I mean you look at it now [and] there’s nothing to it. It’s a will-o’-the-wisp little song.”

Asked what he thought made the song so potent and powerful to music fans at the time, McCartney offered, “I think our image and our energy as the four Beatles was what was potent, and it had a very fresh sound. That’s the sort of thing that people noticed.”

The rock legend added, “And we had a very fresh image. Nobody looked like us. And we’d been working at it a long time.”

About the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics Podcast Series

In addition to the “Love Me Do” episode of McCartney: A Life in Lyrics, a second episode of the podcast series focusing on the McCartney and Wings hit “Band on the Run” also debuted the week.

As previously reported, the podcasts incorporate segments of audio interviews Irish poet Paul Muldoon conducted with McCartney for the 2021 book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present.

The McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast is available at,, and on various popular streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify. The series is co-produced by iHeartPodcasts and the Pushkin audio-production company.

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