Happened on this day in 1964. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan for the first time, before over half of the US population. That is, over half of Americans tuned in that night to see what the frenzy was about. Imagine a broadcast today in which over 170 million tune in to watch.
It's considered one of the most significant moments of the century, and lifts The Beatles up above most other entertainers and artists. Few had the influence over their own art and industry as did The Beatles. None had the monumental impact on the very course of Western culture that they did. But their story is so well known, the million to one chances that went their way and brought to them to that rendezvous with history almost the stuff of pop cultural myth, that it isn't hard to imagine there were bigger hands behind their rise to legend than their own.
True, their actual contributions to that place in history was minimal. They were merely the match lighting the fuse that caused the cultural explosion that would eventually bring down the 2500 year march of Western Civilization. One does not need to have a good, positive impact for it to be an impact after all. But the impact of The Beatles, often captured by their groundbreaking appearance on Sullivan, is impossible to deny.
It's not uncommon, for that reason, to see their appearance on Sullivan's show placed alongside other monumental events of the century: The Moon Landing, The March on Washington, the D-Day landings at Normandy, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, and so on. But it also goes to show you, with just a brief look at others on that list, that not all things worthy of remembrance are for the ultimate good. You might say, when taken as a whole, the ultimate good events are dwarfed by those with more negative consequences. Even from such seemingly innocuous events like four musicians playing on a variety show.