For most of 1963, American teens found reports of "Beatlemania" in Britain amusing.
Tran Le Xuan (more commonly known as "The Dragon Lady"), sister-in-law to President Diem of Vietnam and the defacto first lady, might have broken through our teenage apathy as she referred to self immolation protests of Buddhist monks as "barbecues."
On November 25th, 1963, we mourned the passing of our president along with his family. The day before, throngs of people had passed by his guarded casket in the Capitol Rotunda. The procession on Monday moved from the Capitol to the White House, to St. Matthew's Cathedral, to Arlington Cemetery.
"She Loves You" became The Beatles best selling single in the fall of 1963 in the UK, but Capitol Records in the US, which had first rights of refusal for Beatles records at the time, passed. This opened the door for the small, independent label, Swan. The record failed to make the Billboard chart in September.
On July 2nd, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights bill which outlawed discrimination in such things as hotel accomodations, education and the workplace.
When Marsha Albert (pictured here with Carrol James Jr. in 1984.) made a phone call that resulted in the early release of "I Want To Hold Your Hand."
The “’64 Links” dubbed the juniors of the Class of ’65 “confused.”  And well we might have been.  Our teenage perspective would undergo some radical change between our first days of class in September of ’63 to the waning days of summer in ’64.  To be sure, our thoughts and conversations that fall would have mostly focused on the common trappings of teen culture.  We would have been concerned about papers that were due and tests to be taken.  We might have been more concerned about dates for Homecoming, victories on the athletic field, or parts in a play.  We would not have been concerned about our nation’s future; we were not yet ready to get too concerned about our future.  Somewhere on the fringe of our consciousness lurked some foreboding questions about segregation, racism, and the threat of communism.  But those were just some nagging uncertainties. News of four schoolgirls killed by a church bomb explosion in Birmingham would be disturbing.  News of a violent overthrow of a government in a place called Vietnam would be curious.  But for the most part we still lived in an American Bandstand world.  We were excited about “Sugar Shack”; we leered and winked over “Tom Jones;” and we were a little amused about a British phenomenon called “Beatlemania.”  We were the kids of America; we lived in the promised land.  Life was good.

Then came November 22nd and the real world came crashing in on us.  One event started a fissure in our collective teenage psyche.  Suddenly we weren’t living in the land of milk and honey, but more in a land of guns and bullets.  While people might joke about a President – we certainly had joked along with Vaughn Meader a lot --  you still respected the President.  And John F. Kennedy was our President – he had proclaimed that the “torch has been passed” and we lived in “Camelot.”  The missiles in Cuba, the bombs in Birmingham, Americans being killed in Vietnam; none of it seemed that bad because President Kennedy manifested hope.  But an assassin’s bullet changed all that.  And if our America really wasn’t what it had seemed to be, then what was it?  Was there an “American dream?”  Or would there just be an American nightmare?

Then came February 9th and we discarded our despair, stomped our feet and shook our hair.  We reclaimed our teenage joie de vivre and immersed ourselves in a new sound that was loud enough to drown out those persistent doubts about our “land of the free.”  We reveled in the consternation of our parents as they couldn’t understand what all the screaming was about.  A decade after James Dean, we were the new rebels.  We would grow our hair long and wear our skirts short.  The Supreme Court would strike a blow for democracy with its “one man, one vote” ruling, and we took absolutely no notice.  The President would sign a landmark piece of legislation to help protect civil rights and we would politely applaud (seemed like a good thing). We would see film and photos of race riots in some northern cities and we would judge the adult society that had produced those ills.  And we would hear of an attack on a U.S. ship in the Gulf of Tonkin and we would shrug our shoulders in a gesture of ignorance and indifference.  We were in high school; we had our own teenage world  …. “yeah, yeah, yeah.”
On Friday morning, November 22nd, 1963, Air Force One made the short flight from Fort Worth, Texas to Dallas, landing at 11:40 CST. President Kennedy was making the trip in an effort to unify the Democratic party factions in Texas and raise some money in preparation for a re-election campaign in 1964. The First Lady usually did not like to make campaign trips, but had agreed to make this one. The Kennedys were greeted by a friendly and enthusiastic crowd at Love Field. The presidential motorcade then proceeded from the airport toward downtown Dallas and President Kennedy's next stop, the Dallas Business and Trade Mart. The route followed main street and then turned right onto Houston, then making a sharp left onto Elm Street, headed toward Dealy Plaza. At approximately 12:30 CST shots rang out and President Kennedy and Texas Governor, John Connally were both hit. The presidential limousine immediately sped away to Parkland Hospital. At 1:00 p.m. CST, President Kennedy was pronounced dead. In the ensuing half hour various news organizations reported the President's death, but the most recognized announcement came from CBS's Walter Cronkite when he read the official announcement on air: "From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: 'President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. (CST)' 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago." At 1:15 Dallas Police officer, J.D. Tippit was shot and at 1:50, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. At 2:15, President Kennedy's casket was loaded aboard Air Force One where Lyndon Johnson was waiting to leave for Washington, D.C. At 2:38, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes. At 6:30 p.m. Oswald was charged with Tippit's murder and at 1:30 a.m. he was charged with killing the President. President Johnson proclaimed November 25th a "National Day of Mourning" as preparations were made for the President's body to lie in state at the Rotunda of the Capitol. While the nation prepared to mourn the President, Dallas police prepared to transfer Lee Harvey Oswald to the county jail when he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. On Monday, November 25th, President Kennedy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. On November 29th, President Johnson appointed Chief Justice, Earl Warren, to head a commission to investigate the Kennedy assassination. Brian Epstein had become the manager of The Beatles in November of 1961 and had guided the group to phenomenal success in the UK. But British groups had never fared that well in the US. Decca records had rejected the group when they were first getting started in January of 1962 and Capitol had relinquished their rights to a smaller label, Vee-Jay. Vee-Jay had released a couple of Beatles records in 1963, but without much promotion, they had failed to chart. A small record label, Swan, purchased the rights for a single, "She Loves You" which it released in September of 1963. Dick Clark played it as part of his "Rate-A-Record" segment on September 16th and it received a mediocre 73 rating. Clark reported that the kids on the show laughed at the Beatles haircuts. Throughout the fall of 1963, U.S. media reported on the "Beatlemania" in England. Newsweek magazine said, “sound of their music is one of the most persistent noises heard over England since the air-raid sirens were dismantled.” Time called them "a wild rhythm-and-blues quartet.” American teens pretty much ignored them. But Ed Sullivan was impressed when he saw all the commotion the group generated when he was at the London airport. He contacted Epstein and they agreed on a contract to have the foursome appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February (the Beatles had already been booked for a show at Carnegie Hall by Sid Bernstein). When Walter Cronkite aired a five minute piece on the band for CBS Evening News on December, 10th, Sullivan became even more excited about his booking and began promoting the appearance. But American teens were not quite on board -- not many read Time or Newsweek, or watched the evening news. But with the booking by Sullivan, Capitol records began a high powered publicity campaign to promote its release of "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The debut was planned for January. But 15 year old Marsha Albert, after hearing the Cronkite broadcast called her local dj, Carrol James, Jr. and asked him to play the Beatles song she'd heard. James called in some favors and got a copy and promptly put it on the air. Capitol decided to release it early since it was already getting air time. . By the time The Beatles were introduced by Ed Sullivan, it was the #1 record on Billboard. The band began its first set with "All My Loving" and 73 million people (60% of television sets) were watching. Other songs performed were: "'Til There Was You," "She Loves You," "I Saw Her Standing There," and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."