Final Episode Of The Ed Sullivan Show Aired On This Day In 1971

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Ed Sullivan (Getty Images)

Ed Sullivan (Getty Images)

The Ed Sullivan Show was a variety show that aired on CBS for over 20 years. Virtually every type of entertainment appeared on the show, including actors, comedians, and even circus acts. It aired for the last time on June 6, 1971.

But some of the most memorable performances came from the many musical acts that appeared on his stages from 1948 until 1971.

Originally known as Toast of the Town until the title was officially changed in 1955, The Ed Sullivan Show was host to a who’s who of musical greats during it’s run on CBS.

The most memorable might be those three days in February of 1964, when the American public was officially introduced to [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles[/lastfm]. It would also mark the official start to what became known as the “British Invasion.”

The broadcast was viewed by 73 million people, a record at the time for US television.

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles[/lastfm]

Ed Sullivan has originally vowed that [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elvis Presley[/lastfm] would never perform on the show. Sullivan changed his mind when his Sunday-night rival, Steve Allen, had Presley on his show and beat him in the ratings.

It is believed that Sullivan censored Presley by shooting him from the waist up to prevent his gyrations from being seen on television, but that isn’t the case. During Presley’s first and second shows his entire body is seen.

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Elvis Presley[/lastfm]

The final episode or The Ed Sullivan Show aired on June 6th, 1971, but there was no series finale because CBS never gave a notification of the shows cancellation. Ed Sullivan would produce one-off specials for CBS until his death in 1974.

Here’s a list of the many performers who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show:

  • 4 Seasons
  • Barbra Streisand
  • B.B. King
  • Beverly Sills
  • Bill Haley & His Comets
  • Bo Diddley
  • Buddy Holly
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Dave Clark Five
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Elvis Presley
  • Four Tops
  • Gerry and The Pacemakers
  • Gladys Knight And The Pips
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • Ike and Tina Turner
  • Jackson 5
  • James Brown
  • Janis Joplin
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Johnny Cash
  • Judy Garland
  • Julie Andrews
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Mamas & Papas
  • Maria Callas
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Nat King Cole
  • Neil Diamond
  • Patti Page
  • Paul Anka
  • Pearl Bailey
  • Petula Clark
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Ray Charles
  • Richard Pryor
  • Ricky Nelson
  • Righteous Brothers
  • Rodney Dangerfield
  • Rosemary Clooney
  • Roy Orbison
  • Sam Cooke
  • Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Santana
  • Senor Wences
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
  • Sonny and Cher
  • Stevie Wonder
  • The 5th Dimension
  • The Animals
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Beatles
  • The Byrds
  • The Carpenters
  • The Doors
  • The Everly Brothers
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • The Muppets
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Supremes
  • The Temptations
  • Tom Jones
  • Tony Bennett
And note that our webcast concert series Live on Letterman takes place at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. Rock band the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Foo Fighters[/lastfm] even recently did an amazing tribute during their performance to the famous stage and its most famous inhabitants, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]the Beatles[/lastfm].
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