The Beatles Initial Storming of the American Record Charts Edit
In 1963, as The Beatles were becoming a sensation first in Britain then the rest of Europe, major American record companies thought this music would never sell in the United States. Therefore, Brian Epstein had no choice but to license Beatles recordings to small Stateside independent record labels like Vee-Jay, a powerhouse rhythm and blues label from Chicago whose bread and butter was The Four Seasons, and Swan, which was partially owned by Dick Clark and had hits by Freddie Cannon.
Three singles were released in 1963, two on Vee-Jay, Their American debut single: Please Please Me / Ask Me Why on February 25, 1963 & From me To You / Thank You Girl on May 27, 1963 and one on Swan, She Loves You / I'll Get You on September 16, 1963. Plus an album on Vee-Jay, ...Introducing The Beatles on July 22, 1963. Before Capitol Records finally took their option as EMI’s American affiliate to sign the Beatles. Up to this point only one of the singles reached the Billboard chart: From Me to You got as high as #116. When the single I Want to Hold Your Hand / I Saw Her Standing There was released on Capitol Records on December 26, 1963 and stormed up the American record sales charts, there was over a year’s backlog of old records as well as other marginal recordings waiting to be issued or reissued. Both Vee-Jay & Swan Records re-released their Beatles' singles. as well, Companies like Atco & Tollie started releasing Beatles singles as well. By the end of March 1964 there were already 9 Beatles singles released in the US in 1964 alone. there were still 9 months to go yet... From April 1-December 31, 1964 another 9 singles were released. For a 1964 year's total of 18 Beatles singles in America! THAT WAS why the following chart records were even possible!!!!!!
I Want to Hold Your Hand entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #45 on January 18, 1964. The next week, January 25, it jumped up to #3. That same week, She Loves You on Swan Records, originally released in September, 1963, entered at #69. On February 1, I Want to Hold Your Hand hit #1, She Loves You” leaped to #21, and Please Please Me on Vee-Jay followed at #69. By February 15, 1964, the Beatles’ fourth hit My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan, released on MGM Records, debuted on the Hot 100 at #67 – an almost three year old track with lead vocals by a long forgotten singer! Later in the year, Atco Records would score a top 20 hit with Ain’t She Sweet, the only track from that 1961 session that featured any of the Beatles singing lead.
Soon after Can't Buy Me Love was released in March 1964, the top five single in the Billboard singles chart were Beatles records. On April 4, 1964, the chart was as follows:
Beatles records also occupied positions
- 31 I Saw Her Standing There
- 41 From Me to You
- 46 Do You Want to Know a Secret
- 58 All My Loving
- 65 You Can't Do That
- 68 Roll Over Beethoven and
- 79.Thank You Girl
The next week (April 11, 1964)the same 12 songs were still on the chart. plus both Love Me Do and There's A Place debuted. giving them a record of 14 songs on the hot 100 chart that week. those songs were...
- 1 Can't Buy Me Love
- 2 Twist And Shout
- 4 She Loves You
- 7 I Want To Hold Your Hand
- 9 Please Please Me
- 14 Do You Want To Know A Secret
- 38 I Saw Her Standing There
- 48 You Can't Do That
- 50 All My Loving
- 52 From Me To You
- 61 Thank You Girl
- 74 There's a Place
- 78 Roll Over Beethoven &
- 81 Love Me Do
Also at the same time, on the Billboard album chart, Capitol’s Meet The Beatles! became the first Beatles hit LP, entering the chart at #92 on February 1. The next week, after that album jumped to #3, a reshuffled version of Vee-Jay’s Introducing... The Beatles LP entered the chart at #59. The same week The Beatles held all five of the top five singles, Meet The Beatles! would top the album chart, with Introducing... The Beatles behind it at #2.
Within a few months, the dust settled and Capitol held exclusive rights to current Beatles recordings. While Capitol’s handling of its Beatles catalog can rightfully be considered exploitative, at least the continuous repackages of the same material by Vee-Jay Records would end in 1965. All told, in 1964, the Beatles made 30 entries into the Billboard Hot 100.
song title - chart debut date - Peak Position
- I Want To Hold Your Hand - January 18 - #1 From February 1-March 14
- She Loves You - January 25 - #1 on March 21 & 28
- Please Please Me - February 1 - #3 on March 14
- I Saw Her Standing There - February 8 - #14 on March 21
- My Bonnie - February 15 - #26 on March 14
- From Me To You - March 7 - #41 on April 4
- Twist And Shout - March 14 - #2 on April 4
- Roll Over Beethoven - March 21 - #68 on April 4
- Can't Buy Me Love - March 28 - #1 from April 4-May 2
- All My Loving - March 28 - #45 on April 25
- Do You Want To Know A Secret - March 28 - #2 on May 9
- You Can't Do That - April 4 - ##48 on April 11
- Thank You Girl - April 4 - #35 on May 9
- There's A Place - April 11 - #74 on April 11
- Love Me Do - April 11 - #1 on May 30
- Why (Tony Sheridan & The Beatles) - April 18 - #88 on April 18
- P.S. I Love You - May 9 - #10- on June 6
- Four By The Beatles (EP) - June 13 - #92 on June 27
- Sie Liebt Dich (German "She Loves You") - June 27 - #97 on June 27
- A Hard Day's Night - July 18 - #1 on August 1 & 8
- Ain't She Sweet - July 18 - #19 on August 22
- I Should Have Known Better - July 25 - #53 On August 15
- And I Love Her - July 25 - #12 on September 5
- I'll Cry Instead - August 1 - ##25 on August 29
- If I Fell - August 1 - #53 on September 5
- I'm Happy Just To Dance With You - August 1 - #95 on August 1
- Matchbox - September 5 - #17 on October 17
- Slow Down - September 5 - #25 on October 10
- I Feel Fine - December 5 - #1 on December 26
- She's A Woman - December 5 - #4 on December 26
of the 30 "hits" of 1964...19 of them reached the top 40, 11 the top ten, and six number one hits.
On the album charts in 1964, Twelve Beatles LPs hit the US charts (four of which were essentially similar), with seven top ten albums and four chart toppers. These numbers would be meaningless were it not for the quality of the music etched onto these platters.
Schaffner, Nicholas The British Invasion
Stannard, Neville The Long and Winding Road: A History of The Beatles on Record