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Yeah, yeah, yeah: Beatles ruled U.S. music charts 50 years ago this week

In the issues of the two rival music industry magazines 50 years ago this opening week of April in 1964, the Beatlemania surge really exploded as the Fab Four held the top five spots (and on three different labels) in the U.S. two rival music chart magazines, Billboard and Cashbox. on Billboard's Hot 100 and Cashbox's Top 100 Singles.

An ad from 1963.
Capitol Photo Archives
The Beatles in Washington D.C. February 1964.
© Apple Corps Ltd.

In Billboard's April 5, 1964, Hot 100 (you can see the chart at this link), the top five songs were “Can't Buy Me Love” (on Capitol Records) “Twist and Shout” (on Tollie) “She Loves You” (on Swan) “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (on Capitol) and Please Please Me” (on Vee Jay). “Can't Buy Me Love,” in its second week on the chart, shot up an astonishing 27 places to hit the top spot in the chart and replace the previous #1, “She Loves You.”

The April 4, 1964 Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart featured the same five songs but in slightly different order: “Twist and Shout,” “Can't Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me.” Like Billboard, “Twist and Shout” also had made a big jump, from #21 to #2. In both magazines, the other Beatles songs in the top 5 had been hovering around the top 10 the previous week.

The five songs weren't the only Beatles songs on the Billboard chart that week. Each chart had a total of a dozen songs by the Fab Four. Additionally in Billboard, “I Saw Her Standing There” was at #31, “From Me to You” at #41, “Do You Want to Know a Secret at #46, “All My Loving” (released by Capitol of Canada) at #73, “You Can't Do That” at #65, “Roll Over Beethoven” (also on Capitol of Canada) at #68 and “Thank You Girl” (on Vee Jay) at #79. On Cashbox, there was “Do You Want to Know a Secret” at #28, “Roll Over Beethoven” at #33, “From Me To You” at #41, “All My Loving” at #61, “Love Me Do” (Capitol of Canada) at #77, “Thank You Girl” at #86 and “You Can't Do That” at #97.

There were also two Beatles tribute songs on the charts that week. “We Love You Beatles” by the Carefrees, which we recall getting a lot of airplay on AM radio in 1964, was at #42 on Billboard and #37 on Cashbox, while the Four Preps' humorous “A Letter to the Beatles” was at #58 on Billboard and #91 on Cashbox.

Six of the Top 10 singles on Billboard were British. “Glad All Over” by the Dave Clark Five was at #10. “Needles and Pins” by the Searchers, another great song from that year, was at #15. Also on the chart this week were the Swinging Blue Jeans and Dusty Springfield. A Billboard story that week noted that 19 British discs were on the charts. And a full-page Billboard ad in this same issue promoted another up-and-coming disc, Chad & Jeremy's “Yesterday's Gone,” calling it “as English as a cup of tea.”

But American acts were also very much in evidence with Terry Stafford, Louis Armstrong, Betty Everett, and Bobby Vinton rounding out the Billboard Top 10. Also on the chart that week were Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Diane Renay, Johnny Cash, Little Stevie Wonder and Barbara Streisand, to name a few.

But this Beatles domination did not extend to the Billboard Top 100 album chart, where the Fabs held only the top two spots with “Meet the Beatles” and “Introducing the Beatles.” (The Beatles' "U.S. Albums" were compiled in a box set this year that replicated the original art work, but mostly used the mixes from the 2009 remasters.) The rest of the Top 10 was filled out by Al Hirt, Barbara Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary (two spots), Bobby Vinton, Nancy Wilson and Henry Mancini.

A Billboard story in the April 5 issue headlined "Chart Crawls With Beatles" reported that disc jockeys were tired of playing their records and writers were tired of writing about them. But it also noted, "Everyone's tired of the Beatles – except the listening and buying public."

In fact, as history shows, Beatlemania had really just begun.


Don't miss our special roundup of stories: Beatles 101: Read all about it: Our fab stories on the Beatles' 50th anniversary and Beatles 101: Paul McCartney Out There! tour news complete coverage.

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