In the spring of 1964, Beatlemania was at its peak. Anything with the name “The Beatles” on it, or even just a picture of the four lads from Liverpool, sold like hot cakes. Wigs, buttons, magazines, lunch boxes, records, anything. Particularly records. Just look at the Billboard Hot 100 chart for April 4, 1964, where The Beatles make chart history.
April 4, 1964
Here are The Beatles record positions for this week:
1. “Can’t Buy Me Love” on Capitol Records
2. “Twist And Shout” on Tollie Records
3. “She Loves You” on Swan Records
4. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on Capitol
5. “Please, Please Me” on Vee Jay Records
31. “I Saw Her Standing There” on Capitol
41. “From Me To You” on Vee Jay
46. “Do You Want To Know A Secret” on Vee Jay
58. “All My Loving” on Capitol of Canada Records
65. “You Can’t Do That” on Capitol
68. “Roll Over Beethoven” on Capitol of Canada
79. “Thank You Girl” on Vee Jay
Yes, you saw that right. The Beatles claimed the top five slots, and an even dozen total. But that’s not all. Look at the Billboard album chart on the same date:
1. Meet The Beatles on Capitol
2. Introducing The Beatles on Vee-Jay
Chart history was made this day. No other artist has ever held the top five places on the same chart. The closest anyone has come to this, as far as I know, is 50 Cent, with the No. 1 (“Candy Shop”), No. 4 (“How We Go”), and No. 5 (“Disco Inferno”) on March 12 and 19, 2005.
Also, on the previous week’s chart, “Can’t Buy Me Love” came in at No. 27. The jump from No. 27 to No. 1 held the record jump to No. 1 until 2002.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” was also the third No. 1 in a row for the Fab Four. It followed “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.” No other artist in history has had three consecutive No. 1 hits.
Rolling Stone magazine is really good at making lists, some based on expert opinion and others on readers’ input. One of my favorites is their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Looking at this list reveals something else amazing about April 4, 1964. Four of those top five songs are included on the list of greatest songs of all time. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” comes in at No. 16, “She Loves You” is at No. 64, “Please, Please Me” is at No 186, and “Can’t Buy Me Love” is at No. 295. On top of that, “I Saw Her Standing There” is also on the greatest songs list, at No. 36. So, of their twelve songs on the chart that day, five of them are considered among the greatest of all time. As I said before, simply amazing.
Rolling Stone has also compiled a list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Guess what! Meet The Beatles! is listed as the 53rd greatest album of all time.
In addition to all this chart activity in the US, a quick perusal of Billboard reveals just how strong Beatlemania was across the globe. On the same date as the above, The Beatles held down the following chart positions in other countries (note that Billboard lists only the top 10 or 15 in each of these countries):
1. “Roll Over Beethoven”
2. “I Saw Her Standing There”
6. “She Loves You”
15. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
1. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
7. “Please, Please Me” – as the only English-language title in the top 15
6. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
8. “All My Loving” (EP)
3. “I Saw Her Standing There”
5. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
2. “Twist And Shout”
7. “She Loves You”
9. “Roll Over Beethoven”
So, The Beatles held top ten hits across the globe, and the No. 1 slots in three countries. But they weren’t even the same songs, making this day in chart history even more remarkable.
In four short years, the day April 4 would be forever marred by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. But on this day in 1964, one of the only cares Beatles fans had was which record or piece of memorabilia to buy next. And Beatlemania reigned supreme. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!
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