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The Beatles Take Over The Billboard Chart

This week in 1964, the British invasion of America was complete when ‘Twist and Shout’ went to No. 2 on the Billboard chart and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ at No.1.

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The Beatles
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

It was this week in 1964 that the British invasion of America was conclusive. The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” had jumped from No.27 on the Hot 100 to the No.1 spot. In the four places behind it? More Beatles’ records. It was an unprecedented takeover of the Billboard chart.

The story of the Beatles and their early American record labels is a complex one. It all started when Vee-Jay released “Please Please Me” on February 7, 1963. The only reason they released it, however, was because EMI’s US label, Capitol, had passed on the opportunity. Vee-Jay, at the time, was a small family-run label, based in Gary, Indiana that specialized in African-American music.

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Vee-Jay had a number of financial issues, so when the Beatles next single, “She Loves You,” was ready for release in the United States, it was leased by EMI to a small Philadelphia label called Swan Records. (Capitol had again refused the opportunity to release it.)

Swan put out “She Loves You” on September 18, but it found very little interest with record buyers, mainly because so few radio stations played it. It was only in January when NBC’s The Jack Paar Program screened footage of The Beatles performing “She Loves You” that anyone really became aware, by which time the Beatles really were on a roll.

Capitol finally woke up to the possibilities of The Beatles and released “I Want To Hold Your Hand” the day after Christmas 1963. Three weeks later it entered the Billboard chart and on February 1, 1964, it made No.1 where it stayed for seven weeks, only to be replaced by Swan Records’ “She Loves You,” which held onto the top spot for two weeks and, it’s said, kept the company going a lot longer than many of its independent rivals.

Then, after the excitement of The Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Vee-Jay Records, through their subsidiary Tollie Records, put out “Twist and Shout,” and it reached No. 2 on April 4, 1964. (“Twist and Shout” only failed to make No.1 because the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” stopped it!)

Follow The Beatles Essential playlist for more Beatles hits.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. JENNY DELLA CORTE

    April 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    ” RISULTATO DEVASTANTE ”
    Inizio di un epoca x tutta la musica, non ci furono rivali soltanto tante imitazioni e copie mal riuscite, la copia Lennon -McCartney si rivelò un binomio di successi, suonarono tutte le forme di musica senza sbagliarne una, oggi dopo 50 anni tutto si ripete. Se solo si pensasse che hanno dedicato solo pochi anni,immaginiamo se restavano insieme come tanti tutta una vita
    cosa sarebbero riusciti a fare, non riesco ad immaginare.
    Sarò maniacale, sarò pazzo amo e amerò solo ” THE BEATLES “

  2. Lourdes Santamaría

    April 11, 2015 at 2:18 am

    The Beatles lo mejor…

  3. Charles

    April 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    fan since 1963

  4. Charlie T

    April 8, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    She loves you was not the next single after Please please me. From me to you came between them.

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