It was fifty-one years ago today, give or take a few days. In the week of 4 April 1964, The Beatles were solidly encamped at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100. They occupied slots #1 – #5 with a further seven songs scattered lower down the chart. Can’t Buy Me Love was their third consecutive US No. 1, a feat which remains unique in the history of the chart. The following week, two more Beatles singles entered the list.
On April 5th Billboard ran a story “Chart crawls with Beatles”. Written by Jack Maher and Tom Noonan (who had launched the Hot 100 six years earlier) its opening words were “Just about everyone. is tired of the Beatles.”
“Disk jockeys are tired of playing the hit group. The writers of trade and consumer publication articles are tired of writing about them and the manufacturers of product other than the Beatles are tired of hearing about them. Everyone’s tired of the Beatles – except the listening and buying public.”
I remember that time very well. Like many another Beatle-inspired teenager I’d been given a guitar for my fourteenth birthday and was learning to play it. It was an old acoustic finished in shiny red lacquer. Its metal strings cut my fingertips to pieces, but the pain was nothing compared to the pleasure of being able, after laborious practice, to shape chords, change from one to another without long pauses in between and hold each in turn down long enough to strum a semblance of a Beatles song.
Here are the songs that so delighted us half a century ago. Click the labels to hear them.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.