BARRY LEVINE: Beatles smash records in 1964

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The Beatles had hits No. 1 through No. 5 on the Billboard chart in April 1964, perhaps their crowning achievement during an unprecedented career.(Special photo)

Of all the accomplishments The Beatles had during their unparalleled run from February 1964 until Paul McCartney revealed he was leaving the group in April 1970, perhaps the most amazing occurred in April 1964.

During that month, The Beatles had the No. 1 hit with “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

They had the No. 2 hit with “Twist and Shout,” a cover of the Isley Brothers’ 1962 Top 20 song.

The “Fab Four” has the No. 3 tune with “She Loves You.” It had previously been a No. 1 hit.

They had the No. 4 hit with “I Want to hold Your Hand.” It also had previously risen to No. 1.

And they had the No. 5 hit with “Please Please Me.”

No other group or solo act either before or since has had all five songs at the same time in the Top 5.

Elvis Presley had three songs in the Top 5 in the summer of 1956 with the two-sided hit “Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel” at No. 1 and “I Want you, I Need You, I Love You” at No. 5.

He duplicated the feat in November of that year when “Love Me Tender” climbed to No. 1 while “Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel” was No. 2.

Incredibly, no other solo performer or group had two hits among the Top 5 songs at the same time from the beginning of the modern rock ‘n’ roll era in 1955 until the ascension of The Beatles in 1964.

Part of the reason The Beatles corralled all of the Top 5 slots was because some of the records were released on different labels. ”Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Want to hold Your Hand” were released on Capital Records, the group’s primary label. “Twist and Shout” was released on Tollie Records, “She Loves You” on Swan Records and “Please Please Me on Vee-Jay Records.

Most of the major artists had their songs released by one label at one time.

As an example, when Presley first charted with “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956 until his last chart single, “Guitar Man” in 1981, all of his hits were released by RCA Victor.

Other performers such as the Everly Brothers switched labels during their careers. They started with “Bye Bye Love” on the Cadence label in 1957 and remained there with “Let It Be Me” in 1960. They then changed to Warner Records later that year and had a No. 1 hit with “Cathy’s Clown.” They remained with Warner for the remainder of their career.

Beatles place 14 in Top 100

Not only did The Beatles dominate the Top 5, they also dominated the Top 100, placing a record 14 songs in the Top 100 on April 11, 1964.

The Beatles’ hits in the Top 100 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” and 38) “I Saw Her Standing There.”

Also, 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” and 81) “Love Me Do.”

Presley held the previous mark of nine songs in the Top 100 on Dec. 19, 1956.

Quite a leap

“Can’t Buy Me Love” established two records for The Beatles.

It became the only song in Top 100 history to skyrocket to No. 1 from outside the Top 20. “Can’t Buy Me Love” was No. 27 the week before it reached No. 1.

Only six other songs reached No. 1 from outside the Top 10. The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer” jumped from No. 15 to No. 1 in 1966. Leaping from No. 12 to No. 1 were the Champs’ “Tequila” in 1958, Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” in 1971 and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” in 1992. “Sherry” by the Four Seasons in 1962 and “Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers in 1963 both climbed from No. 11 to No. 1.

The “Fab Four” also set another mark when “Can’t Buy Me Love” reached No. 1. It was the group’s third straight No. 1 hit following “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You.”

No other solo performer or group had three consecutive No. 1 hits. Elvis had held the mark of two consecutive No. 1 hits in the second half of 1956 with “Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender.”

The Beatles’ streak of No. 1 hits was snapped in May 1964 when Jazz legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong grabbed the top spot with “Hello Dolly.”

Barry Levine writes entertainment stories for The Albany Herald. He can be reached at dot0001@ yahoo.com.