And so they arrived “out of nowhere”! The Fab Four seemed to sweep down on us without warning – Instant sensations! But that was not quite the story. In fact they had been working hard at securing success since 1957 when John formed the Quarrymen, one of thousands of skiffle groups in the UK. Paul came on board immediately and George joined up in about mid 1958.
Without even trying to go into the oft-told story, Capitol records finally took notice and got behind the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the US. It entered the charts on January 18th, 1964 – In short order, one week later in fact, the second issue of the Swan Records release, “She Loves You”, made its debut. The Swan execs rushed this second pressing (on a black label this time instead of white) due to the stir that was in the air and due to the Capitol release. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” raced up the charts to the number 2 position its second week, and then promptly secured the top spot for 8 consecutive weeks. “She Loves You” gave chase – tagging behind at number two and finally taking over the number 1 spot for two weeks.
The Flips Sides
In what would be a standard occurrence for the Beatles, the “B” side of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” would chart in February and reaching number 14. Amazingly, Rolling Stone magazine would later rank this “B” side song as the number 139 greatest song of all time in their “Top 500”. (“I Want to Hold Your Hand” finished number 16).
The Long Road to the US
By the time “I Want to Hold Your Hand” broke into the American market, the Beatles had already enjoyed more than a two-year run in the UK with 5 top 20 hits (three number 1’s) and a sixth hit with “My Bonnie”.
The next British act to hit our shores was Dusty from the Springfields, with Philips Records having the insight to get behind her. “I Only Want to Be With You” was a great jump-start to an impressive career, actually as the top female Invasion artist of the Invasion Era. The song enjoyed a 10 week run, peaking at number 12.
Enjoy this Blog: “A Girl Called Dusty”
Enjoy this Book: “The Beatles – by Hunter Davies – from W.W. Norton Co. Inc – available on their web site: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/ (Be sure to obtain the 2009 printing or later – Updated with a great introduction on what has transpired since the book first appeared in 1968.