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Norman Warwick remembers when


Matt Friedlander, in an excellent piece recently published in American Songwriter, looked back fifty years to a phenomenal day in the history of pop music. So, I was eleven and a half years old at the time and had in my record collection all five of the singles that were at the top of the American charts sixty years ago, and they were all by The Beatles. (I´m not sure it would have created a top ten at the time, being only comprised of only seven singles and a With The Beatles album my favourite aunt had bought me for a recent Christmas present). Perhaps that is why I could not recognise the magnitude of that achievement Mr. Friedlander described. Today it impresses the hell out of me, but back then, thanks to a cousin in the Merchant navy, I was discovering all sorts of American(a) music and The Beatles were already losing my allegiance.

To deliver five singles .to those heights, however, took a perfect storm. It took great songs, excellent musicianship, massive press coverage, record label executives, eager to please their listeners and four reasonably attractive young men who, at that stage of their careers were willing to play the media game!

As Matt Friedlander explained when American Songwriter looked back on the phenomenon recently, That day, “Can’t Buy Me Love” replaced “She Loves You” at No. 1 on the chart, moving up from No. 27 the previous week. “Twist and Shout” went from No. 3 to No. 2, “She Loves You” dropped to No. 3, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” slid down from No. 3 to No. 4, and “Please Please Me” dropped from No. 4 to 5.

The Fab Four’s assault on the Hot 100 also included seven other entries on the chart. “I Saw Her Standing There” was at No. 31, “From Me to You” at No. 41, “Do You Want to Know a Secret” at No. 46, “All My Loving” at No. 58, “You Can’t Do That,” at No. 65, “Roll Over Beethoven” at No. 68, and “Thank You Girl” at No. 79. If that wasn’t enough, there also were two songs about The Beatles on the tally: “We Love You Beatles” by The Carefrees was at No. 42, while “A Letter to The Beatles” by The Four Preps claimed the No. 85 slot.

There was something else slightly odd about how this domination of ´a ´foreign chart came about, as Friedlander reminded us in his piece.

An unusual thing about the five Beatles singles at the top of the Hot 100 was that they were released by four different labels. “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” were issued by Capitol Records, which had signed the band to a U.S. deal at the end of 1963. However, because Capitol had initially hesitated to sign the group, a number of other labels had first attained rights to release select Beatles songs. So, “She Loves You” was released on Swan Records, “Twist and Shout” was issued by Tollie Records, and “Please Please Me” was released by the Vee-Jay label.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” went on to spend five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 before it finally was knocked from the top spot by Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” on May 9.

That ended an impressive 14-week run for the Fab Four at No. 1 at the Hot 100, as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” had held the top spot for seven and two weeks, respectively, before “Can’t Buy Me Love.

The Beatles’ record of holding the top five spots on the Hot 100 was equalled by Drake in September 2021, when the Canadian singer/rapper placed five songs from his then-new album Certified Lover Boy at the top of the chart. Tracks from Drake’s album also were ranked from No. 7 to No. 12 on the tally, giving him 11 of the top 12 songs that week.

Then, in October 2022, Taylor Swift overtook The Beatles and Drake by holding the top 10 spots on the Hot 100 with songs from her album Midnights.

Of course, the American Songwriter essayist pointed out that it’s worth noting that The Beatles’ achievement took place during an era when sales and chart positions were factored differently. In the current digital era, every song on an album can basically be considered a single because of streaming and download figures.

Nevertheless, being a little island floating blissfully in the Atlantic, Lanzarote doesn´t always catch up with that kind of news. Despite music and the arts being my lifeblood, I had no idea of those incredible figures from Drake and Taylor Swift.

By the time I was fifteen and ín charge of the record-buying budget at Stand Youth Club there was high demand from my mates that I buy Beatles singles, eps and albums, but I have to be honest, most of what I bought was The Beach Boys and The Byrds. Dylan didn´t get a look in because I preferred Tom Paxton. I don´t know why, but my tenure as Head Of Music Purchases lasted only about three months.


The primary sources for this piece was published in American Songwriter, an excellently informative magazine, and written by Matt Friedlander. Other sources and contriburs have been attributed in our text wherever possible.

Images employed have been taken from on line sites only where  categorised as  images free to use.

For a more comprehensive detail of our attribution policy see our for reference only post on 7th April 2023  entitled Aspirations And Attributions.

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