As 1963 rolled into 1964, the US was changing, to say the least, and popular music reflected the mood of the country. After John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, we needed something that would lift us out of the doldrums. Enter the Beatles!
What song was at the top of the Billboard chart when the clock struck midnight and 1963 became 1964?
Although many radio stations began playing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in December of 1963, the Beatles did not appear live on The Ed Sullivan Show until Feb. 9, 1964. When and where did a Beatles performance first appear on national U.S. television?
Who was the first post-Beatles British Invasion artist to crack the Billboard chart in January 1964, only one week after the Beatles first hit the chart?
What song was at the top of the chart during the last week of 1964?
1963 ended with “Dominique” by the Singing Nun (Soeur Sourire) at the top of the Billboard chart, showing us the grief the nation was feeling. However, as an aside, the local New York City (WABC) chart had “Louie Louie” at the top, showing the resilience of New Yorkers.
Though the Beatles arrived in the U.S. in February, on Jan. 3, 1964, Jack Paar showed a filmed Beatles performance of “She Loves You” recorded in England. It was the first complete Beatles song shown on American television and the first time many Americans got to see the Beatles.
The first British artist to follow the Beatles with a hit record was Dusty Springfield, who hit the Billboard chart on Jan. 25, 1964, with “I Only Want to Be with You.” In actuality, she preceded the Beatles with her Top 20 hit “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” recorded with the Springfields, in 1962.
As 1964 faded away and the Dave Clark Five, the Animals, the Zombies and the Rolling Stones became household names, it was “I Feel Fine” by the Beatles that rode us to the top during the last week of December.