Flashback: The Beatles Hold Down The Top Five Spots On The ‘Billboard Hot 100’
It was 58 years ago today (April 4th, 1964) that the Beatles made history by holding down the Top Five positions on the Billboard 100 singles chart. Coming in at Number One was the group’s current single, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” followed by their cover of the Isley Brothers‘ “Twist And Shout,” with the Top Three rounded out by “She Loves You,” the band’s second U.S. chart-topper. Coming in at Number Four was “I Want To Hold Your Hand” — the song that broke the Beatles in America along with being a seven-week chart-topper, and “Please Please Me” closing out the Top Five.
The Top Five positions were just the icing on the cake; the Beatles also occupied the following seven slots: “I Saw Her Standing There” at Number 31; “From Me To You” at Number 41; “Do You Want To Know A Secret” at Number 46; “All My Loving” — a Canadian import — at Number 58; “You Can’t Do That” at Number 65; “Roll Over Beethoven” — a Canadian import — at Number 68; and “Thank You Girl” at Number 79. Further proof of the group’s unyielding popularity was the fact that the Carefrees‘ novelty song “We Love You Beatles” sat at Number 42 — just below the band’s own “From Me To You.”
Amazingly, between February 1st and May 8th, 1964, the Beatles held down the Number One spot on the Billboard charts with “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (seven weeks), “She Loves You” (two weeks) and “Can’t Buy Me Love” (five weeks).
The Beatles’ late-producer George Martin recalled telling the group “Can’t Buy Me Love” needed to start off with an instantly memorable hook: “Paul started off the whole record by (sings melody) — and that was the beginning of the record. And I said, ‘Paul, we need to have a hit tag to start this (to) kick it off.’ He said, ‘Well, what do you think, then?’ I said, ‘Take a bit of the chorus!'”
In 1966 John Lennon and Paul McCartney spoke about how financial security became an instant byproduct of their songwriting: “(John Lennon): It’s just saved us wastin’ our live achievin’ it. (Paul McCartney): Our thing just happened to be condensed and speeded. . . speeded up, y’know, really. (Lennon): We chose a modern form of success. (McCartney): Very quick, because one second we were just there doing that, with that much money, and the next second, where people normally take a lifetime to do, was just all there, suddenly. Just handed (to us). And we didn’t have to do anything for it. (Lennon): Except work, y’know, that little bit. (McCartney): We had to work to do songs and make records — but it didn’t feel like anything to us. Y’know, and so, it’s. . . that’s incredible. that, ’cause it makes you think.”
It was 13 years ago tonight (April 4th, 2009) that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr teamed up together at the Change Begins Within Concert at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The benefit concert raised money and awareness for David Lynch‘s Transcendental Meditation (TM) initiative based on the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Also appearing at the event was Donovan, Eddie Vedder, the Beach Boys‘ Mike Love, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Seinfeld, Moby, Ben Harper, Paul Horn, Angelo Badalamenti, Betty LaVette, and Jim James.
The highlight of the show came when after McCartney’s mini-set, Ringo bolted onstage and he and McCartney performed the Lennon/McCartney classic “With A Little Help From My Friends” with the two sharing a microphone center stage. It was the first time the pair had ever played the song live in concert together.
As the encores kicked off, Ringo took his place behind his legendary Ludwig drum set as McCartney counted off “I Saw Her Standing There” — which was the opening number from the Beatles‘ 1963 debut album Please Please Me. Although the song has been a part of McCartney’s live repertoire since 1986, it was the first time that he and Ringo had performed the song together since the Beatles’ 1964 North American tour.
Ringo remained behind the drums as the evening’s stars joined McCartney for the live debut of “Cosmically Conscious” — a song inspired by the Maharishi, which McCartney wrote in 1968 along with the other songs for the Beatles’ “White Album.” McCartney finally released an edited portion of the song on his 1993 album Off The Ground, with a full four-minute version appearing as the B-Side of the single of the album’s title track.
Paul McCartney said at the press conference for the concert that he was thrilled that the Maharishi’s message will live on for future generations: “It was a great gift that Maharishi gave us. For me it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilize us toward the end of the crazy ’60s. And it is, it’s a life long gift. Y’know it’s something that you can call on at anytime, and I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s particularly a great thing what David and the Foundation is doing putting it in schools and allowing kids to experience something that I don’t think they otherwise would’ve had the chance to experience.”
In 2017 the show was released on DVD as the Change Begins Within Concert.