Daily Dirt: Closing in on 60-year anniversary of what may have been Beatles’ greatest accomplishment

The_Beatles_members_at_New_York_City_in_1964

The Beatles in February 1964 | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Daily Dirt for Thursday, March 28, 2024

It dawned on me the first “slow” Beatles song to reach No. 1 was not until “Yesterday,” the band’s 10th No. 1 in October 1965 … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 904 of The Daily Dirt.

1. We’re nearing the 60th anniversary is what is arguably the most impressive accomplishment in entertainment history.

On April 4, 1964, the Beatles became the first and only group/individual artist to simultaneously occupy the top five positions in Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart of the most popular songs in the United States:

  • No. 1: “Can’t Buy Me Love”
  • No. 2: “Twist and Shout”
  • No. 3: “She Loves You”
  • No. 4: “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  • No. 5: “Please Please Me

“It truly gives perspective on how powerful the Beatles were as Beatlemania was in full force,” said Joe Cortese, assistant program director/music director at classic hits station WODS Boston, in a 2012 Billboard report.

Here’s a look at the 20 No. 1 songs from the Beatles during their relatively short, but impactful career as a band: 

  1. “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” seven weeks at No. 1 beginning Feb. 1, 1964
  2. “She Loves You,” two, March 21, 1964
  3. “Can’t Buy Me Love,” five, April 4, 1964
  4. “Love Me Do,” one, May 30, 1964
  5. “A Hard Day’s Night,” two, Aug. 1, 1964
  6. “I Feel Fine,” three, Dec. 26, 1964
  7. “Eight Days a Week,” two, March 13, 1965
  8. “Ticket to Ride,” one, May 22, 1965
  9. “Help!,” three, Sept. 4, 1965
  10. “Yesterday,” four, Oct. 9, 1965
  11. “We Can Work It Out,” three, Jan. 8, 1966
  12. “Paperback Writer,” two, June 25, 1966
  13. “Penny Lane,” one, March 18, 1967
  14. “All You Need Is Love,” one, Aug. 19, 1967
  15. “Hello Goodbye,” three, Aug. 19, 1967
  16. “Hey Jude,” nine, Sept. 28, 1968
  17. “Get Back,” with Billy Preston, five, May 24, 1969
  18. “Come Together”/”Something,” one, Nov. 29, 1969
  19. “Let It Be,” two, April 11, 1970
  20. “The Long and Winding Road”/”For You Blue,” two, June 13, 1970
  • Following the ascension of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to No. 1 in early February 1964, the Beatles held the top spot on the Hot 100 for 3 1/2 months — longer than any popular artist before or since, according to history.com
  • Over the course of those 3 1/2 months, the Fab Four earned three consecutive No. 1 singles (a record); held all five spots in the top five in early April (the aforementioned record); and had a total of 14 songs in the Hot 100 in mid-April (yet another record).
  • But just when it seemed that no U.S. act would ever stand up to the British invaders, one of the least likely American stars imaginable proved himself equal to the task. On May 9, 1964, the great Louis Armstrong, age 63, broke the Beatles’ stranglehold on the U.S. pop charts with the No. 1 hit “Hello Dolly.”

2. For the record, here’s a look at the top 10 artists, according to their No. 1 Billboard songs:

  • 1. Beatles, 20
  • 2. Mariah Carey, 19
  • 3. Rihanna, 14
  • 4-tie. Michael Jackson 13
  • 4-tie. Drake, 13
  • 6-tie. Madonna, 12
  • 6-tie. Diana Ross and the Supremes 12
  • 8-tie. Whitney Houston, 11
  • 8-tie. Taylor Swift, 11
  • 10. Janet Jackson, 11

More than 30,000 songs have reached No. 1 in the chart’s 65-year-plus history. Of those, 1,161 have reached No. 1.

3. Keeping with the spirit of today’s Daily Dirt, Elvis Presley, who’s notably absent from the list of artists above, scored seven No. 1s in the Hot 100 era. The start of Presley’s career predated the Billboard Hot 100, which launched on Aug. 4, 1958.

That meant such Elvis classics as “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” preceded the chart’s existence. He did, however, reach the summit with “A Big Hunk O’ Love,” “Stuck on You,” “It’s Now or Never,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “Surrender,” “Good Luck Charm” and “Suspicious Minds.”

Steve Thought O’ The Day

Happy Opening Day to MLB fans. Today is the official Opening Day, according to MLB. Apparently those two games in South Korea didn’t count. All 30 teams are set to play today, marking the second straight year for that occurrence. Before the 2023 season, the last time every team played on Opening Day was in 1968.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. His favorite Beatles’ songs are “You Can’t Buy Love (but you can buy me a burger and fries)” and “All You Need Is Love (and a slice of pie).”

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