Their History, Their Songs and What They Mean
Those of us in our forties and fifties today remember with fondness and excitement the atmosphere created by four young guys from Liverpool, England. As all of us remember where we were during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, we likewise remember being transfixed in front of our small black& white television sets on February 9, 1964, when the Beatles made their first American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.
In preparation for their appearance, the CBS Television office on West-Fifty-Third Street in New York was overwhelmed by more than 50,000 requests for tickets to a studio that held 700. During their appearance, the Beatles sang five songs in the following order: All My Loving,Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, and I Want To Hold Your Hand. On this night, seventy-three million people watched the Beatles. Their appearance had such an impact that most normal activities in America came to a standstill watching their performance. Criminal activity in most of the major cities and towns in America was put on hold, and getting a taxi or bus in New Yorkwas almost impossible, until their performance was over. Mass hysteria resulted wherever the Beatles appeared, and Beatlemania was created. Two days later, on February 11, 1964, the Beatles sang their first concert in the United States, at the Washington Coliseum. Being from Baltimore, I waited with great interest for their arrival. The Beatles only came to Maryland once, when on September 13,1964, they performed two shows at the Baltimore Civic Center (now the Baltimore Arena).
The world’s number one rock group consisted of John Winston Lennon (b.10/09/40 -d.12/08/80), whose middle name came from his parent’s admiration of Winston Churchill; James Paul McCartney (b.06/18/42); George Harrison (b.02/25/43 -d. 11/29/2001); and Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey 07/07/40).
During the Beatlesrecording career from 1962 to 1970, they would release twenty-two singles (45rpm) in the United Kingdom, and thirty-three in the United States. Their first UK single was Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You, released October 5, 1962, on EMI/Parlophone Records. The first USA single would be Please Please Me/Ask Me Why, which they released on February 25, 1963 on Vee Jay Records. Although the Beatles werebig in England, they had not yet caught on in the United States. Following their first USA single, came From Me To You/Thank You Girl, which was released May 27, 1963 on Vee Jay, followed by She Loves You/I’ll Get You on Swan Records. Finally on December 26, 1963, Capitol Records decided to release I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There, which went to number 1 on the Billboard Charts onJanuary 18, 1964, and stayed there for seven weeks. As luck would have it, the Beatles first US visit planned for February 1964 with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show had been booked almost six months earlier. Only by accident did the Beatles I Want To Hold Your Hand happen to be at #1 the same time as their first US visit. One could not have asked for better timing. On January 30, 1964,following the success of I Want To Hold Your Hand, Vee Jay Records re released Please Please Me, only this time with From Me To You as the B-Side.
Interestingly, many singles released in the UK had different B-Sides from those released in the USA. During this time in recording history, all recording artists used the A-Side as the hit, and the B-Side was just about any song used merely as a filler,except the Beatles. The Beatles were the first and only group in recording history to release a hit song on both sides of a single 45 rpm record. Also, the Beatles are the only group in recording history to have twenty songs reach number one.
In the United Kingdom, the Beatles released twelve albums (33 rpm/LP’s), however released nineteen in the USA. There were several reasons for this. One is...