On this day in 1964, The Beatles did something no musical artist has done before or since. They not only had the #1 hit on the Billboard Charts, they had numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 records as well, making today
NATIONAL HIT SINGLE DAY!
Billboard Top 5 Songs, April 4, 1964:
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”
For those of you wondering what was a “single,” they were 45 RPM vinyl records, a little larger than a CD and containing 2 songs, the “A” side, usually the big hit, and Side B, another song by the same artist. To hit replay, you had to manually restart the record player, and to hear Side B, you had to flip the record over.
In 1964, the sale of singles determined the ranking of songs for radio airplay, and having just one Number One Hit made the careers of bands and singers and insured the flow of royalties.
Even “One Hit Wonders” were guaranteed an audience and a place in music lovers’ hearts forever. The Beatles would have 21 Number Ones on the Billboard Hot 100 before they broke up in 1970, eclipsing Rock & Roll hit machine Elvis Presley’s 17.
While the Beatles pioneered the concept of themed albums as their music grew more sophisticated, they never ceased recording singles, 66 of which topped song charts other than Billboard throughout the world. Their final chart topper was the haunting “The Long and Winding Road’ in 1970.
•Suggested Activities: Putting on a stack of singles and doing The Loco-motion.