DEAR JERRY: Since this month is the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles first U.S. hit record, their first American tour, and the beginning of the British Invasion, my question is a timely one.
Based on their overall singles success, how do you rank the British groups and duos that we first heard in 1964 or '65?
Donna Mendes, Queens, N.Y.
DEAR DONNA: Knowing it has been 50 years since I was on the radio playing all of the hits by every one of these groups is a pleasantly strange realization. It was an experience I will treasure forever.
Now for my Top 15 mid-'60s Invaders:
2. Rolling Stones
3. Dave Clark Five
4. Herman's Hermits
9. Moody Blues
10. Peter & Gordon
11. Manfred Mann
12. Gerry and the Pacemakers
13. Freddie and the Dreamers
14. Chad & Jeremy
DEAR JERRY: In a column last year, you estimated that after the British Invasion, about 25% of America's Top 100 were by artists from overseas, most being from the UK.
While I don't doubt it, I would like to see some specific artists and titles from the week right before "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the Beatles first U.S. hit, and then again for one year later.
That would be the kind of intel that I can really sink my teeth into.
Norman Bristow, Springfield, Mo.
DEAR NORMAN: Prepare to sink to titanic depths.
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" debuted January 11, 1964 on Cash Box, at No. 80. Strangely, it not only was missing from Billboard's Hot 100 that week, but didn't even appear among their 26 Bubbling Under the Hot 100 Hits (i.e., the Top 126). One week later (January 18) "I Want to Hold Your Hand" debuted on Billboard at No. 45.
Because "I Want to Hold Your Hand" appeared first on Cash Box, we must use their charts to answer your question.
For January 4th, the week before the Beatles debuted nationally, there were only five acts from overseas on the chart, accounting for just 5% of the Top 100. With their rank and song that week, they are:
2. The Singing Nun ("Dominique") (solo female from Belgium)
8. Caravelles ("You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry") (female duo from the UK)
61. Los Indios Tabajaras ("Maria Elena") (male instrumental duo from Brazil)
68. Cliff Richard ("It's All in the Game") (solo male from the UK)
73. Frank Ifield ("Please") (solo male from the UK)
The foreigners then consisted of three solo artists and two duos, but not a single vocal group. That was about to change in a gargantuan way.
Also, any mention that week of a pending musical invasion from anywhere would have been downright laughable.
By jumping ahead 52 weeks (January 9, 1965), it's as though we have landed in another world; one where 27% of the Top 100 is by talent from beyond North American shores. All but two are UK artists:
1. Beatles ("I Feel Fine")
4. Searchers ("Love Potion Number Nine")
8. Beatles ("She's a Woman")
9. Julie Rogers ("The Wedding")
10. Dave Clark Five ("Any Way You Want It")
12. Petula Clark ("Downtown")
18. Manfred Mann ("Sha La La")
20. Zombies ("She's Not There")
23. Chad & Jeremy ("Willow Weep for Me")
24. Matt Monro ("Walk Away")
28. Gerry and the Pacemakers ("I'll Be There")
30. Marianne Faithful ("As Tears Go By")
35. Animals ("Boom Boom")
37. Gale Garnett ("Lovin' Place") (New Zealand)
39. Herman's Hermits ("I'm Into Something Good")
40. Waikikis ("Hawaii Tattoo") (Belgium)
46. Rolling Stones ("Time Is on My Side")
50. Hullaballoos ("I'm Gonna Love You Too")
55. Honeycombs ("I Can't Stop")
59. Kinks ("All Day and All of the Night")
61. Kinks ("You Really Got Me")
66. Sandie Shaw ("[Always] Something There to Remind Me")
69. Bachelors ("No Arms Can Ever Hold You")
78. Rolling Stones ("Heart of Stone")
81. Peter & Gordon ("I Go to Pieces")
97. Dusty Springfield ("Live It Up")
100. Dusty Springfield ("Guess Who")
Based on their sound and image, the You Know Who Group ("[Roses Are Red] My Love") and the Beau Brummels ("Laugh, Laugh") were, in 1964, thought by many to be British.
Turns out both were U.S. bands.
IZ ZAT SO? Not until "Meet the Beatles" topped the American LP charts (Feb. 1964) did a rock or R&B group have a No. 1 album.
For 16 years, and the more than 100 long-playing albums that topped the charts, the only vocal groups were either folk singers (Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary) or orchestra and chorus groups (Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mitch Miller and the Gang).