April 4 - Record-breaking Records!

Posted on April 4, 2018

The Billboard Hot 100 really said something about what music was popular, back in 1964. 

Those of us who were alive back then had a LOT fewer ways to listen to music, and especially a lot fewer ways to listen to new, just-released music.

I mean, we could listen to the records that we owned. Or we could go over to friends's houses and listen to their records.
Some of us were lucky enough to have jukebox in a restaurant near us. A few people were able to attend concerts or otherwise enjoy live music.

And then there was the radio.

I feel like there were only two radio stations, back then, in my Southern California town. There was KRLA and KFWB. I'm sure there were others - but not as many as today. And we had no sat radio, no streaming services, no mp3s or CDs or tapes or...

Before 1955, Billboard Magazine kept three charts: one that ranked the biggest selling singles in retail stores, one that ranked the most played songs on U.S. radio stations, and one that ranked the most played songs in jukeboxes. 

For years, loads of radio stations wouldn't play rock and roll songs - but those catchy tunes and danceable beats DID manage to find their way into jukeboxes, and so the latter chart often captured the youth vote.

In 1955, the three charts were unified into one popularity chart - a chart that included all three metrics. And that was the Hot 100.

By 1964, the Hot 100 was dominated by young people - and by rock! As a matter of fact, on this date in 1964, the Hot 100 was dominated by a single band: the Beatles.

The Beatles had the #1 song that week.
And the #2 song. And #3.
And, remarkably, also the #4 song, and the #5 song!!!

Also, older songs were still lingering on the chart, at positions #31, 41, 46, 58, 65, 68, and 79!!!!


Thats never happened before! And it's never going to happen again, right???

Check out the song titles that dominated the Hot 100 that long-ago week:

ALL of those songs except "Thank You, Girl" are songs I still know really well, but I don't think I've ever heard of these two songs that also appeared on the Hot 100 that week:

42. We Love You, Beatles, by the Carefrees
85. A Letter to the Beatles, by the Four Preps

The Beatles were really, really, really,
really, really, really popular!
Those two songs were not by the Beatles, of course, but they were tributes to the Beatles' popularity. And I think that the Beatles deserved every tribute they ever got, they were so fresh and raw and powerful and good!

The very next week, most of the 12 Beatles songs were still on the Hot 100 chart, but of course in different places - and two more Beatles singles entered the chart: There's a Place and Love Me Do. So...for the Beatles, the hits just kept coming!

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