Tuesday, December 3, 2013

                  B  E  A  T  L  E  M  A  N  I  A

We are fast approaching the 50th anniversary of what would be known as both "Beatlemania" and the start of the "British Invasion" period in the history of the U.S. pop charts.

To this day I'm still not sure whether or not I actually saw the Beatles' debut television appearance on The Ed Sullivan show and simply "remembering them on The Ed Sullivan show" doesn't really mean anything in terms of accurate recollectionism considering their many appearances on Sullivan's weekly variety show afterwards.

However, I was definitely part of this era.  Especially considering that prior to Christmas Day 1963 I never paid attention to radio or knew much about records outside of my parents' jazz and classical LPs. 
But, on Wednesday December 25 1963 the older sister of one of my classmates, who was babysitting me and my other two siblings that day, enlightened me to the world of "rock-and-roll radio", which in those days were the top-40 AM radio stations that "played the latest hits" (infused with the occasional "golden oldie").  From that point on I was a regular follower of top-40 radio and a lover of "rock-and-roll" (much to my parents' chagrin) ...and, even later, a buyer and collector of records (in the general consumer sense, of course).

Amazingly enough, among the latest hits getting regular airplay on that day was I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND (alongside messages like "The Beatles are coming!".  I'm assuming in reference to the anticipated U.S./North American tour that was to follow soon.)

Other songs also getting played on the radio on Christmas Day 1963:  LONG TALL TEXAN;  OUT OF LIMITS;  CALIFORNIA SUN;  SURFIN' BIRD; DAWN (GO AWAY).

By the way, The Beatles' first major North American hit was SHE LOVES YOU (/I'LL GET YOU) which went all the way to #1 in Canada in late 1963.

The first Beatles singles released in the U.S. were on VEE-JAY and TOLLIE in 1963, but they were not successful on the American charts at the time.  However, after the events of early-1964, they would be rereleased and enjoy top-10 status belatedly.

American singer Del Shannon recorded his version of FROM ME TO YOU in 1963, but it would end up becoming a less-than-minor hit for him.

Bobby Vee had a less-than-minor hit in 1964 with I'LL MAKE YOU MINE which was, essentially, a rewrite of FROM ME TO YOU and PLEASE PLEASE ME, but with different lyrics and arrangement.

The first song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard to ever get airplay on top-40 radio in the U.S. was a version of THAT GIRL BELONGS TO YESTERDAY by American singer Gene Pitney in late-1963/early-1964.

The Rolling Stones themselves wouldn't get airplay on U.S. radio until June 1964 with their version of a Buddy Holly song NOT FADE AWAY.

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