Beatles Giving Trade A Solid Bite
NEW YORK — Britian’s hottest record act in history, the Beatles, only a source of speculation a week ago (in the U.S.), has kicked off the industry’s new year with a classic shot in the arm–with not one, but two labels jarring their way into Billboard’s Hot 100.
The Capitol Records’ single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” has bolted into the No. 3 slot in just two weeks. Shipments on the single are reportedly past the million mark, and an album “Meet The Beatles,” has already been released.
Swan Records single by the group, “She Loves You” (which sold over a million copies on EMI’s Parlophone label) is No. 69 on this week’s Hot 100, in it’s first week on the chart.
Advanced reports have it that the Beatles are carriers of a harmless, but contagious “bug“–Beatlemania–and it, too, has arrived in epidemic proportions.
For the past year, the quartet, which hails from the Mersey River district of Liverpool, has captured the imagination of the British, and has spread Beatlemania like a fever through the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and now Norway. Their first single effort on Parlophone, “Love Me Do,” sold a “modest” 100,000 copies. No subsequent single released have sold more that half a million.
When “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was released in England on November 29, 1963, advance orders had already exceeded the million mark. Their two LP’s have already sold more than 300,000 copies.
One of the most efficient and effective promotional campaigns in recent memory presaged the arrival of the Beatles. Newsweek, Time, Life, UPI and AP have avidly chronicled Beatlemania from the boys’ mushroom-shaped mops to their classic exchanges with the Royal family. Jack Parr offered a taped preview of the boys in early January, and their official debut is set for the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, with two more Sullivan spots in short order.
Radio Fans Like
As expected, Beatlemania has hit the radio scene with a tremendous impact. WEEL, Fairfax, Va., inaugurated what is perhaps the first series in the country revolving around the Beatles. Throughout the cooperation of Giant Music and Capitol Records, a weekly one-hour program entitled “Beatles Bonanza” is offered on Saturday night. The Beatles past hits, interviews with visiting Britons, and future merchandising of Beatle jewelry, wigs and other promotional items fill out the hour.
WABC, New York, initiated a Scott Muni Beatles Fan Club on Friday which has resulted in a tide of mail averaging 2,000 to 3,000 pieces daily. All Munci asks is a self-addressed envelope in which their membership card is returned to them. WABC reported that requests have been for “anything” by the Beatles.
WMCA, New York, is running a Beatles wig contest. The “Good Guys” are seeking listeners to take photos of their friends or from newspaper and paint on Beatle wigs. The station is awarding $57 to the first two most original entries with another 998 winners receiving a 45 r.p.m. disk, featuring photos of the group and the “Good Guys” on specially made record jackets.
The station is also airing Beatles promos cut by such legit theater artists as Margaret Leighton, a star in Broadway’s “Chinese Prime Minister,” and cast members from “Chips With Everything.” The artists all stated, “I would like to thank WMCA for bringing the Beatles to America.”
… WMCA reports that the most popular subjects painted with Beatle wigs thus far are: Khruschev, Mayor Wagner, Alfred E. Neuman (of MAD Magazine), Brigitte Bardot, and the Jolly Green Giant.
The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr), until a year ago were but one of more than 300 rock and roll groups that populated the Liverpool musical scene. Together since 1958, the boys have worked under a variety of names, such as the Quarrymen, Moon Dogs, Moonshiners, and the Silver Beatles. When they accepted an engagement in Hamburg the “Silver” was dropped as being too cumbersome and they have kept the Beatles tag ever since.
Brian Epstein, whom the boys affectionately refer to as the “fifth member” of the group, was responsible for mentoring the Beatles into distinction. He acts as their manager.
Another young group featuring the so-called “Liverpool Sound,” which has recently entered the race and could possibly emulate the success of their forerunner, goes by the name of the Dave Clark Five. They are currently battling the Beatles for first place in England, with their Columbia single “Glad All Over.” The single has been released in the U.S. on the Epic record label. END
(Information and news source: Billboard; January 25, 1964)
A MCRFB Note
Here below a RARE 1963 CBS News clip believed to be the first major news report in the U.S. regarding the Beatles. According to the You Tube source, this CBS feature actually aired nationally here, on Thursday evening, November 21, 1963 and also the following morning, Friday November 22, 1963.