- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first-ever No. 1 hit. The Liverpool-based band earned its first No. 1 single in the United Kingdom with “From Me to You” on May 2, 1963. The Jon Lennon/Paul McCartney composition stayed at the top of the charts for seven weeks but failed to make an impact in the United States. The band’s first No. 1 hit in America was “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” on Feb. 1, 1964. The Beatles had 21 No. 1 hits in America and 17 in the U.K. This week, The List looks at the top 10 Beatles No. 1 hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • 10. “Help” — The title song from the Beatles’ second feature film reached No. 1 in the U.K. for three weeks on Aug. 5, 1965. In the U.S. it reached the top spot on Sept. 4, and remained for three weeks. In 2004, it was ranked No. 29 on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
  • 9. “Hello, Goodbye” — The song was included on the “Magical Mystery Tour” album in the U.S. but was not made available in the U.K. on an album until a compilation album in 1973. It reached No. 1 on Dec. 6 1967, in the U.K. and remained at the top spot for a stunning seven weeks. In the U.S., the song reached No. 1 on Dec. 30, and stayed there for three weeks.
  • 8. “A Hard Day’s Night” — An off-the-cuff remark by drummer Ringo Starr was the inspiration for the unique title for the band’s first feature film and the title song written by John Lennon. The song reached No. 1 in the U.K. for three weeks starting July 23, 1964, and was No. 1 for two weeks in the U.S. starting Aug. 1. The single and the album of the same title all held the top position in their respective charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964 on both sides of the Atlantic, the first time any artist had accomplished this feat.
  • 7. “Paperback Writer” — The song reached No. 1 for two weeks in the U.K. on June 23, 1966. In the U.S., the song was at No. 1 for two nonconsecutive weeks starting June 25, being interrupted by Frank’s Sinatra’s “Strangers In the Night.” The song is noted for the boosted bass guitar sound throughout the record.
  • 6. “Ticket to Ride” — It was the third No. 1 hit of five in the U.S. for the Beatles in 1965. The Beatles were the fourth consecutive British group to hold down the top spot in the U.S. charts in April and May. The other three groups — Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and Herman’s Hermits — all hailed from Manchester. It was also the first song by the band in which Paul McCartney was featured on lead guitar. The song reached No. 1 in the U.S. for one week on May 22. It was No. 1 in the U.K for three weeks starting April 22.
  • 5. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — This is the song that sparked Beatlemania in the U.S. and the band’s first No. 1 stateside. It remained for seven weeks at the top of the charts in America from Feb. 1, 1964. It was voted No. 2 in Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of top 10 Beatles songs. It was the Beatles’ second-biggest seller in the U.K. where it hit No. 1 and stayed for five weeks from Dec. 12, 1963.
  • 4. “Can’t Buy Me Love” —Paul McCartney wrote the song when the band was staying at the George V Hotel in Paris, and it was later recorded in the French capital. It is the only English-language Beatles track that the Beatles themselves recorded in a studio outside the U.K.  The song went to No. 1 in the U.S. for five weeks on April 4, 1964. The song reached No. 1 for three weeks in the U.K. on April 2.
  • 3. “She Loves You” — This was the band’s best-selling single in the U.K., with sales of about 1.9 million. In Britain, it went to No. 1 on Sept. 12, 1963, where it stayed for four weeks. Then, after seven weeks, it returned as No. 1 for another two weeks. In the U.S., the song flopped when it was first released in 1963, but after the success of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” it re-emerged and became a No. 1 hit on March 21, 1964. It was one of five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously on April 4, 1964.
  • 2. “Get Back” — The single was credited as “By the Beatles with Billy Preston” and was the only single to include an accompanying artist’s name. Preston played keyboards on the recording. It reached No. 1 in the U.K. for six weeks on April, 23 1969, and in the U.S. for five weeks on May 24, 1969. It was the only Beatles’ single to enter the U.K. charts at the top.
  • 1. “Hey Jude” —Paul McCartney wrote the song to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parents’ divorce. This seven-minute song reached No. 1 in the U.K. for two weeks on Sept. 11, 1968, and was No. 1 for a record nine weeks in the U.S., starting on Sept. 28, 1968. Recorded on the Apple label, the song was knocked off the British No. 1 spot by another single from an Apple label artist: Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days,” a song produced by Mr. McCartney.

Did you know?: The songs, “Love Me Do,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Yesterday,” “Penny Lane,” “Something”/”Come Together.” “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road” all reached No. 1 in the U.S but not in the U.K.  “From Me To You,” “Eleanor Rigby”/”Yellow Submarine,” “Lady Madonna” and the “Ballad of John and Yoko” all reached No. 1 in the U.K. but not in the U.S.

Compiled by John Haydon
Sources: jpgr.co.uk/stats, Wikipedia and The Washington Times.