The meteoric rise and astounding success of The Beatles was unprecedented in music. Acts like Elvis Presley had landed numerous chart hits before, but not with the frequency and sheer volume that The Beatles were hitting the Billboard Hot 100. Once ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ landed at number one, the floodgates opened to any and all Beatles songs landing on the pop charts. With two years worth of back catalogue to dive into, Americans went to work buying up and listening to as many Beatles songs as possible.
In 1964 alone, 34 different Beatles songs landed on the Hot 100, with six of those songs ascending all the way to number one. It was an absolutely dominant year for the Liverpool lads, but one record stood out among them all to prove just how unmatched The Beatles were in their popularity. On April 4th of that year, The Beatles became the first artists ever to hold all five of the top five chart positions on the Hot 100.
Sitting at the top of the heap was ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, the newly-crowned third number one hit in a row for the Fab Four. Right below it was ‘Twist and Shout’, which was sitting at its peak position at number two. Numbers three and four were the band’s two previous number ones, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’. Finally, at number five sat the title track to their debut LP Please Please Me, which had peaked at number three the previous month.
Not only had this feat never happened before, but it would also take nearly 60 years for it to happen again. In 2021, Drake finally tied the record with five of his Certified Lover Boy tracks occupying the top five spots. Prior to that, the only person to ever threaten the record was Ariana Grande when she landed three songs in the top three positions in 2019. During the time when Drake occupied the top five spots, he also notched four other songs in the top ten, meaning that 90 per cent of the top ten songs in America were Drake tracks.
Those modern records took quite an overhaul of the way Billboard tallied their algorithm too. If not for the massive weight that the company added to streams starting in the late 2010s, it’s very likely that The Beatles would have had an unbreakable record on their hands. With physical sales of singles having plummetted since the band’s heyday, The Beatles likely would have had no competition for notching all five top five positions.
Of course, this was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of The Beatles’ American chart success. After occupying the top five spots, the band would land an additional 17 number one hits on the Hot 100 over the course of their career, bringing their grand total to 20. All told, The Beatles had 34 top ten hits and 71 charting songs in America. Those numbers are monumental, but for one week in 1964, The Beatles were truly on a level all their own.
Check out all five songs down below.