(Pictured: four visitors get a look at America from a hotel balcony in August 1964.)
Once a month since April, we have been comparing Beatlemania and the British Invasion as it appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 with the way it was heard on a representative local station, WOKY in Milwaukee, 50 years ago. In our last installment, the Beatles were absent from WOKY’s survey, although they returned with a bang in a matter of days: “A Hard Day’s Night” debuted at #20 in Milwaukee for the week of July 11th and zoomed to #1 on the 18th, where it would remain for the weeks of the 25th and August 1. Billboard, always a little behind the street, showed “A Hard Day’s Night” for the first time on its chart dated July 18 up at #21. It would take a mighty leap to #2 the next week, and hit #1 on August 1, possibly the greatest foregone conclusion in the history of popular music. It would reign for only two weeks, however, dethroned by Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody,” which would be weirder if Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” hadn’t taken out “Can’t Buy Me Love” back in May.
Not since the spring had there been so many Beatles singles on the charts: August began with six on the Hot 100, although only “A Hard Day’s Night” would make the Top 10. “Ain’t She Sweet” blasted into the top 40 in its third week on the Hot 100; “I’ll Cry Instead” debuted at #62; “And I Love Her” moved to #65 from #80 in its second week on; “I Should Have Known Better” (the B-side of “A Hard Day’s Night”) was at #66 in its second week after debuting at #75; “If I Fell” debuts at #92. The B-side of “If I Fell,” “And I Love Her,” had yet to chart, although a dreamy instrumental version credited to George Martin and His Orchestra was bubbling under at #105. (It wouldn’t make the Hot 100.) AT WOKY, in addition to “A Hard Day’s Night,” the station was charting “I’ll Cry Instead” and its B-side, “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You” together at #21 (up from 29) and “And I Love Her” at #32 in its first week on. “Ain’t She Sweet” would join the list the next week. There are seven other British acts in the Top 40, most of whom are moving down.
We are, as always, equally intrigued by what’s happening elsewhere on the WOKY chart.
3. “Wishin’ and Hopin'”/Dusty Springfield (up from 9). If you don’t dig it, we shouldn’t see each other anymore.
10. “Where Did Our Love Go”/Supremes (up from 33). This will be WOKY’s #1 song in another week, and will top the Hot 100 for two weeks bridging August and September. It’s the first of five straight Hot 100 #1s for the Supremes, and the first of five straight hundred-years-from-now classics to hit #1 in Billboard, along with “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Oh Pretty Woman,” “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” and “Baby Love.” If you want a sixth, include “Leader of the Pack,” too.
12. “Sugar Lips”/Al Hirt (up from 17). The New Orleans trumpeter was having his best year in 1964 with the Top 10 hit “Java,” “Cotton Candy,” and “Sugar Lips,” his last Top 40 hit. His success and that of Armstrong, Martin, Barbra Streisand, Jack Jones, the Ray Charles Singers, “The Girl From Ipanema,” and others shows again that while the kids’ music was big, it wasn’t the only thing selling or getting airplay.
27. “Johnny Loves Me”/Florraine Darlin (holding at 27). I couldn’t find much on the web about Florraine Darlin, and neither could our pal whiteray when he went looking for her. I like her voice OK, but “Johnny Loves Me” presents your basic earworm/icepick situation.
35. “Because”/Dave Clark Five (debut). My hometown radio station must have played the hell out of this throughout the 60s, because I can’t remember when it wasn’t familiar to me. If Lennon and McCartney didn’t envy it, they should have. I have been addicted to the sound of the organ in popular music practically from the beginning, and it may be because of “Because.”