On March 21, The Beatles‘ “She Loves You” went to No. 1 in the U.S. It replaced their first No. 1 hit in America, “I Want to Hold You Hand,” and stayed at the top for two weeks.
The Beatles’ first No. 1 hit in the U.S. wasn’t ‘She Loves You,’ it was ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’
On Feb. 1, 1964, The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts. According to Beatles Bible, the group’s manager requested they write a song specifically with the U.S. market in mind. They needed a hit. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” did the trick.
In The Beatles Anthology, Paul McCartney said, “‘From Me To You’ was released – a flop in America. ‘She Loves You’ – a big hit in England, big number one in England – a flop in the USA. Nothing until ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand.’”
Six days later, The Beatles landed in New York for their first visit to America. Beatlemania was in full swing. Hundreds of fans waited at the airport to welcome them. It was almost like a national event.
On Feb. 9, the group performed on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. The Beatles performed “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You,” along with “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”
The Beatles’ ‘She Loves You’ bumped ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ off the No. 1 spot in March
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks (15 weeks on the charts) until “She Loves You” took its spot at the top on March 21, 1964. According to Billboard, the tune stayed on the charts for 15 weeks and two weeks at No. 1.
Both songs had personal pronouns in them. In his book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul explained that this was his and John Lennon’s way of speaking directly to their fans. The Beatles’ “She Loves You” was a sort of thank you to fans directly.
Paul McCartney said there was an ‘eroticism’ to everything he did in The Beatles’ early days
In The Lyrics, Paul wrote that there was an eroticism behind everything in The Beatles’ early days. Although, if he’d heard himself use that word when he was seventeen, there would have been a “guffaw.”
So, in The Beatles’ early songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You,” there were so naughty deeper meanings.
“But eroticism was very much a driving force behind everything I did,” he wrote. “It’s a very strong thing. And, you know, that lay behind many of these love songs. ‘I want to hold your hand,’ open brackets, [and probably do a lot more!].”
Regardless of their naughty undertones, the two songs broke The Beatles into the U.S. and helped start the British Invasion. They are some of the most important Beatles songs and were the first songs that connected them with the world.