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1964 “I’m Feeling Glad All Over”

February 9, 2014

In many ways, 1964 marked the beginning of rock music. It also was the beginning of my now 50 year-long interest in rock music and most popular music, even though as the year began I was only 9 years old. My first memory of that year was early February 1964 when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. I can remember watching them on TV with the girls constant screaming in the audience , but really enjoying their music which I had never heard before. My mother, who was watching with my sister and I , actually enjoyed one song , Paul’s rendition of “Til There Was You” ( most likely because it came from the musical “The Music Man”).

The Beatles dominated 1964 like no artists have dominated before or after. By early April, the Beatles made history with the top five songs in one week:

The Billboard Hot 100, April 4, 1964
No. 1, “Can’t Buy Me Love”
No. 2, “Twist and Shout”
No. 3, “She Loves You”
No. 4, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
No. 5, “Please Please Me”

Then a week later, the Beatles set another record with 14 of the Billboard top 100 songs during the week of April 11:

1. “Can’t Buy Me Love”; 2. “Twist and Shout”; 4. “She Loves You”; 7. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”; 9. “Please Please Me”; 14. “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”; 38. “I Saw Her Standing There”; 48. “You Can’t Do That”; 50. “All My Loving”; 52. “From Me to You”; 61. “Thank You Girl”; 74. “There’s a Place”; 78. “Roll Over Beethoven”; 81. “Love Me Do”

In fact, during all of 1964, the Beatles had 19 songs reach the top 40 and 6 #1 hits something NO other artist has done since. While the Beatles songs would progress lyrically and musically in future years, the sound of 1964 was fresh and new. The music was a unique combination of rock n roll guitar and rhythms heavily influenced by Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly among others. John and Paul’s vocals were distinctive with Paul’s leads quite varied ranging from the screaming “Twist and Shout” to the soft “And I Love Her” . The Beatles had superb harmonies in almost all their songs, borrowing heavily from the Beach Boys and Four Seasons songs that preceded them.

It would require many posts to go thru all the songs that I liked by the Beatles in 1964 . However, five stand out in particular for me: “She Loves You” ” I Want To Hold Your Hand” , ” Please, Please, Me” , ” Twist and Shout” ( the Beatles outstanding cover of the Isley Brothers 1962 hit) and ” A Hard Day’s Night”. All of them featured simple but great melodies, great vocals and harmonies and the Beatles solid guitar, bass and drum lines. ( Yes, despite popular sentiment to the contrary, Ringo was a good drummer). The epitome of the Beatles unique style was their opening chord on a “A Hard Day’s Night” which was according to Randy Bachman ” the most famous chord ever on a twelve string guitar” (For an interesting short video on this see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvxPc5MPEuQ)

“A Hard Day’s Night” movie and album both represented great memories. I first saw the movie in Livingston Manor, NY in the Catskills with my friend Neil on a visit to his parent’s summer house. It was like no movie I had ever seen before and in retrospect it was perhaps the best music movie ever made and served as the beginning of the music video age some 17 years before MTV made it official. ( if you don’t believe me, rent the movie and pay particular attention to the opening title track and ” Can’t Buy Me Love”). I first remember hearing the album in the fall at another childhood friend’s house , Stephen White, while we played board games and listened to it over and over and over.

As dominant as the Beatles were throughout 1964, British music in general also dominated the US pop charts with the beginning of the so-called British Invasion. In fact, it was a year where numerous British groups first hit the US charts, and many of these groups were to go on to become famous for years to follow. Most notably, the Rolling Stones began their unofficial reign as Britain’s second best rock group by late 1964 , though they were only later to dominate the US charts in 1965 . Interestingly, two of their first three US charters were covers: “It’s All Over Now” (by The Valentinos from earlier in 1964 which the Stones heard while touring in the U.S.) and “Time on My Side” ( by Mississippi soul queen Irma Thomas in 1963). These two covers are still among my favorite songs by the Stones. The third US charter was “Tell Me” a Jagger/Richard original composition which was to become the norm in 1965. The Stones featured Keith Richard’s blues influenced, superb guitar playing and his outstanding music writing skills with Mick Jagger’s vocals and sneering lyrics a band trademark.

Meanwhile, four other major British rock groups first invaded the US shores in 1964 – the Dave Clark Five, the Kinks, the Zombies and the Animals. The Dave Clark Five from London featured “hard rock” drumming with its machine gun percussion start to “Glad All Over” its first hit song as well as its next hit ” Bits and Pieces” . (Not surprisingly, the group’s leader Dave Clark was also its drummer.)  The group also had two other top 10 hits ( including a comparatively rare slow song but very tuneful “Because” ) and seven top forties in all during 1964. Also from London, the Kinks began their US career with one of the greatest rock classics of all time “You Really Got Me” that arguably was the true beginning of “hard” rock. It was the group’s guitarist, songwriter and leader Ray Davies who came up with the unforgettable guitar riff which drives the song. From Hertfordshire, England, the Zombies started their relatively short US career with one of my favorite classic rock hits “She’s Not There” in late 1964. The Animals (from Newcastle, England) had a smash #1 hit, the controversial “House of the Rising Sun”. Eric Burdon’s vocals and Alan Price’s organ and the memorable opening guitar/ bass arpeggio make this one of the best songs of 1964. Though not as well-known, their follow-up “I’m Crying” is another excellent example of early rock-blues fusion that was to be much of the Animals repertoire in 1965. Other harder rock groups from Britain of note in 1964 include Manfred Mann with their excellent albeit more of a throwback #1 hit ” Do Wah Diddy, Diddy”; and the Nashville Teens with “Tobacco Road” (who would’ve thunk they were English?).

Though harder rock was newly ascendant, several British soft/ folk rock artists also had their first US successes in 1964. Herman’s Hermits had their first US hit with the upbeat “I’m Into Something Good”. Peter and Gordon first hit was also a #1 with the beautiful “A World Without Love” and the very good “Nobody I Know” (both McCartney compositions that Paul gave Peter Asher, given that he was then dating his sister Jane).  Chad and Jeremy , another British duo had the poetic and beautiful “A Summer Song” as well as the equally pretty ” Yesterday’s Gone” , a particular favorite of mine. Gerry and the Pacemakers scored with two top 10 hits the cheerful “How Do You Do It” and the beautiful but sad “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” . Not to be outdone, Dusty Springfield had her first solo hit ” I Only Want to Be with You” and later in the year “Wishin’ and Hopin’ “, her two best solos of her career. Finally, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas had their first fame with the double-sided hit “Little Children/Bad to Me”, which naturally were both written by Lennon and McCartney.

Back in America, the California sound continued its dominance led by the Beach Boys and their three excellent and popular hits “Fun, Fun, fun” “I Get Around” and “Dance, Dance, Dance”which featured the group’s sterling vocal harmonies , up tempo rhythms and Brian Wilson’s song writing. The b-side of I Get Around , “Dont Worry Baby” however, featured Wilson’s introspective side which was to blossom over the next couple of years. Jan and Dean had another top 10 hit with the tuneful ” Dead Man’s Curve” and an even bigger hit with the equally fun “Little Ole Lady from Pasadena” . A brand new group, The Rivieras, perhaps best typified the California Sound with their rocking beach classic ” California Sun”, one of my favorites of the genre. Lesley Gore had her last top ten hit in early ’64 with the haunting “You Don’t Own Me”. Meanwhile, on the other coast, the “Jersey Boys” or Four Seasons continued to churn out hits with seven top 40 hits in 1964 and “Dawn” and “Rag Doll” being two of their best.

Motown music was gaining popularity with several of its signature groups emerging from obscurity. The Supremes finally made the top 40 with their January hit ” When the Lovelight Starts shining thru his eyes” , and by late 1964 they had begun a record string of 5 #1 hits in a row with the first three from 1964 among my favorites: “Where Did Our love go” , “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me”. The Temptations also first reached the top 40 in 1964 with their still under appreciated “The Way You Do the Things You Do”. Meanwhile, the Four Tops, who had been performing since the late fifties , finally reached the top 20 with the excellent ” Baby, I Need Your Lovin’ “. Mary Wells also scored big with her only #1 hit ” My Guy”. And a new beautiful pop-soul voice emerged on the scene, with Dionne Warwick’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and one of her greats “Walk on By” . And two famous jazz trumpeters Louie Armstrong and Al Hirt scored two of the biggest songs of the year with “Hello Dolly” and the instrumental “Java”, respectively.

Of course as new and exciting as 1964 was, it wasn’t all good . Many of the earlier pop artists from the early 60s and even 1950s ranging from Brenda Lee, Connie Francis, Andy Williams , Al Martino, Nino Tempo and April Stevens, were hanging on with very uninteresting pap that still managed to chart. Bobby Vinton’s “Mr. Lonely” even rose to #1 despite it being saccharin and cloying. Elvis Presley was still “the king” in name only after his great successes of the 1950s and early 1960s and didn’t even chart in the top 10 in 1964 and didn’t have a single memorable song.

But all in all, that didn’t matter much in 1964, because with the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Dave Clark Five, Animals, Peter and Gordon, Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Four Tops , Dionne Warwick , Temptations to name a few, there was much to enjoy in 1964 and much to look forward to in 1965. It was hard not to feel “Glad All Over”.

From → Music 60s70s

3 Comments
  1. A major error in this blog. See if you can spot before reading on……………………………………………….

    Of course, it was John who sang “Twist and Shout” not Paul. So pretend that I said “Long Tall Sally” or the later hit “I’m Down” as examples of Paul’s screaming voice.

    Apologies,
    Bruce

  2. John Lum permalink

    Bruce, another fun read in your blog. I always enjoy waxing nostalgic while reading your musical memories. As far as the Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, I also recall it fairly well. But my reaction was quite different from yours. I remember wondering why my older sister was so excited (not quite screaming but much more animated than usual). I thought the Beatles’ music was good but I don’t remember thinking it was anything extraordinary. I was still stuck in the transition era between the Connie Francis-Pat Boone days of the ’50s and the British Invasion. For me, that meant enjoying latter-day crooners like the Bobby’s (Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell and Bobby Vinton), the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys, anyone following in the footsteps of the Weavers/Pete Seeger (e.g., Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, the Highwaymen, the Kingston Trio) and anything produced by Phil Spector (yay, girl groups!). I was still stuck in the mindset of a time when Barbra Streisand (still love her), Henry Mancini and movie soundtracks (e.g., West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music) were still mainstays on the Billboard album charts. Of course, as you so rightfully pointed out, the British Invasion was not a fluke and did indeed change American music forever. Thanks for commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the States.

  3. Thanks John for commenting and glad you enjoyed. I also thought I would include the comments of Lou Simon of the SiriusXm 60s Satellite Survey since he found another inadvertent error in my post. See his emails below:

    Hi Bruce.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the survey special, as I did your blog post. A fine remembrance.
    One note: don’t think Lennon or McCartney contributed to writing “Little Children”. That’s a Mort Shuman song. He was a great writer of songs like “Save The Last Dance For Me”, “A Teenager In Love”, and loads more.
    Thanks for sharing and, as always, for listening in!
    Lou
    *************
    Thank you, Bruce. I get letters all the time pointing out little deletions or errors….all a sign of age….and all in good spirit from the gathered throngs!
    Nice blog. Good outlet for you. Nicely done.
    Lou
    ________________________________________

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