Beatles in 1964: A Year in Review
Throughout 2014, we've been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking year the Beatles had in 1964. With the anniversary of that historic year coming to an end, we've compiled a handy timeline that chronicles all of the events that made the year so special.
The Beatles' road to success in the States got off to a rocky start. Capitol, EMI's home in the U.S., originally wasn't interested in the group, and its first records were released on small indie labels in 1963. This resulted in minor airplay in some markets, but it wasn't until the end of the year, when Capitol was finally convinced to get behind the band (and forcing them to awkwardly catch up), that U.S. radio took notice. Their whirlwind touring, recording and filmmaking schedule was so frantic for the next 12 months that some people now claim that the Beatles never really existed. Just take a look at their 1964.
Jan. 10: Vee-Jay Records, which had put out the group's first singles in the U.S., releases 'Introducing the Beatles.' The record would go through a complicated legal battle before going out of print in October.
Jan. 18: 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' becomes the first Beatles song to reach the Billboard Hot 100. It debuts at No. 45 and hits the top spot two weeks later.
Feb. 7: They land at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport and charm the media at a press conference.
Feb. 9: An estimated 73 million people tune in to see their first appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' Before the show, they record a few songs to be broadcast on Feb. 23.
Feb. 11: They give their first concert at Washington, D.C.'s the Washington Coliseum. After the show, a reception at the British Embassy turns ugly when an attendee cuts off a piece of Ringo Starr's hair.
Feb. 16: The Beatles perform again on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'
Feb. 18: At a photo-op, they meet boxer Cassius Clay, who was training for his upcoming bout with Sonny Liston. After winning the fight and the heavyweight championship, Clay converts to Islam and changes his name to Muhammad Ali.
March 2: 'A Hard Days Night' begins filming in London.
March 28: The group is immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds famous museum in London.
April 4: The Beatles hold the Top Five positions on the Billboard Hot 100, with seven other songs also making the chart.
April 10: Capitol releases 'The Beatles Second Album.' It is comprised of more songs from 'With the Beatles' and some other stray tracks.
May 1: The first series of Beatles trading cards is issued.
June 3: Ringo Starr is stricken with tonsillitis on the eve of a tour. Jimmy Nicol is quickly recruited to play drums for the next two weeks.
June 26: During their tour of New Zealand, the Beatles' flight from Auckland to Dunedin is delayed when someone phones in the threat of a "germ bomb" planted on the plane.
July 6: 'A Hard Days Night' premieres in London to unexpectedly positive reviews. An album of the same name is released in the U.K. four days later.
Dec. 4: 'Beatles For Sale,' their fourth album, is released. Its cover photo, and music, reveals that the frenetic pace of 1964 was starting to take its toll on the group.
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