Beatlemania at 50: The Fab Four's Legendary Chart History

A detail from the April 4, 1964 issue of Billboard Magazine, showing The Beatles in the top two spots

It's hard to believe that it's been 50 years since Beatlemania arrived in America, but on February 9th, 1964, the Fab Four played "The Ed Sullivan Show" and -- well, you know the rest. It's history. This newest issue of Billboard features a lengthy analysis of John, Paul, George and Ringo's ascent through the lens of modern "virality." Below is the first of two supplementals to that feature which we're publishing online -- you can pick up a copy of the magazine here if you'd like to read it in full  -- a look at the Beatles' extensive chart history.

 

It will take Jay Z just six more No. 1 albums to catch up with the Fab Four's record pace.

 

THE BILLBOARD HOT 100
  • The Beatles reign as the No. 1 artist of the Billboard Hot 100’s first 55 years (Billboard, Aug. 10, 2013). Madonna (No. 2) and Elton John (No. 3) follow.
  • The Fab Four hold one of the most vaunted records in all of Billboard chart history: the most Hot 100 No. 1s (20) of all time.
  • The band boasts the most Hot 100 top 10s among groups (34), from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in 1964 through “Free As a Bird” in 1996.
  • Another esteemed Billboard chart record: The Beatles are the only act to chart in the Hot 100’s top five simultaneously. The week of April 4, 1964, they ranked at Nos. 1-5 with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me,” respectively.
  • And, thanks to “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” the Beatles are the only act in the Hot 100’s history to link three consecutive No. 1s.
THE BILLBOARD 200
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  • Two weeks after the Beatles made their debut on the Hot 100 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” they started their legendary run on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
  • To date, the band holds the record for the most No. 1 albums in the history of the tally, with 19. (In second place is Jay Z, with 13.)
  • On Feb. 1, 1964, the group entered the chart with its first U.S. album for Capitol Records, "Meet the Beatles!" It bowed at No. 92 and sailed to No. 1 in just two weeks, rising to No. 3 in its second week, then to No. 1 in its third frame (on Feb. 15). It bumped the Singing Nun’s self-titled album out of the top slot, where it had spent the past 10 straight weeks.
  • "Meet the Beatles!" went on to spend 11 weeks at No. 1, kicking off a frenzied year for the act atop the album chart. For 20 nonconsecutive weeks in 1964, the Beatles concurrently had the Nos. 1 and 2 titles on the chart.
  • From Feb. 29 through April 25, "Meet the Beatles!" was No. 1, while "Introducing . . . The Beatles" (on Vee-Jay Records) was the runner-up. ("Meet the Beatles!" was so popular, it prevented "Introducing . . . The Beatles" from hitting the top. Thus, it was stuck at No. 2 for nine weeks.)
  • Then, on May 2 and May 9, the act’s second set for Capitol -- "The Beatles’ Second Album" -- was No. 1 while "Meet the Beatles!" slid to No. 2.
  • "The Beatles’ Second Album" ruled for five weeks atop the Billboard 200 and was the second of three No. 1s for the band in 1964.
  • The Fab Four notched a third chart-topper that year with the soundtrack to “A Hard Day’s Night,” which jumped from No. 12 to No. 1 on the July 25 chart and crowned the list for 14 straight weeks. The soundtrack spent more weeks at No. 1 than any Beatles album except for "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band," which spent 15 weeks at No. 1 in 1967.
  • Like "Meet the Beatles!," the soundtrack blocked yet another Beatles album from hitting the top: "Something New." The latter Capitol release claimed the No. 2 slot for nine consecutive weeks between Aug. 22 and Oct. 17.