"Just about everyone is tired of the Beatles."
So read the first line of a story on page 1 of the Billboard magazine dated April 4, 1964, exactly 50 years ago today. That was the week that the Beatles made history as the only act ever to simultaneously occupy the Billboard Hot 100 chart's entire top five positions.
So … why was Billboard printing such seeming blasphemy?
"Disk jockeys are tired of playing the hit group," the story continued. (Cleverly headlined "Chart Crawls With Beatles," the item was written by Jack Maher and Tom Noonan, the latter of whom launched the Hot 100 in 1958.) "The writers of trade and consumer publication articles are tired of writing about them and the manufacturers of product other than the Beatles are tired of hearing about them."
Billboard, of course, noted one key exception.
"Everyone's tired of the Beatles – except the listening and buying public."
With a 27-1 second-week blast to the top for "Can't Buy Me Love," the Fab Four locked up the Hot 100's entire top five: 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"
The closest any artist has come to the Beatles' airtight top five mark is 50 Cent, who placed three titles simultaneously – "Candy Shop" (No. 1); the Game's "How We Go," on which he's featured (No. 4); and "Disco Inferno" (No. 5) – in the top five on the charts dated March 12 and 19, 2005.
Beginning a five-week reign, "Buy" marked the Beatles' third No. 1, directly following "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and second leader "She Loves You." No other act has linked three consecutive No. 1s in the Hot 100's 55-year history.
The 26-position jump to the summit for "Buy" additionally stood as a record for the greatest jump to No. 1 for nearly 38 years, until Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" rocketed 52-1 in 2002. (Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" currently holds the mark, courtesy of a 97-1 vault in February 2009).
With 20 career leaders, the Beatles lead all acts for the most No. 1s in the Hot 100's archives.
Slightly more than two months prior to their top five stranglehold, the Fab Four had made their landmark debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show," kicking off American Beatlemania. Billboard recapped the shift in music and pop culture forever more that the group's stateside invasion spurred in the magazine's Jan. 11 cover story.
Meanwhile, chart trivia fans, take note: What was the highest-ranking non-Beatles single the week of April 4, 1964? Terry Stafford's "Suspicion," which rose 7-6. The single, released on the Crusader label, would peak at No. 3 the following week. Later audiences would come to know Stafford's work thanks to another Billboard record-holder, George Strait, who boasts the most No. 1s (44) in the Hot Country Songs chart's history. Strait's cover of Stafford's "Amarillo By Morning" (co-written with Paul Fraser) hit No. 4 Hot Country Songs in 1982 and remains one of the King of Country's signature songs.