On this day in 1964, The Beatle’s smash album Can’t Buy Me Love is released. The album broke numerous records, becoming the largest advance-selling record in history, with 2.1 million advance orders placed around the world. The album also helped the Beatles break Elvis Presley’s record for most concurrent singles on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Chart: By mid-April, the Beatles had 14 songs on the chart, beating Elvis’ 1956 record of nine. By April 4, the Beatles became the first band ever to hold all top five positions on Billboard‘s Hot 100, led by the single “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The song became the only single ever to leap to the No. 1 spot from a ranking below No. 20 the previous week, sailing to the top after debuting a week earlier at No. 27.The hits came as a welcome change for a group that had been rejected by numerous record labels in Europe in the early 1960s. The band started in 1958, as Johnny and the Moondogs, featuring Liverpool musicians John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. The band evolved through several names, and members, until 1962, when drummer Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best, and the group recorded “Love Me Do,” their first Top 20 hit in the United Kingdom. In 1964, they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, and Beatlemania invaded the United States.
As the band evolved, its members experimented with a variety of different musical styles that ranged from the simple (“I Want to Hold Your Hand”) to the innovative (“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which used electronic music and a sitar).
The Beatles received the Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 at Buckingham Palace, and their immense popularity prompted Lennon to tell a newspaper reporter, “We’re more popular than Jesus Christ right now.” Beatlemaniacs searched for hidden meanings in Beatles songs and album covers, and the release of Abbey Road, allegedly filled with coded clues, sparked rumors that McCartney was dead.
When the band broke up in 1970, the members continued their music careers as solo artists or bandleaders. In 1980, a crazed fan murdered Lennon as the musician left his New York apartment building. Eight years after his death, the Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a retrospective anthology was released in 1995. The album, Anthology, included the previously unrecorded “Free as a Bird,” which was written by Lennon and recorded by the surviving band members in 1994 and 1995. It became one of the fastest-selling albums in history. In November 2000, record label EMC released Beatles 1, a compendium of the Beatles’ 27 Number One hits, including “Love Me Do,” “I Feel Fine” and “Yellow Submarine.”
(With thanks to History.com)