1964 was a monumental year in pop music history.
John Lennon & Paul McCartney’s I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
composition was The Beatles’ breakthrough single in America, reaching #1
on Billboard’s Hot 100 in February that year. It had topped the UK chart
the previous December.
SHE LOVES YOU also hit #1 here in March ’64 followed by CAN’T BUY ME LOVE
at #1 that April, LOVE ME DO that May, A HARD DAY’S NIGHT hitting #1
on August 1st and I FEEL FINE closing out the year at #1 that December.
What became known here as The British Invasion was underway.
In additionto The Beatles, a host of other British groups and singers
broke through on the Hot 100 in ’64 including the following artists:
The Animals was the R&B-influenced group from Newcastle
led by singer Eric Burdon. Their organist Alan Price took solo credit
as arranger of the traditional HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN
which captured the #1 slot here in September.
With a different arrangement, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN
had been included on Bob Dylan’s first album two years earlier.
The Animals’ version was produced by Mickie Most.
Burdon & Price wrote their follow-up titled
which reached #19 in November and then in the following month,
their version of John Lee Hooker’s
entered the Hot 100, peaking at #43
in January ’65.
The Bachelors were three Irish singers who racked up
old-style sentimental ballad hits on both sides of the Atlantic.
Their revival of the 1927 ballad DIANE
(Erno Rapee/Lew Pollack)
topped the charts in Britain in February ’64
and hereit hit #10 in Billboard in June.
Produced by Michael Barclay.
Cilla Black was a Liverpool friend of the Beatles and she sang
an English lyric version of a romantic Italian ballad titled
YOU’RE MY WORLD
(Umberto Bindi/Gino Paoli/Carl Sigman)
that took her to #26 on the Hot 100
in August ‘64.
She also charted here (#79 that October) with
IT’S FOR YOU
written specially for her by John & Paul.
George Martin was her producer.
Chad & Jeremy were Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde,
a British soft-rock duo who enjoyed more success here than back home.
Produced by Shel Talmy, they had three titles on the Hot 100 in ’64 namely
(Chad Stuart/Wendy Kidd)
which reached #21 in July,
A SUMMER SONG
(Chad Stuart/Clive Metcalfe/Keith Noble)
#7 in October and a revival of Ann Ronell’s 1933 ballad
WILLOW WEEP FOR ME
which debuted in November and reached #15 in January ’65.
The Dave Clark Five was from Tottenham, North London
and were one of the most successful British groups here
in the early days of the Invasion. Drummer Dave and
their singer Mike Smith wrote their first two million-sellers
GLAD ALL OVER
which reached #6 and
BITS AND PIECES
that hit #4. They also cut covers of U.S. songs including Bobby Day’s
OVER AND OVER, their only #1 here in ’65. Production credit was to Adrian Clark,
a pseudonym used by Dave Clark along with Lansdowne engineer Adrian Kerridge.
Petula Clark had been a child actress/singer in Britain since the 1950’s
but it was her recording of
that introduced here to American audiences.
Produced and written by Tony Hatch, it entered the Hot 100 at #87
in December ’64 and swiftly climbed to #1 in January ’65 and she repeated
that success with another Hatch composition MY LOVE in February ’65.
Marianne Faithfull was famously Mick Jagger’s
girlfriend and her first hit single was
AS TEARS GO BY
written by Mick, Keith Richards and her producer Andrew Loog Oldham.
It debuted here in November ’64 and reached #22 in January ’65.
The arrangement was by Mike Leander. Marianne started ’65 here with
Jackie DeShannon’s composition COME AND STAY WITH ME.
Gerry & The Pacemakers kept the Liverpool flag flying here initially
with two major hits, firstly with Gerry Marsden’s own composition
DON’T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING
(#4 in July) and then with Mitch Murray’s song
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
which reached #9 that September.
George Martin was their producer.
Herman’s Hermits came from Manchester in northwest England.
Led by singer/actor Peter Noone (Herman), they first broke into the Hot 100
with a Mickie Most-produced remake of the Gerry Goffin/Carole King song
I’M INTO SOMETHING GOOD
(#13 in December ’64). They went on to score two #1’s here in ’65
namely MRS. BROWN YOU’VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER
(written by British sitcom actor Trevor Peacock)
and WONDERFUL WORLD
(penned by Sam Cooke, Lou Adler & Herb Alpert).
The Hollies were also from Manchester and their line-up included
singer Allan Clarke and singer/guitarist Graham Nash.
They enjoyed major Billboard hits in ’66 (BUS STOP and STOP STOP STOP)
but their cover of Doris Troy’s
JUST ONE LOOK
(Doris Payne/Greg Carroll)
eked into the Hot 100 at #98 in May ’64.
Their producer was Ron Richards.
The Honeycombs: Pop group remembered
for their female drummer Ann ‘Honey’ Lantree
and their Joe Meek-produced
HAVE I THE RIGHT?
(Howard Blaikley/Alan Blaikley)
which reached #5 here in November ‘64.
The Kinks hailed from Muswell Hill in North London
and famously included Ray Davies and his brother Dave.
Singer, guitarist and harmonica player Ray wrote
hit after hit including their UK chart topper
YOU REALLY GOT ME
which achieved the #7 slot here in
November ’64 followed by
ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT
which entered the Hot 100 that December
and crested at #7 in February ’65.
Their producer was Shel Talmy.
Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas
was another Brian Epstein-managed group from Liverpool.
They debuted with a double-sided single coupling
(J. Leslie McFarland/Mort Shuman)
BAD TO ME
charting at #7 and #9 respectively.
George Martin was their producer.
Lulu is the Scottish singer & actress whose first hit with her group
The Luvers found her pitching her powerful voice with the Isley Brothers’
Produced by Peter Sullivan, it made its mark at #94 in August ’64.
Lulu eventually hit #1 here in ’67 with the title song from the Sidney Poitier film
“To Sir With Love” in which she appeared.
Manfred Mann was a five-man group formed by keyboard-playing
Manfred himself and featuring Paul Jones as lead singer.
Produced by EMI’s John Burgess, they scored success
covering American hit songs beginning with
Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich’s
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
(originally by The Exciters)
which hit #1 on Billboard in October ’64.
They followed it up with SHA LA LA
written by Robert Mosely and Robert Taylor for The Shirelles.
That entered the Hot 100 in November ’64
and crested at #12 the following January.
George Martin was not just a producer
but also an artist in his own right via his Orchestral recordings.
His single of RINGO’S THEME
charted here in July ’64 and had reached #53 by September.
RINGO’S THEME was an instrumental adaptation of Lennon & McCartney’s
composition THIS BOY as it is used to accompany the sequence
in the film “A Hard Day’s Night” in which Ringo walks alone
in the streets and by a canal.
The Nashville Teens were not from Tennessee but from Weybridge in Surrey,
England but they charted here in ’64 with John D. Loudermilk’s song TOBACCO ROAD
that hitting #14 that November.
Peter & Gordon were Peter Asher and Gordon Waller
who met and became friends at London’s Westminster School.
Later to become a major record producer, Peter was the brother of
Paul McCartney’s then-girlfriend Jane Asher.
The first Peter & Gordon hit was Lennon & McCartney’s
A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE.
Produced by Norman Newell, it hit #1 here in June,
following up with two further Lennon/McCartney songs
NOBODY I KNOW
(#12 in August)
and I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN
which achieved #16 in November.
Brian Poole & The Tremeloes clocked up a very minor seller here
with an obscure Crickets B-side
(Norman Petty/Ed Greines)
(#99 in September ’64) but had greater success as
The Tremeloes after Brian Poole left two years later.
Mike Smith was their producer.
The Rolling Stones Led by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards,
they remain one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
Their first chart songs here in ’64 were
the Buddy Holly/Norman Petty composition
NOT FADE AWAY
(it hit #48),
Mick & Keith’s TELL ME (You’re Coming Back)
Bobby & Shirley Womack’s IT’S ALL OVER NOW
(#26 here) and Jerry Ragovoy’s glorious
TIME IS ON MY SIDE
which captured #6 in December.
Andrew Loog Oldham was their manager
and producer back then.
The Searchers was another group from Merseyside.
Their initial seller here was the Sonny Bono/Jack Nitzsche song
NEEDLES AND PINS
(#13 in April) that had charted here by Jackie DeShannon.
One of Jackie’s own compositions WHEN YOU WALK IN THE ROOM
also charted for them (#35 that November) and then their
biggest stateside success came with the Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller song
LOVE POTION NUMBER NINE
which entered the Hot 100 in November and peaked at #3 in January ’65.
Their producer was Tony Hatch.
Sandie Shaw was born in Dagenham, Essex and was a
hugely popular singer in the UK in the 60’s.
Produced by Tony Hatch, her debut hit was a cover of Lou Johnson’s
original of Burt Bacharach & Hal David’s
(There’s) ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE TO REMIND ME
which topped the UK chart in October ’64.
Here it entered the Hot 100 in November ’64
and reached #52 in January ’65.
Millie Small was the Jamaican-born singer who hit #2
on the Hot 100 in July ’64 with a 1956 composition rearranged
as a reggae song under the title
MY BOY LOLLIPOP
It was produced in London by Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell.
Dusty Springfield was to become a major international recording artist.
Her first solo U.S. hit was
I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU
(Mike Hawker/Ivor Raymonde)
which reached #12 in March ’64 and her first Top Ten
achiever here was Burt Bacharach & Hal David’s
WISHIN’ AND HOPIN’,
which hit #6 that August.
Dusty’s producer was Johnny Franz.
The Swinging Blue Jeans was another successful Liverpool group
who found gold recording existing American songs, the most successful
being Chan Romero’s
HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE
which made it to #24 on the Hot 100 in April ’64. Produced by Walter J. Ridley.
Their follow-up revival of Little Richard’s
GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY
also charted here in ’64.
The Zombies was a five-man group of students from St. Albans
in Hertfordshire, England. Their lead singer was Colin Blunstone who later had
solo UK hits in the 70’s & 80’s.
Their most successful songs written by their keyboard player
Rod Argent began with
SHE’S NOT THERE
which peaked at #2 in Billboard in December ’64. T
heir producer was Kenny Jones.
P.J. Proby was a Texas-born singer but he belongs in this section
as his upbeat revival of the 1933 Jack Little/David Oppenheim/Ira Schuster ballad
was recorded in London in ’64 with musical director Charles Blackwell
and producer Jack Good. It was a huge UK success and it charted here at #70
that September. P.J’s later UK recordings were produced by Ron Richards.
Finally, there was a British singing girl trio called The Carefrees
who charted in ’64 with WE LOVE YOU BEATLES (Charles Strouse/Lee Adams)
which was based on the “Bye Bye Birdie” song “We Love You Conrad”.
One of the girls had earlier recorded as Lyn Cornell on UK Decca,
charting there in 1960 with a version of the movie song “Never On Sunday”.
The Carefrees didn’t chart in their homeland and neither did
London-born singer Bobby Shafto whose single
SHE’S MY GIRL
(Len Beadle/Robin Conrad)
made a brief appearance here in July ’64 at #99.
Yes the floodgates had opened and in 1965,
various other British artists appeared
on the Hot 100 for the first time including
The Who, Donovan, The Yardbirds, Them,
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders,
Freddie & The Dreamers, Shirley Bassey, John Barry,
Tom Jones, Ian Whitcomb, Georgie Fame, Jonathan King,
The Fortunes, The Moody Blues, Unit Four Plus Two, Adam Faith,
The Ivy League, Helen Shapiro, The Seekers and Sounds Orchestral.
But Before 1964…
A look back at earlier British hits
All the Beatles 45’s mentioned above were produced by George Martin
but they weren’t his first entries into the Hot 100. In 1958, he had produced a
successful UK cover version of Bobby Darin’s song SPLISH SPLASH
by a local pint-sized comedian called Charlie Drake.
That didn’t chart here but one of Drake’s later best-selling singles did;
it was the novelty song
MY BOOMERANG WON’T COME BACK
which in March ’62 reached #21 in Billboard.
The previous year had seen another of George’s productions namely
MY KIND OF GIRL
(written by Leslie Bricusse)
by ballad singer Matt Monro reach #18 here.
In addition, George’s production of TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN, SPORT
written and sung by disgraced Australian entertainer Rolf Harris
made it all the way to #3 here in July ’63.
At that time, George Martin was one of EMI’s roster of key London-based
A&R men as was Norman Newell who in 1957 produced the vintage song
HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS
(Robert Lindon/William Henry)
by Laurie London.
Laurie was just 13 years old when it was recorded
for the UK Parlophone label. The single hit #1 here in April ’58.
Before she went solo, Dusty Springfield (listed above)
was a member of the folk trio The Springfields along with her brother
Tom Springfield and Tim Feild.
Tim was later replaced by Mike Hurst.
Their most successful single here was
SILVER THREADS AND GOLDEN NEEDLES
(Dick Reynolds & Jack Rhodes)
which had been first recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1956.
The Springfields’ version reached #20 here in September ’62.
Britain’s #1 rock’n’roll idol was Cliff Richard
and one of his early successes was
Written by Lionel Bart and produced by EMI’s Norrie Paramor,
it made it up to #39 here in November 1959.
Norrie also struck gold with British yodeling singer Frank Ifield
and his revival of Jimmy Dorsey’s 1942 ballad success
I REMEMBER YOU
(Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer).
It crested at #5 on the Hot 100 in October ’62.
The most successful British single here in 1962 was the
satellite-inspired sound-effects laden instrumental
TELSTAR by The Tornados,
written & produced by Joe Meek.
It reached #1 that December.
Frankie Vaughan was a Liverpool-born singer & actor
who was a major television and cabaret entertainer in Britain
in the 50’s & 60’s and even appeared in a Hollywood film
with Marilyn Monroe.
In his homeland, he had a long string of successful recordings
often of American songs but here, only one single registered
namely JUDY in ’58.
Back in the mid-50’s in Britain, folk/blues-based
skiffle music was a very popular craze and the king of the skiffle
ROCK ISLAND LINE
(Trad. Arr: Lonnie Donegan)
Recorded in 1954 and credited to The Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group,
it reached #8 in the UK in January ’56 and #8 here that April.
Lonnie later recorded an updated version of a 1924 novelty song
DOES YOUR CHEWING GUM LOSE IT’S FLAVOUR (On The Bedpost Over Night)
(Billy Rose/Marty Bloom/Ernest Breuer)
which reached #3 in the UK in ’59 and here,
it made it to #5 in ’61.
London-born actor/singer/songwriter Anthony Newley
enjoyed much success in his home country in the early 60’s
and his second UK #1 was Lionel Bart’s song
DO YOU MIND
was a minor seller here in 1960. Separately,
both Newley and Bart also wrote smash-hit stage musicals.
British trumpeter Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen had a UK hit in 1961
with an adaptation of MOSCOW NIGHTS which they recorded as
MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW.
Over here, it climbed to #2 on the Hot 100 in March ’62.
Another British jazzman was Chris Barber whose Jazz Band charted here
at #5 in March ’59 with Sidney Bechet’s sublime melody
featuring Monty Sunshine on clarinet.
British clarinet-playing jazzman Mr. Acker Bilk hit #1 in
Billboard in May 1962 with the serene instrumental theme
STRANGER ON THE SHORE.
Bilk had written the melody for a local TV series of the same name.
Ten years earlier than STRANGER ON THE SHORE,
Britain’s Forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn topped the Hit Parade with
AUF WIEDERSEH’N SWEETHEART,
an English lyric adaptation of a German song written by
Eberhard Storch, John Sexton & John Turner. Vera enjoyed other American
best-sellers including a German composition YOU CAN’T BE TRUE, DEAR
(#9 in ’48), the ballad YOURS based on the Cuban song QUIERME MUCHO
plus her all-time signature song WE’LL MEET AGAIN which crested at #29 in ’54.
Another British ballad singer who was popular
during the war years was Anne Shelton.
Two of her singles
and GALWAY BAY
made inroads in the U.S. charts on the London label in ’49
and seven years later, her Swedish-originated anthem
LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS
(Paddy Roberts/Aake Gerhard/Leon Land)
topped the UK chart and was a minor Hot 100 contender in ’56.
Scottish singer/comedian Andy Stewart with The White Heather Group
logged two singles on the lower rungs of the Hot 100 in 1961, namely
A SCOTTISH SOLDIER (Green Hills Of Tyrol)
(Andy Stewart/Iain McFadyen)
DONALD WHERE’S YOUR TROOSERS?
(Andy Stewart/Neil Grant).
Among the worldwide box-office movie hits in 1949
was the director Carol Reed’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s
post-war mystery thriller THE THIRD MAN. Its haunting theme music
was written and played on a zither by Austrian-born Anton Karas
on a UK Decca recording and in 1950,
THE THIRD MAN THEME
topped the charts here on the London label.
Singer, comedienne and movie star Gracie Fields had two successful 78’s
here on London. NOW IS THE HOUR (#3 in 1948) and FOREVER AND EVER
which reached #23 in ’49.
Both were original UK Decca recordings.
Two further UK Decca artists had success here in the 1950’s.
The cascading strings of Mantovani & His Orchestra
captured the imagination of audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with 1927 melody CHARMAINE
(Erno Rapee/Lew Pollack)
(#10 here in 1951)
and THE SONG FROM MOULIN ROUGE (Where Is Your Heart)
which reached #8 in ’53. Mantovani & His Orchestra also accompanied
British singing tenor David Whitfield on the hugely successful British song
CARA MIA written by Mantovani himself along with producer Bunny Lewis.
Over here, it reached the Top Ten in ’54 and was followed
by two further Whitfield Billboard chart singles that year namely
(Charles Chaplin/John Turner/Geoffrey Parsons)
and the yuletide favorite
(Al Hoffman/Dick Manning/Belle Nardone).
Finally, David Whitfield reached #7 here in ’55 with
the Sammy Cahn & Nicholas Brodszky ballad
I’LL NEVER STOP LOVING YOU from the film
“Love Me Or Leave Me”.
That concludes my overview of just some of the artists
whose British recordings gained success over here during
the years prior to the beginning of the British Invasion in ’64.
US Chart positions quoted above are as published
originally in Billboard magazines;
they were researched and compiled by Joel Whitburn
in his series of Chart Books published by Record Research Inc.
His recommended books are available thru theirwebsite
As in all my postings, the recordings listed and referenced above
are in no way intended as definitive collections.
Please send any comments or suggestions to
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