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A British-invasion Time Line

June 2024
6min read


June 29: American singer Del Shannon (who’s had hits with “Runaway” and “Hats Off to Larry”) releases his recording of the Lennon and McCartney song “From Me to You.” The record enters Billboard ’s Top Hundred chart and stalls.

August 3: The Beatles’ own recording of “From Me to You” enters the American charts at No. 125 and fades from there.

September 16: “She Loves You,” which is, at this date, the No. 12 single in the United Kingdom, is released in the United States on the Swan record label. The record goes nowhere.

December 26: With Britain in the throes of Beatlemania, Capitol Records, the American subsidiary of the Beatles’ EMI record label (which so far has turned down the rights to release every single the group has released in the U.K.), issues a rush release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and its B side, “I Saw Her Standing There.”


January 20: Capitol Records releases the Beatles’ first American LP, Meet the Beatles .

February 7: The Beatles arrive in the U.S. for their first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Breathless crowds await the band; Beatlemania hits our shores.

February 9: The Beatles perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” playing to seventy-three million viewers, the largest television audience to date.

February 12: The Beatles play two shows at Carnegie Hall.

February 15: A Billboard magazine story is headlined U.S. ROCKS AND REELS FROM BRITISH INVASION—BEATLES BEGIN NEW BRITISH ARTIST PUSH . By now the Beatles have five singles in the magazine’s Top Hundred and three albums in the Top LP chart.

March 14: According to Billboard , the Beatles’ output has claimed 60 percent of the U.S. singles market. Two days later Capitol releases “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Advance orders for the single total two million.

March 21: The Searchers’ “Needles and Pins,” co-written by Sonny Bono (of Sonny and Cher), enters the Top Forty chart, where it will peak at No. 13, selling more than a million copies. The Liverpool quartet, surfing the Beatles’ wake, will turn out seven Top Forty hits.

April 4: The Beatles hold the top five positions on the Top Hundred singles chart. A day later the Searchers appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the second British Invasion band to do so.

May 30: The Dave Clark Five, with two Top Ten hits, “Glad All Over” and “Bits and Pieces,” play Carnegie Hall.

June 1: The Rolling Stones land at JFK and two days later make their American television debut on “The Hollywood Palace,” hosted by Dean Martin.

June 6: The Beatles’ Merseybeat brethren Gerry and the Pacemakers’ first single, “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying,” becomes a Top Forty summertime-radio staple, eventually peaking at No. 4.

June 10: “A Hard Day’s Night,” the theme song to the Beatles’ film mockumentary of the mania they live in, is released as a single, along with an LP of the same name.

June 15: The British folk duo Peter and Gordon arrive in the U.S. on the strength of a huge U.K. hit, “World Without Love,” which will eventually go to No. 1 in the U.S. The song was written for them by Lennon and McCartney.

July 11: Dusty Springfield’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’” enters the U.S. Top Forty chart. Later in the summer it will hit No. 6 and become one of Springfield’s eleven Top Forty singles.

August 7: The Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night opens in the U.S. Time’s review is headlined BEATLES BLOW IT . The movie takes in $1.3 million in its first week.

August 19: The Beatles start their U.S. tour at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

August 22: “It’s All Over Now,” the second Rolling Stones single to be released in the States (the first was “Tell Me [You’re Coming Back]“), enters the Top Forty for a sixweek stay, where it will top out at No. 26.

September 4: The Animals debut their English hit single “House of the Rising Sun” before American audiences at the start of a ten-nightstand at New York’s Brooklyn Paramount Theater.

September 12: Manfred Mann’s first single, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” enters the Billboard Top Forty, where it will reside for three months, including two weeks at No. 1.

September 16: “Shindig” premieres on ABC-TV, becoming the nation’s showcase for the fresh product of the British Invaders.

September 19: Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, an act put together by the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, releases its fourth single of 1964 to crack the Top Forty. Three of them, including “Bad to Me,” were written by Lennon and McCartney.

September 20: The Beatles finish their month-long U.S. tour.

October 24: The Kinks’ single “You Really Got Me” enters the Top Forty singles chart and will ultimately crack the Top Ten.

November 1: The Dave Clark Five appear on “Ed Sullivan,” shouting their hit “Glad All Over” while Ed beams his approval over their cleancut looks.

November 7: “She’s Not There,” by the Zombies, a Hertfordshire band, enters the Top Forty and stays at No. 2 for a week.

December 4: The Beatles for Sale album is released in the U.K.

December 19: “Downtown,” by Petula Clark, enters the U.S. charts. By the end of January 1965, it will be the No. 1 song in the country. Clark will produce five more Top Ten hits, including “I Know a Place.” “Love Potion Number Nine,” the Clovers’ 1959 R&B classic, now covered by the Searchers, enters the Top Forty today, destined for a No. 3 finish.

December 31: The Beatles’ single “I Feel Fine” and their album Beatles 65 are certified gold, meaning sales of one million units for each. In 1964 British acts held the No. 1 spot on the American singles chart for twenty-four weeks (eighteen of them by the Beatles).


January 12: NEC-TV’s “Hullabaloo” musical variety show premieres. In a segment shot in London, Brian Epstein presents the American debut of the Zombies and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

January 20: The Rolling Stones and the Kinks debut on “Shindig,” along with the Dave Clark Five, Petula Clark, and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

February 12: Donovan, a Scottish folksinger who is compared to Bob Dylan in the U.K., is signed by Pye Records; his first U.S. hit, “Catch the Wind,” will four months later enter the Top Forty.

February 28: The Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You” becomes the No. 1 single in the U.K.; an American tour is planned.

March 1: Petula Clark’s “Downtown” goes gold, with sales of one million records. Freddie and the Dreamers appear on “Hullabaloo.” Two weeks later the British band’s first single, “I’m Telling You Now,” will appear on American charts, eventually climbing to No. 1 for two weeks in April, the high-water mark of Freddie’s American impact.

March 5: The Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton) release “For Your Love” in the U.K. It will become their first Top Ten hit in the U.S. when it is released later that spring.

March 13: The Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You” begins its climb to the Top Ten, eventually reaching No. 6.

March 20: “Game of Love,” by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, enters the Hot Hundred U.S. singles chart on its way to a No. 1 spot later in the year.

April 10: Freddie and the Dreamers hit No. 1 with “Fm Telling You Now.” Their follow-up novelty single, “Do the Freddie,” will hit No. 18 on the pop chart.

April 13: The Grammy goes to … the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night” for Best Performance by a Vocal Group; the Fab Four are the Best New Artist of 1964. The judges cite “Downtown” by Petula Clark as the “Best Contemporary (Rock & Roll) Recording of 1964.” Go figure.

April 16: The Hollies open their first U.S. tour on the strength of a low-charting single, a cover of “Just One Look.” The band, with shifting personnel, will go on to chart a dozen Top Forty singles in the States.

April 23: The Stones open their third North American tour in Montreal, Canada.

April 29: Gerry and the Pacemakers arrive in New York for a month-long American tour as their single “Ferry Cross the Mersey” heads for the Top Ten.

May 1: The Brits continue their domination of the charts with Herman’s Hermits No. 1 recording, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.” In fact, Herman’s Hermits sell more singles in 1965 than any group except the Beatles.

May 6: In Clearwater, Florida, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards can’t sleep. He wakes up singer Mick Jagger in the middle of the night to play for him the riff that will soon become “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Mick likes it.

June 4: “Satisfaction” enters the U.S. charts, hitting No. 1 stateside before it does in the U.K.

June 14: The album Beatles VI is released in the U.S.

June 16: “Mrs. Brown” goes gold.

June 17: The Kinks arrive in New York City for their first American tour, with three U.S. hits to their name.

June 19: Ian Whitcomb and Bluesville’s “You Turn Me On” enters the U.S. Top Forty chart. The breathy, novelty B side remains high on the chart for most of the summer, eventually climbing to No. 8.

July 10: “Satisfaction” is the No. 1 U.S. single; Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home is the No. 1 album in the U.K. Portents.

August 15: The Beatles play Shea Stadium; 55,600 screaming fans, the largest audience for a rock concert to date, completely drown out the band. This month, their second film, Help , opens in the States.

August 21: The Rolling Stones’ Out of Our Heads , an LP containing “Satisfaction,” reaches No. 1 on the U.S. album chart.

September 23: The Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck replacing Eric Clapton) perform “Heart Full of Soul,” their single that will go on to break into the Top Ten, on “Shindig.”

October 2: The Who debut “I Can’t Explain” for American audiences on “Shindig.” The band won’t have a chart hit for two more years. This week Help is the No. 1 pop LP in both the U.K. and the U.S.

November 6: Bill Graham produces his first rock concert at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, signaling the start of the psychedelic sound’s rise and the end of the British Invasion. Performing that night: prototypical U.S. bands, the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, the Charlatans.

November 30: Rolling Stones play Denver. State government surrenders, declaring this to be Rolling Stones Day in Colorado.

December 4: The Kinks enter the Hot Hundred with “Well Respected Man,” a caustic bit of social commentary on British life using mostly three chords.

December 18: Both sides of the Beatles’ new single, “We Can Work It Out"/"Day Tripper,” enter the Top Hundred and will stay there for months on their way to Top Five positions.

December 24: The Beatles’ LP Rubber Soul goes gold and also marks a new maturity in the group’s songwriting. They are drafted as generational spokesmen.

December 31: By year’s end the Stones have produced a total of ten Hot Hundred singles, the Dave Clark Five eight Top Ten records, and the Beatles twenty-six Top Forty singles along with several gold albums. Yet in 1965 significantly fewer British acts broke into the American market than in 1964. The year 1966 will bring the end of the Beatles’ touring and the flowering of the American psychedelic movement in pop music. You say goodbye, and I say hello.

—Robert Love

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