BACKSTORY: Beatles Were #1 BEFORE They Came to America
Thanks for the question...keep 'em comin'!
Q: When was the Beatles song I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND first heard on American radio? It was already a #1 record before the Beatles even came here.
A: It's true...that song was #1 in America before the Beatles came to America. It began with 15-year-old Marsha Thompson who wrote to deejay Carroll James at WWDC radio in Washington D.C. asking him to play some Beatle music; she, along with the rest of the country, had seen rumblings on the TV news and publications like Life Magazine about this British group that was causing such an uproar overseas. James' girlfriend, who was a stewardess, was able to bring him back a copy of I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND from England. Once the single was in hand, James had 15-year-old Marsha intoduce the song on the air and I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND hit our airwaves for the first time on December 17, 1963. James played the song every hour until it finally got noticed by other local deejays and the ball began to roll. Ten days later, Capitol Records – who had rejected any Beatle music but still had the rights – was forced to release the single due to the overwhelming demand. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 18, 1964 and went to #1 for seven straight weeks (it wasn't until February 9th that the Beatles made their U.S. television debut). I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the home of Jane Asher, Paul's girlfriend, where they would write other Beatle tunes as well. Lennon said in 1980: “I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, 'Oh you-u-u/ got that something...' And Paul hits this chord (E minor) and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other's noses.”