Which song put the Beatles over the top?
With the recent commotion about the 50th anniversary of when the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, I’ve been reintroduced to my affinity for the Fab Four.
A 12-year-old ’tweener at the time, I well remember the excitement of that Sunday night when the Beatles performed on TV with the young fans in the audience screaming their heads off.
Now, go forward 50 years and remember all of the influences that band from Liverpool had on the entire world. From music to fashion, and beyond, they shook up the world in a way that had never been felt before.
But through all of the time-tested influences of the Beatles, what would you think was the most important song to the success and staying power of theirs? I’m not necessarily talking about the one that made you tap your toes or wiggle your hips the most, but the song that really solidified their importance on the world scene.
At the time, many people predicted that the Beatles were just a passing fancy that wouldn’t be more than a short-lived blip on our collective radar screen. In other words, maybe slightly more than one-hit wonders.
But there had to be one tune that, more than any of the others proved to be the song that exemplified the staying power of the Fab Four.
Oh man, there are literally hundreds of songs penned and/or recorded by the Beatles! Which one could be considered their most important song?
I know the question is subjective, with the answer probably driven mostly by a person’s emotional state at any given point along the Beatlemania trail.
But think about it. What would be your answer?
Are you stuck? Is it hard to come up with an answer right away?
There’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (that one might seem obvious); or, “From Me to You,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Maybe you’d choose “Michelle” or “Yesterday” (often cited as being the most covered song in history — it’s been said that this song has been recorded more than 2,200 times by such divergent singers as Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Lea Michele, Liberace, Bob Dylan and LeAnn Rimes).
I have little trouble coming up with my nomination.
Of all the stars in the Beatles’ galaxy of constellation of super songs, I would, without a moment’s hesitation, pick “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
The quick response would be: Why?
Well, here’s my reasoning.
When “Can’t Buy Me Love” was released in early April of 1964, it went directly to the number one spot on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart. That same listing also rated the rest of the top five songs this way: 2. “Twist & Shout,” 3. “She Loves You,” 4. “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and 5. “Please Please Me.”
In other words, the Beatles had the top five songs all at one time! No musical act had ever done that before. Not Elvis, not the Rolling Stones, not Buddy Holly, not the Platters, not Pat Boone, not the Four Seasons … the list continues ad infinitum.
My research tells me that this feat has never been reached or surpassed in the past 50 years by anybody.
In a nutshell, I contend that this accomplishment cemented the impact of the Beatles not only on my Baby Boomer generation, but on generations of music-lovers since then and yet to be born.
Can’t buy me love? Can’t buy any more respect than I already have for the Beatles and the musical influences they brought to the world.