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1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Charts

Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:29 am

Alan Hanson is one of our finest Elvis scholars. He published an essential book in 2007, Elvis ’57: The Final Fifties Tours, and launched Elvis-History-Blog.com the following year. It is always worth a visit, with scads of interesting topics. Today I read one that might be of interest to many of our members, given some current discussions here at FECC. It is transcribed below.

Enjoy!

In 1964 Elvis Presley Abdicated
His Throne as King of the Charts


On July 6, 1963, Billboard printed an article headlined “Presley’s Number 1 Hit Record Overwhelming.” The article opened with the following prediction: “Elvis Presley is so far ahead of the pack with No. 1 singles that it is doubtful if any artist ever will catch him.” Elvis’s chart performance to that time seemingly made that a safe assumption. Starting with Heartbreak Hotel in 1956, Presley had hit the top spot on the Billboard singles chart with 16 different releases, according to the article. (By my count, it was actually only 13 at that point.)


KingElvisArt.jpg


Billboard went back 15 years to 1948 to compile statistics for their article. Perry Como came in second to Elvis with just three #1 records. Certainly, no recording artist or group would ever approach Elvis's chart-topping record. Right? But the act that would displace Elvis as king of the record charts had already started making noise across the pond.

On its international music page in its November 2, 1963, issue, Billboard took notice of the rising storm that was The Beatles. “The group’s rise to fame is being compared here to the early success story of Elvis Presley,” the magazine’s British agent noted. “When the group made its debut on the Palladium-TV show on October 13, police placed a cordon round the theater throughout the day and battled with fans who tried to force their way in during rehearsals.”

Of course, Beatlemania spread quickly to the U.S. The following timeline from 1964 shows how The Beatles’ takeover of the American record charts was made easier by the abdication of the reigning chart king. Presley’s series of weak singles that year revealed that his previous commitment to recording had been replaced by an obligation to movie-making.

January 4, 1964: A double-page ad in Billboard announces the American release of The Beatles’ first album, Meet the Beatles! and their first single, I Want to Hold Your Hand. The ad declared, “Among record buyers, ‘Beatlemania’ has proved absolutely contagious. Over 3,000,000 discs already sold in England alone. So be prepared for the kind of sales epidemic that made THE BEATLES the biggest-selling vocal group in British history!”

February 1: I Want to Hold Your Hand takes over the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. It becomes The Beatles’ first #1 single in the United States. Elvis has no record on the chart at the time.

February 7: The Beatles receive a tumultuous welcome in New York as they arrive to begin their first American tour.


Beatles1964.jpg


February 9: The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. On air Sullivan reads a telegram from Elvis and the Colonel welcoming The Beatles to America.

February 22: With I Want to Hold Your Hand and She Loves You, The Beatles hold the top two spots on the Billboard chart. (Elvis had performed the same feat with Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog on October 6, 1956.) That same week Elvis’s new release, Kissin’ Cousins, enters the Hot 100 at #63. Four weeks later it stalled out at #12, making it Elvis’s worst ever chart performing regular RCA single release to that point.

March 6: Elvis’s first movie of 1964 is released. Kissin’ Cousins does $3 million worth of business and finishes at #26 on Variety’s list of “Big Rental Pictures of 1964.”

March 14: Beatles singles I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, and Please, Please Me hold the top three spots on the Hot 100, something Elvis had never accomplished.

April 4: Beatlemania reaches its peak on the Billboard chart. The Fab Four have the top five spots on the Hot 100 (#1 Can’t Buy Me Love, #2 Twist and Shout, #3 She Loves You, #4 I Want to Hold Your Hand, and #5 Please, Please Me.) Seven other Beatles records are also on the chart, giving the group a record 12 spots in the Hot 100 at the same time. Elvis previously held the record with 11 sides on Billboard’s chart of February 2, 1957.

April 11: Love Me Do becomes The Beatles’ fourth #1 record of 1964, breaking another Presley chart record. Elvis had three #1 singles in both 1956 and 1957.

May 2: Kiss Me Quick, first released on Elvis’s 1962 album Pot Luck, enters the Billboard singles chart at #79. It stays on the list for just six weeks, peaking at #34.


PotLuckLP.jpg


May 9: Viva Las Vegas enters the Hot 100 at #87. While today it is one of Elvis’s most recognizable songs, it only reached #29 during its seven-week chart run. The flip side of the single, What’d I Say, did a little better, peaking at #21.

June 17: MGM’s Viva Las Vegas is released nationwide. With the double star power of Elvis and Ann-Margret, the film brought in $4.675 million by year’s end, good enough for the #11 spot on Variety’s list of “Big Rental Pictures of 1964.” It was two spots ahead of The Beatles’ A Hard Days Night, giving Elvis his only “win” over the Fab Four in 1964.

July 10: The Beatles’ first movie, A Hard Day’s Night, is released in the U.S. It does $4.473 million at the box office, good enough for 13th place on Variety’s list of “Big Rental Pictures of 1964.” Variety projected, however, that A Hard Day’s Night would ultimately earn revenue of $5.8 million, topping the magazine's projection of $5 million for Viva Las Vegas.

July 18: A Hard Day’s Night becomes The Beatles’ fifth #1 single of 1964.

July 25: Such a Night, culled from the 1960 album Elvis is Back, enters the Hot 100 as a single at #82. With an eight-week chart life, it tops out at #16.

October 10: Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby debuts at #76 on the Billboard chart. It’s the third time that RCA has dug into its archives for an Elvis single in 1964. This time it’s a tune rejected for release in 1958. It was Elvis’s last chance to crack the top 10 in 1964. He didn’t make it. Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby ran out of gas at #16. Ask Me on the flip side did a little better, peaking at #12.

November 7: For the first time since January 18, The Beatles are not represented in the Hot 100. Their streak of 41 weeks was far short of Elvis’s record of 135 straight weeks on Billboard’s singles chart from January 3, 1956, through September 22, 1958.

November 11: Roustabout, Elvis’s third feature film of 1964, opens nationwide. It marked the first of six consecutive years that Presley would release three pictures per year.

December 5: I Feel Fine becomes The Beatles sixth #1 single of 1964.

In January 1965, when Billboard printed its list of the Top 100 Records of 1964, Elvis’s fall from chart dominance was painfully apparent by his absence. None of his five 1964 singles were to be found anywhere on the list. The Beatles had nine songs in the year’s top 100, including I Want to Hold Your Hand at #1 and She Loves You at #2.

Other artists on the list who beat out Elvis included Terry Stafford with his version of Suspicion, a cover of Elvis’s recording two years earlier; the Newbeats with their goofy recording of Bread and Butter; Roger Miller with the drinking song Chug-A-Lug; the Trashmen doing Surfin’ Bird;” Gene Simmons singing (I guess) Haunted House; and Johnny Rivers, who some feel robbed Elvis of his best opportunity for a big hit in 1964 by beating Presley to the marketplace with his version of Memphis.

The chart beat down he took from The Beatles in 1964 should have been a clear clarion call to Elvis that he needed to rededicate himself to his recording career. And yet, he continued to stumble on for four more years issuing mediocre singles from mediocre movie soundtracks.

Before The Beatles broke up in 1970, they had amassed 20 #1 singles, easily breaking Elvis’s chart-topping record that in 1963 seemed safe for all eternity. Presley’s chart comeback in 1969-70 was too little, too late. Of course, Elvis’s longevity still leaves him with most other chart records over The Beatles. But for Elvis fans it’s still galling that he let the big record get away when refocusing on the recording studio in the mid and late sixties probably could have produced a few more #1s and kept The Beatles in second place. | Alan Hanson (October 2009)


1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Charts
http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/elvis-1964.html


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Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:02 am

Here is the summer 1963 article that inspired Alan's blog entry:


Billboard Jul 06 1963 p4.JPG
Billboard - July 6, 1963
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Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:13 am

And here is the winter 1963 article that foreshadows the enormous changes on the horizon:


Billboard Nov 02 1963 p30.JPG
Billboard - November 2, 1963
Note headline: "Beatles Soar To Success"
President John F. Kennedy would be killed in Dallas, TX in less than three weeks.



Interestingly, the piece comes from Chris Hutchins of the New Musical Express, who would later accompany the Beatles on their evening out to see Elvis at his Bel Air home in the summer of 1965.
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:16 am

Absolutely Great! Thank You, Doc. It's clear how great 1964 was for the Beatles. I wonder now how was in 1969 (the greatest year of Elvis in the charts from 1964 to 1977): If Elvis had three top ten hits then (In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and Don't Cry, Daddy), The Beatles what had in the charts in that year?

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:18 am

Great and interesting reading. Thanks a lot.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:23 am

jurasic1968 wrote:Absolutely Great! Thank You, Doc. It's clear how great 1964 was for the Beatles. I wonder now how was in 1969 (the greatest year of Elvis in the charts from 1964 to 1977): If Elvis had three top ten hits then (In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and Don't Cry, Daddy), The Beatles what had in the charts in that year?


Thanks. Hanson put together a very cogent story about Elvis' 1964 abdication.

To answer your side query, in 1969 the Fab Four made the U.S. Top Ten four times:

"Get Back" #1
"The Ballad of John and Yoko" #8
"Something" #3
"Come Together" #1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles_discography#Singles

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:07 am

Thank you again, Doc. I read all the Beatles chart hits from your link and even in 1969 and 1970 (in the year of their break-up) they had many more hits than Elvis. Regarding Alan Hanson - I think his site is excellent, I found very interesting all the information, I was fascinated with Elvis's movie contracts history and how clear to me is now that the Colonel, from 1963 on (when the Beatlemania started) only forced Elvis to made one movie after another, only for money, losing contact with the groundbreaking and explosive music of the period.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:11 pm

Thanks John, your post has made for some very interesting reading.

Although Elvis did abdicate in 1964, he has, at least in Britain, ended up as the King of the Charts with a total of 21 number one records, even though this feat took from 1957 'All Shook Up' to 2005 'One Night' (re-issue).

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:09 pm

Very interesting.Thanks.

norrie

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:44 pm

Very interesting reading,thank you Doc....

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:47 pm

Thank you John for this wonderful and interesting post :)

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:32 pm

Interesting topic.

I've always believed that Elvis Presley could have been a little more dominant commercially than he was.

For instance had he come out with some stronger single releases in 1963 instead of ''One broken heart for sale'' and ''Bossa nova baby'' he could have had a couple more #1 hits.

Instead he had zero number one hits in the U.S. in 1963.

Had he completed the fast version of ''Ain't that loving baby'' before leaving for the Army I think that song could have been a number one single if RCA had released it as a follow up to ''Big hunk o' love''.

With more promotion for his single releases in the 1970s it probably would have been possible to get one more number one hit.

As an Elvis fan I would have liked for him to have kept the record for most number one hits in the United States but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:24 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks. Hanson put together a very cogent story about Elvis' 1964 abdication.


Yes and "abdication" is an apt description. It's very likely that Elvis couldn't have matched the Beatles' chart impact in 1964 even if he had been releasing better material, as many young record buyers were naturally attracted to the new and exciting band. However, it would have been nice if Elvis had at least put up a proper fight by recording credible, non-soundtrack material. It's ridiculous that after the three non-soundtrack masters he recorded in January 1964, he wouldn't record another non-soundtrack song until May 1966. When you think of all the important, era-defining music that was recorded in those two years, it's hard to believe that Elvis didn't explode when presented with some of the dross he was expected to record.

There's an article in a 1964 Elvis Monthly where the editor, Albert Hand, comically describes 1964 as Elvis' best year. Some major denial was obviously going on.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:46 am

great post John,thanks

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:12 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
jurasic1968 wrote:Absolutely Great! Thank You, Doc. It's clear how great 1964 was for the Beatles. I wonder now how was in 1969 (the greatest year of Elvis in the charts from 1964 to 1977): If Elvis had three top ten hits then (In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and Don't Cry, Daddy), The Beatles what had in the charts in that year?


Thanks. Hanson put together a very cogent story about Elvis' 1964 abdication.

To answer your side query, in 1969 the Fab Four made the U.S. Top Ten four times:

"Get Back" #1
"The Ballad of John and Yoko" #8
"Something" #3
"Come Together" #1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles_discography#Singles

I recall "The Ballad of John and Yoko" hit the #1 spot - was that in the U.K.?

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:23 am

luckyjackson1 wrote:I recall "The Ballad of John and Yoko" hit the #1 spot - was that in the U.K.?


Yes it was a UK number one. Only John and Paul featured on the recording.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:14 pm

Another terrific topic John and it really must have shook Elvis. Despite his accommodating statements in public regarding other entertainers, Elvis loved # one records and the British invasion in to America could not have been easy for him.

Chris Roberts wrote:at least in Britain, ended up as the King of the Charts with a total of 21 number one records, even though this feat took from 1957 'All Shook Up' to 2005 'One Night' (re-issue).


Yes Chris, the UK fans have always been loyal to Elvis, even in 1965 (arguably Elvis’ worst) 5 weeks after The Beatles were # 1 with “Ticket To Ride” Elvis was sitting at the ‘top spot’ with “Crying In The Chapel” and the history books speak for themselves.

Most Number 1s
This, possibly the most important record, is held by Elvis Presley. He has had 21 chart-toppers.
Artist with Most Weeks at Number 1
It's Elvis Presley. He has topped the chart for a total of 80 weeks (as of w/e 5th Feb 2005).
Longest Span of Number 1 Singles
47 years, 6 months and 23 days. Held by Elvis Presley.
Fastest Hat-Trick of Number 1s
A one-a-week series of re-issued Elvis Presley singles in 2005 enabled him to have three different chart-toppers in just four weeks; ("Jailhouse Rock" w/e 15th Jan; "One Night" / "I Got Stung" w/e 22nd Jan; "It's Now Or Never" w/e 5th Feb).

I don't believe Elvis will ever be beaten in the UK charts. However, I’m not condoning Elvis poor artistic out-put when he should have course being ‘upping his game’ he sold himself out, blamed everything and everyone else around him. It’s startling when you look at Elvis on the set of “Paradise Hawaiian Style” signing a copy of the “Loving You” album. One can only imagine what he saw looking back at himself. It’s sad when you realize that had he taken complete control of his own career that the events that followed in the years ahead may not have happened.

luckyjackson1 wrote:I recall "The Ballad of John and Yoko" hit the #1 spot - was that in the U.K.?

Yes luckyjackson1 the single was a UK # 1 in June 1969.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:05 pm

Interesting read.
Alan Hanson seems to be leaning toward a review of negative intent, although we are all aware the Beatles were on fire in '64, Alan seems to mis-credit a couple of Presley entries such as one he mentions here: "Roustabout, Elvis’s third feature film of 1964, opens nationwide. It marked the first of six consecutive years that Presley would release three pictures per year."
But yet fails to mention the LP went to #1 of that year - being the year of his subject Abdication --> 1964.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:18 pm

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:Instead he had zero number one hits in the U.S. in 1963


Yes indeed, but You´re The Devil In Disguise was a major hit in 1963 all over the world, so that´s not bad at all :wink:. Bye for now :smt006.


Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(You're_the)_Devil_in_Disguise

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:56 pm

Great article. Thank you!

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:57 pm

Some great info! Thank you!

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:47 pm

Mike Windgren wrote:Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:Instead he had zero number one hits in the U.S. in 1963


Yes indeed, but You´re The Devil In Disguise was a major hit in 1963 all over the world, so that´s not bad at all :wink:. Bye for now :smt006.


Alan Hanson's article is talking about songs on the U.S. charts.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:01 pm

Exactly. So, from Good Luck Charm (1962) to his death (1977), Elvis had only one more number one hit in US (Suspicious Minds in 1969). 15 years! This speaks a lot how far Elvis has fallen from his 1956-1962 golden era of the charts.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:
Mike Windgren wrote:Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:Instead he had zero number one hits in the U.S. in 1963


Yes indeed, but You´re The Devil In Disguise was a major hit in 1963 all over the world, so that´s not bad at all :wink:. Bye for now :smt006.


Alan Hanson's article is talking about songs on the U.S. charts.


Yes I know, the screen shot was posted just for reference :roll:. The song reached the nº 3 spot on the U.S charts and that´s not bad at all. Bye for now :smt006.

Re: 1964 … The Year Elvis Was Dethroned as King of the Chart

Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:57 pm

Mike Windgren wrote:Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:
Mike Windgren wrote:Hi there!! :D :D :D.

brian wrote:Instead he had zero number one hits in the U.S. in 1963


Yes indeed, but You´re The Devil In Disguise was a major hit in 1963 all over the world, so that´s not bad at all :wink:. Bye for now :smt006.


Alan Hanson's article is talking about songs on the U.S. charts.


Yes I know, the screen shot was posted just for reference :roll:. The song reached the nº 3 spot on the U.S charts and that´s not bad at all. Bye for now :smt006.


No, number 3 is not bad at all, but from this point on, he only had 2 hits in the top 10 until 1969. Bossa Nova Baby later that same year, and Crying In the Chapel, (old material and a fluke hit) in 1965. This is not competing with the Beatles or any of the music of the 60's. Elvis took a back seat and to my school mates, he was no longer a leading music star, but now considered strictly a film star. No one in my school bought his records after 1964.