Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 5:34 am

Online there is a terrific interview with esteemed rock critic and historian Greil Marcus, done by the
Perfect Sound Forever site.

Marcus makes some typically astute points about how rock changed between 1956 and 1964.

Highlights are mine. Dig it!

GREIL MARCUS - Do politics rock?
Interrogation by Jason Gross (June 1997)

Do you find that this youth movement that grew up around rock and roll faltered after the late '50s?

There was always an element of rock and roll that did want to grow up, go to nightclubs and get married and make their parents happy. Frankie Avalon was that sort. You also had people like Dion who came from a very lower-class Italian background and got himself into a gang and into heroin. When his rock and roll career collapsed, he found his way into Greenwich Village and the folk scene and followed a real twisting road.

It wasn't just the big guns being silenced (Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard) but it had more to do with the audience. People like me and all the people I knew got a taste of something dangerous when rock and roll first really exploded. A lot of people thought "now the world has changed, now it's different, we're different, we're different from our parents."

But by '58 or '59, the number one song was "Tammy" by Debbie Reynolds. I remember at the time thinking "this was all a trick that we played on ourselves. We only pretended that we were rebellious, that we were different, that we wanted something different." In fact, deep down, what we really wanted was a lullaby. We wanted "Tammy." There's no question that the people who bought "Tammy" were the same teenagers who were buying "Hound Dog." I remember at the time being very disappointed with that. I think that the great proportion of the audience was just in high school. When they graduated from high school, they put aside childish things to grow up.

So, it was a big shock to a lot of people when in '63 and '64, the story started up again. I don't think that most people ever expected that, in any fundamental way, rock and roll (music that affirmed meaninglessness and in that affirmation contained every conceivable kind of meaning) would ever be a part of their lives again. That's one of the reasons that people dove head-long into the Beatles. It wasn't just 13 or 14 year old girls that were part of the audience- it was also college students and other people.

How do think their cultural impact was different from the first wave of rock and roll?

One thing was that the original figureheads weren't supposed to act very smart. They were supposed to be extraordinarily polite, as both Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis were, or they were supposed to be extremely circumspect, as Chuck Berry was.

If Berry, as a black man, said HALF of what he was thinking at any given moment, he might have been lynched. He probably should have been a hell of lot more careful than he was because the cops were always on him. He had already been in prison long before he had become a musician. He was arrested and held in jail overnight in Mississippi in the '50s. He supposedly looked at a white women "the wrong way" after a concert - he might have winked at her, and she became hysterical and called the police. Chuck Berry was a handsome, smart, cool black man who, for white cops, was nothing but trouble.

The only person of that first generation who could have started to act hip was Buddy Holly. He had married a Puerto Rican woman and moved to Greenwich Village and God knows what would have happened if Buddy Holly had lived.


Image

The Beatles - March 1966, London

The Beatles were the first group of people to come along who didn't pretend to be stupid. They acted and talked as intelligently as they actually were. They allowed the Rolling Stones to come along and then be as cool, as obnoxious, as bohemian, as "**** you," as in-your-face as they wanted to be. It suddenly turned out that that you could act this way and not suddenly burst into flames. You could just get away with it.

[ snip ]

As the '60s progressed and the bands and political movements around it got more radical, did you think that their politics were sincere or meaningful at all?

[ snip ]

When the bands became "political," they never did become political. Instead, individuals in certain groups began acting as whole people. Whole people have political dimensions. They can get outraged at things and they're moved by other things. They talk with their friends about these things and if they have a public forum, they speak publicly about these things. That doesn't make that the whole of their lives but any real person who's living in the real world is going to be energized by a political situation or disgusted with those same things. They're going to react with a sense of confirmation or exclusion at that political event.

That's what people began to do. They were doing this within the protection of a culture that seemed autonomous. It gave them the permission and the strength to do that. When everyone around you is taking drugs, having sex and espousing extreme political opinions, then it seems like the natural way to live. So just as you say "why shouldn't I take this LSD?" you also say "why shouldn't I say what I think of the Vietnam War?" That was something absolutely new. People didn't do that before.


Image

Elvis Presley - June 1956, Oakland


In 1956, Elvis Presley didn't exactly endorse a presidential candidate but bizarrely, when he was asked who he was going to vote for, he said he was going to vote for Adlai Stevenson. They shut him up really quickly. They didn't want to alienate anybody plus this is a good American boy who's supposed to sing songs and NOT have opinions. You might think that it's odd that Elvis Presley would vote for the egghead governor of Illinois but (white) people in Mississippi didn't vote for Republicans then- it wouldn't have occurred to them. Stevenson carried Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and that was about it.

Perfect Sound Forever
http://www.furious.com/perfect/marcus.html

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 6:03 am

Thank you for posting the article Dr.Carpenter

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 6:23 am

I read this piece years ago and I thought and still think that while Marcus' overall points was valid, he missed several big pictures elements. The main point he misses is the overall original social context of the original rockers and the fact that the impact the Beatles had was largely attributable to the smoothed out acceptance of rock n' roll in those mid-years.

As many historians pointed out, the original rockers were rebels by definition not intent. Elvis, Chuck Berry etc. bucked the status quo because there was no place for them. They weren't rejecting a middle class style. They were rejecting a world that didn't want them.

Similarly, the first teen audience of rock n' roll were rebels in the same vein. In the pre-rock '50s teens opinions were not courted, nor were the opinions of teens especially valuable. (Hard as it is to believe today.) Having made those inroads was at that time enough. James Dean movie to the side, these originals had a cause.

Marcus indicates in the interview that he is aware of this fact in terms of the performers. The line treaded by Elvis and by Berry at the time was so tenuous that they had to tread lightly, they had to be evasive or polite.

The bottom line was that they were different, the world was different because now they had value in the market place.

This leads to the huge point he misses. Once Elvis and rockers like Domino and teens got adopted into the mainstream, that this line had moved is what gave the Beatles the opportunity to speak their minds, to be self-conscious rebels. The absolutely, positively colossal difference between the Beatles' arrival and Elvis' ascent were the fact that the mainstream battled Elvis (and his peers) every inch of the way, whereas the Beatles were welcomed with open arms. It was only after the Beatles started openly expressing controversial views that there was any backlash and by that time rock n' roll was so popular for so long that there was a mainstream rebuttal to that backlash.

The Sullivan show captures the essence of the matter. The Beatles were a happening trend and Sullivan was glad to be the one to break them in America. He did not break Elvis. A trend was happening within his own country and he vowed never to have its leader on his show. Elvis' popularity forced him to change his mind. You can the same thing across the culture. Leonard Bernstein had parties for the Beatles and praised them in print. Time magazine had them on the cover, an honer never to this day afforded Elvis. The publishers in a recent Time tribute Elvis noted that this was because Time Publisher Henry Luce absolutely hated Elvis.

This is hugely important. This is why college kids got caught up and involved. This is why the mainstream stars sucked up to the Beatles. The mainstream had fundamentally changed to make it where a group with a new wrinkle on the culture was welcomed into the culture. People were now used to some envelope pushing. They were now used to a new pop matrix. The barbarians were over the gate and time had shown it wasn't the end of the world. I guarantee you that no matter how good A Hard Day's Night was, it wouldn't have garnered positive reviews were it made and released in 1956. While it's fair to say that Elvis' performance in and the overall film Love Me Tender left something to be desired, but was there any reason to call him a six foot sausage, to make fun of his accent?

There is no question that the Beatles took the youth culture to the next phase. The thing was though that this was not because the first phase ran out of steam, but rather because its ends had been achieved. Also, I get very upset at the notions applied to this era because much of the criticism is due to the fact that women and blacks played an increasing role in defining the mainstream. And also, rock n' roll was still largely a regional phenomenon dominated by small labels and artists outside the mainstream.

He also glosses over the fact that the Beatles' wit helped to gloss over the fact they were speaking their minds, at least in the early phases of their popularity. Just as many audiences could miss the social satire in Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA," audiences could miss the sting of the Beatles' quips because they were funny.

None of this by the way has anything to do with the actual quality of the music. Like Marcus, I can cherry pick any individual title from a given year and act as if its representative of the pop scene. The music did continue to grow and expand in these years. As with the Beatles in the later years, it was natural for it to grow into areas that weren't strictly hard core rock n' roll. The difference was that a rock press had gained steam by the time the Beatles made their break with the rock tradition.

I do have to take Marcus to task on his comment about putting away childish things. Unlike Marcus, many of the original rock n' roll fans came from lower or lower middle class backgrounds and adulthood and responsibility was forced upon them in a way that it was not the bohemians of a decade later. Further, though many of those original fans, like the Beatles, kept the faith and kept pushing the outside into the mainstream.

From the comments, I've made here, by the way, many readers would come to an opinion that I am a great admirer of the Beatles and they would be right. What I rail against so often on this board is not a just admiration of these trailblazing artists, but of setting them up as some sort of flawless exemplar that winds up dismissing the significant achievement of other artists.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 6:00 pm

Thanks for posting Doc, great reading!!
I agree with Marcus that by the end of the 50s and early 60s rock music became bland.
Thank God The Beatles came along and saved rock n roll! :D

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 7:50 pm

Thanks DJC! I dig it highly!

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 8:18 pm

There was always some great Rythm n' Blues around... before during and after The Beatles and on both sides of the Atlantic. Most of it makes the early Beatles hits sound commercial... X-Factorish... in comparisson.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 8:32 pm

Some music journalists tend to view the Beatles as genious and intelligent artists while Elvis was not but a good looking redneck.

None if this is true of course. Beatles wrote stacks of beautiful pop songs and had a giant impact on the popular music. They still have. Elvis, however, kicked the door.

Maybe it's a generation issue. The first generation of music journalists grew up with the Beatles and watched Elvis as something from the past.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 9:17 pm

likethebike wrote:What I rail against so often on this board is not a just admiration of these trailblazing artists, but of setting them up as some sort of flawless exemplar that winds up dismissing the significant achievement of other artists.

Which forum members refer to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismiss all others in turn?

I've never seen one post like that.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 9:36 pm

One thing that caught my eye about the article is the reference to
the song "Tammy" by Debbie Reynolds.

The reason it was number one was 3 reasons really.

It had the "Tammy" movie to promote it. (I forget which one----and the bachelor?)

It is a beautiful song.

And it was sung beautifully by Debbie.
Last edited by ekenee on Fri May 08, 2009 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Thu May 07, 2009 9:57 pm

ekenee wrote:And a bit of trivia.

The song was written by the same team that wrote "I don't care if the sun don't shine".

Actually, no.

Where do you get your information?

"I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine" was written by Mack David.

"Tammy" was written by the famous team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 12:33 am

Your're right, I goofed. i was thinking of another song. I erased my "trivia".

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 1:02 am

Intersting article Doc.I do agree with most of it but it does seem to allude to the popular misconception that Elvis' music was childish.I know this is in part due to the movies he
made (apart from one or two)in the early 60's which were tame compared to the 50's
movies.Also songs like puppet on a string don't help but his first post army album showed
that Elvis had matured both in voice and musical style with horns and strings being added.
It's just a pity the public preferred the "childish" Elvis by buying the soundtracks over the
brilliant Elvis Is Back.

norrie

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 1:26 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:What I rail against so often on this board is not a just admiration of these trailblazing artists, but of setting them up as some sort of flawless exemplar that winds up dismissing the significant achievement of other artists.

Which forum members refer to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismiss all others in turn?


Not me.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 1:55 am

norrie wrote:... but his first post army album showed that Elvis had matured both in voice and musical style with horns and strings being added.

Elvis Is Back ! has added horns and strings?

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 2:05 am

Err ,well it has a saxophone on it.That was quite sophisticated.Sort off.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 2:37 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:What I rail against so often on this board is not a just admiration of these trailblazing artists, but of setting them up as some sort of flawless exemplar that winds up dismissing the significant achievement of other artists.

Which forum members refer to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismiss all others in turn?

I've never seen one post like that.


Yourself and Javilu for starters. You don't have to say it flat out. Name one post, one, where you or he have ever made even modestly critical of the Beatles. If someone even suggests that any other artist may have been as interesting or that some innovation may have been done first by another artist, you become absolutely apoplectic.

If Marcus truly believes that rock n' roll had become "bland" (Javilu's phrase) in the early 1960s, how does that explain the huge presence of records from that era in his selection of rock essentials in his book Stranded?

Norrie- I think the "childish" was not aimed at Elvis' music in particular (remember this is not an Elvis piece) but at the image of rock n' roll as teenaged music. Marcus is complaining that he thinks fan grew out of the music. I would like to point out that his point of view must be more nuanced on Elvis than it is here, because again in Stranded, he lists both Elvis is Back and Elvis' Golden Records Vol. 3 as essential releases.

Just for edification also #1 in 1958 were the Silhouettes' "Get a Job" a song that is attributed with being the end of my Hit Parade because of its cacophonous arrangement, "Bird Dog" by the Everly Brothers, "Hard Headed Woman" by Elvis, the sexually suggestive "Don't" by Elvis and the Coasters' teen protest "Yakety Yak." Marcus clearly makes too much of one straight pop ballad making #1. Were the Beatles fans kidding themselves when Dean Martin stormed back to the top of the charts at the end of 1964.

Samses- You're absolutely right that some rock critics view Elvis and all the '50s artists as dinosaurs. However, Marcus is one of the few critics that vehemently argues that the case for Elvis and intent.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 2:44 am

likethebike wrote:Yourself ...

Show me one single post in 5 years on this forum that refers to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismisses all others in turn.

When you make these kinds of specious claims we really lose respect for anything you have to say.


likethebike wrote:Just for edification also #1 in 1958 were the Silhouettes' "Get a Job" a song that is attributed with being the end of my Hit Parade because of its cacophonous arrangement, "Bird Dog" by the Everly Brothers, "Hard Headed Woman" by Elvis, the sexually suggestive "Don't" by Elvis and the Coasters' teen protest "Yakety Yak." Marcus clearly makes too much of one straight pop ballad making #1. Were the Beatles fans kidding themselves when Dean Martin stormed back to the top of the charts at the end of 1964.

For everyone else's edification:

"Bird Dog" was a #3 hit in 1958.

Dean Martin's "Everybody Loves Somebody" 45 "stormed" to #1 in the summer of 1964, and only for a single week. It was an anomaly in a year of cultural upheaval.

You continue to make arguments with lots of bravado, but when the curtain is pulled back, there's not much left. Why you are so intent on rewriting history is almost inexplicable.

---

As Greil Marcus posits, the feeling, if not the foundation, of what rock once meant had changed before the 1950s ended. And he rightly outlines this would not change until February 9, 1964.

And change it did.

Here's rocker Steve Van Zandt's take on that moment, which is in the current issue of UNCUT (Take 145, June 2009) -->

The British Invasion really hit big on February 9, 1964, when the Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show, which the entire family used to watch -- a mass shared experience, which we really don't have anymore.

[ snip ]

The impact of seeing the Beatles was equivalent to a flying saucer landing in Hyde Park. We'd never seen anything like it. They were young, their hair was different, their clothes were different, their attitude was different, the sound was different, and they just exuded hope and the exhilaration of unlimited possibility. It was that much joy being communicated.

Anyway, on February 8, 1964 there were no bands in America. On February 10, everybody had one.


And that's truly the way it is, my dear friends.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Fri May 08, 2009 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 3:10 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
likethebike wrote:Yourself ...

Show me one single post in 5 years on this forum that refers to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismisses all others in turn.

When you make these kinds of specious claims we really lose respect for anything you have to say.


Come on, doc.
This is the difference between letter and intent. You may not have used the exact word flawless to describe the Beatles, but you have shown an absolute ideological rigidity when approaching those who attempt to criticize or even contextualize (as likethebike is doing) the Beatles.

LTB's writing in this post is, as always, honest and thought provoking with an historians thirst for accuracy and context.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 3:15 am

KingOfTheJungle wrote:... you have shown an absolute ideological rigidity ...

Actually, no.

Because there is such a furious and irrational hatred for the Beatles on this forum -- as you must well know -- one is forced to set the record straight in almost any and every discussion.

Bike's often-hysterical commentary is the antithesis of any true debate, as his inability to accept reality is a barrier to clear thinking.

And I resent the implication that my efforts are dishonest and devoid of depth. Nothing could be further from the truth, and you know it.

Otherwise, I would appreciate an ON-topic comment.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 3:41 am

likethebike wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Which forum members refer to the Beatles as "flawless" and dismiss all others in turn?

I've never seen one post like that.


Yourself and Javilu for starters.



javilu wrote:
....................

I am critical. I am a Beatles fan too and I admit that the Magical Mystery Tour movie is pure crap and a disgrace.
You'll never find me praising the 77 special. How can I have the same enthusiasm for the early 60s sessions as for the 76 sessions?

.......................
Cheers Greg!
Javi


viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44470&start=125

I rest my case.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 5:50 am

You really have no argument that is why you resort to petty discrepancies. For the record, chart historian Joel Whitburn lists "Bird Dog" as #1 record in his definitive tomes on the subject. The only discrepancy is that the Hot 100 was in existence when said record topped the best seller charts, and on the Hot 100 it reached according to Whitburn #2 not #3. Please, please if you have a factual correction, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!!!! And August, being the eighth month of the year, would mathematically make it on the end half of a 12 month year. I was working off the top of my head and still managed to be accurate.

My points about the Beatles are the antithesis of hysteria. They are indeed an effort to bring rational debate to a subject that is too often irrationally. The very idea that you seem to believe I hate the Beatles is evident in that fact. I do not genuflect to everything they did. That is not hatred. Unlike so many Beatles' fans I know that Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Carl Perkins, Dion, Buddy Holly etc. wrote their own songs. The Beatles were not the first to do that. I know that pop concept albums go all the way back to Frank Sinatra in the early 1950s. I know that the Beach Boys among others preceded the Beatles in this sweepstakes. I know that Phil Spector's production techniques were far in advance of what any British act was doing in 1964. I know that tracks like "Louie Louie," "He's So Fine," "Be My Baby" are amongst the greatest tracks any popular artists have ever committed to tape. I am not going to pretend these things never happened just to elevate the Beatles' status. They are the most influential group in rock and roll history. They did give rock and roll a shot in the arm. They did make several advances in production technique that opened up the entire music, their approach to music opened it up. They spurred a self-conscious youth revolution that changed the world. However, I just don't think everything they did was wonderful and I happen to find many other artists interesting and I'm not going to let you belittle those artists by extension. I.E- The Beatles saving rock n' roll. Sorry US Bonds, Dion, Ray Charles in his popular era, Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Jan and Dean, Ben E. King, Shirelles, Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, Brenda Lee, Martha and the Vandellas, Little Eva, Kingsmen, Marvelettes, Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford.

And Miami Steve's memory is great but it is important that this may have been his first pop music memory as he was only 13 years old.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 6:05 am

likethebike wrote:You really have no argument that is why you resort to petty discrepancies. For the record, chart historian Joel Whitburn lists "Bird Dog" as #1 record in his definitive tomes on the subject. The only discrepancy is that the Hot 100 was in existence when said record topped the best seller charts, and on the Hot 100 it reached according to Whitburn #2 not #3. Please, please if you have a factual correction, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!!!! And August, being the eighth month of the year, would mathematically make it on the end half of a 12 month year. I was working off the top of my head and still managed to be accurate.

There is no pettiness or inaccuracy here.

I cite your errors primarily because you use such "facts" to buttress your facile reasoning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_100_number-one_hits_of_1958_(United_States)
July 1958's "Bird Dog" ain't there -- it's the triple-chart, Billboard pre-"Hot 100" too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Loves_Somebody
Dean Martin's hit was #1 on Billboard as of August 15, 1964 = Summertime.

For most people, the "end of the year" would at best be signified by winter, which begins around December 21. You are in no way accurate, and to call Martin's 45 anything more than an anomaly is a lie.

Your attempt to diminish Van Zandt's memory is both typically disingenuous for the subject, and completely inaccurate. So what else is new?

The point of quoting that passage is it succinctly summarizes what happened in the minds of rock fans both young and old in the U.S. in 1964 -- no matter how hard you try to make it seem as if it never happened, sorry, it did. Things changed.

Chill out, bro.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 6:26 am

You had other hit records like Dean Martin's ''Everybody loves somebody sometime'' during the 60's like Barbara Steisand's ''People'' and Louis Armstrong's ''Hello Dolly'' all in 1964.

Greil Marcus point about rock n' roll dying out or losing steam in the late 50's because Debbie Reynold's song Tammy was a big hit only to be saved later by the Beatles isn't really a good one because even in 1956 When Elvis and rock n' roll took the country by storm records like Gori Grant's ''The Wayward Wind'' was also big hit that year. Hit records like the one's I mentioned above were doing well on the charts the same year the Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals exploded so if a record like ''Tammy'' becomes a big hit it doesn't mean rock n' roll rebellion ended.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 7:23 am

brian wrote:You had other hit records like Dean Martin's ''Everybody loves somebody sometime'' during the 60's like Barbara Steisand's ''People'' and Louis Armstrong's ''Hello Dolly'' all in 1964.

In 1964, "People" hit the charts just before the Beatles exploded in America, and peaked at #5. "Hello Dolly" was another single-week anomaly, hitting #1 on May 9.

A serious look at 1964 chart-toppers does not focus on the anomalies, but the trends.

brian wrote:Greil Marcus point about rock n' roll dying out or losing steam in the late 50's because Debbie Reynold's song Tammy was a big hit only to be saved later by the Beatles isn't really a good one ...

That's not his point, a-tall.

Re: Marcus --> How Rock Changed Between 1956 and 1964

Fri May 08, 2009 7:33 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:You had other hit records like Dean Martin's ''Everybody loves somebody sometime'' during the 60's like Barbara Steisand's ''People'' and Louis Armstrong's ''Hello Dolly'' all in 1964.

In 1964, "People" hit the charts just before the Beatles exploded in America, and peaked at #5. "Hello Dolly" was another single-week anomaly, hitting #1 on May 9.

A serious look at 1964 chart-toppers does not focus on the anomalies, but the trends.

brian wrote:Greil Marcus point about rock n' roll dying out or losing steam in the late 50's because Debbie Reynold's song Tammy was a big hit only to be saved later by the Beatles isn't really a good one ...

That's not his point, a-tall.


you also had Frank Sinatra Strangers in the Night a #1 record in 1966

Hello Dolly was still number 1 in 1964

I think that's basically Greil Marcus point that music sucked from the late 50's until the mid 60's
when the Beatles saved us all.