Having achieved unprecedented success in their homeland, John, Paul, George and Ringo set their sights on the United States. EMI’s American label, Capitol Records, declined to release “From Me To You” and the earlier single, “Please Please Me.” Instead, both appeared on the Vee-Jay Records label in 1963 but neither received radio airplay and consequently failed sell – “From Me To You” only reached number 116 in the charts.
Swan Records released the Beatles’ next U.S. single, “She Loves You”, also failed to make a breakthrough. Nevertheless, before the year ended news of ‘Beatlemania’ reached the States creating an interest in the band prompting Capitol to release their next single “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The demand for the record was insatiable, with over a quarter of a million copies selling in the first three days of release. The single became the Beatles’ first U.S. number one when it reached the top spot on 1st February 1964.
Over the following weeks Swan and Vee-Jay re-released the earlier three singles, with the latter also releasing other songs that they held the rights to including some through their subsidiary label Tollie Records. Capitol also released their latest single “Can’t Buy Me Love” while discs produced by its Canadian sister label crossed the border to be sold in the U.S. Their record sales received a boost when they travelled to the U.S. for the first time as a band in February 1964. The media gave extensive coverage to the visit that included a live appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show watched by approximately seventy-four million viewers.
On 4th April 1964, the Beatles achieved the unprecedented feat of occupying all of the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The number one slot was occupied by “Can’t Buy Me Love” on Capitol; “Twist and Shout” on Tollie was number two; number three was “She Loves You” on Swan Records, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (Capitol) held the number four position, and at five was Vee-Jay’s “Please Please Me”. Furthermore, they also had another seven singles placed lower down the top 100: at 31, “I Saw Her Standing There” (Capitol); at 41, “From Me To You” (Vee-Jay); at 46, “Do You Want To Know A Secret” (Vee-Jay); at 58, “All My Loving” (Capitol of Canada); at 65 “You Can’t Do That” (Capitol); at 68, “Roll Over Beethoven” (Capitol of Canada); and at 79, “Thank You Girl” (Vee-Jay). Neither feat has ever been matched, and both heralded the so-called ‘British invasion’ of the U.S. pop charts.