10 Songs that Define America's Beatle Craze

Fourth Estate celebrates 50 years of Beatlemania with a list of the band's top ten songs (graphic by Walter Martinez).
Fourth Estate celebrates 50 years of Beatlemania with a list of the band's top ten songs (graphic by Walter Martinez).

Feb. 9, 2014 stands as the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ historically televised performance on the Ed Sullivan Show. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr’s performance resulted in a record-breaking 73 million television viewers tuning in, instantly infecting America with the  Beatlemania craze.

From 1962 to 1966, the Beatles established and spread Beatlemania around the world through their  tours and  songwriting talents. Here is a list of the top ten songs that rocked the world into a Beatlemania that still persists today.

10. A Hard Day’s Night

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 “A Hard Day’s Night” serves as the song that defined the mainstream Beatlemania movement’s sound. Strangely enough the title for the song came from a common phrase of Starr’s, which led to Lennon and McCartney composing the song. From the initial chord blast to the unified harmonies, “A Hard Day’s Night” was a successful number one single in Britain. When the film “A Hard Day’s Night” was released in 1964, crowds witnessed the iconic scenes of the Beatles running through train stations with mobs of screaming fans endlessly pursuing them as the movie’s namesake song pulsed in the background.


9. Love Me Do

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The simple composition that makes up “Love Me Do” served as the Beatles first hit in Britain in 1962. At the time McCartney was composing the song Lennon was very interested in the harmonica, which is heard throughout the song. Although it went to number one in Britain in 1962, it did not hit the charts of America until 1964. “Love Me Do” stands as a crucial hit because, without it, chances are the Beatles would never have  been noticed by the public or  a record company.


8. Ticket to Ride


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According to Lennon, “Ticket to Ride” was “one of the earliest heavy metal records made,” due the song’s sharp guitar riff and the heavy drum beats. The song came about in April 1965 when the Beatles were writing and recording material for their upcoming album “Help!” This Lennon-McCartney song became a number one single in both the U.S. and Great Britain and continued to fuel the Beatlemania as it powered through 1965 to 1966.

7. Help!



Written in April 1965 with McCartney, “Help!” was Lennon’s way to express his dissatisfaction with himself. Lennon recalled overeating, drinking, and struggling to handle the mass fame of the Beatles at the time of 1965. “Help!” would stand as the title song to the 1965 film of the same name, and would serve as another great addition to the Beatles pop songs that filled their set lists. Lennon, who was the hardest critic of Beatles material after the group split in 1970, stated that “Help!” was actually one of his favorite Beatles pop songs because it was based on reality. 


6. All My Loving


Initially composed as a poem, “All My Loving” came in result to McCartney’s growing relationship with then-girlfriend Jane Asher. McCartney later added the music to the poem backstage while the Beatles were on tour in 1963. “All My Loving” was the first song performed on their record-breaking broadcast at the Ed Sullivan Show. The song would then be a common Beatlemania tune throughout the mid 1960’s. McCartney still adds this song into his regular performing sets for its ability to establish the show as a huge Beatles sing-along session.


5. I Feel Fine

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Throughout 1964 the Beatles were constantly on the move. From album-work in the studio to touring Europe and America, it was a struggle to find the time to create more original works. “I Feel Fine” was a hit single mainly devised by Lennon through the creation of the distorted song riff. At this time the Beatles began to experiment with new and unique sounds to create original works. Standing as one of Lennon’s most optimistic songs, “I Feel Fine” was not only a smash single but also an invaluable stepping stone to other Beatle creative works down the road.


4. She Loves You



From the time “She Loves You” was released in 1963, it dominated the British music charts and established the Beatles as British stars. From Starr’s exploding drum roll entrance to the rich and exciting harmonies made by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, the song is a masterpiece. “She Loves You” would become the best-selling single of the decade in Great Britain and would stay in the music charts’ top 20 from August 1963 to February 1964. It was the biggest hit the Beatles had come up with to date and it instantly infected Great Britain with Beatlemania.


3. Yesterday


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Yesterday,” the song that innocently came to McCartney in a dream, would become the most covered song in popular music history. Originally titled “Scrambled Eggs,” the song went through months of tweaking in early 1965 to become a masterpiece that accurately depicts the sound of heartbreak and extreme loss. Although this song did not result in as many fans screaming their heads off, the video clips of McCartney performing solo with his acoustic guitar help to emphasize the power of “Yesterday.”.


2. I Saw Her Standing There

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“I Saw Her Standing There” was the flame that sparked the entire Beatlemania craze. It was the first song on their 1962 album, “Please Please Me,” and continues to be one of the greatest works the Beatles ever wrote. This Lennon-McCartney track tells the story of a boy who sees a girl on a dance floor and refuses to dance with any other. The song was a tremendous smash as it replicated the Beatles’ energetic live performances in Liverpool dance clubs and would become a signature song throughout Beatlemania. And it all started with a simple “One, two, three… Fawh!”


1. I Want to Hold Your Hand


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When “I Want to Hold Your Hand” exploded to number one on the American music charts, the Beatles realized that they would be touring in America. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” stands next to “A Day in the Life” as the finest composition the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team ever accomplished and its 1963 release spread Beatlemania to America, resulted in millions of people tuning into the Ed Sullivan Show, and launched the British Invasin--a period when music artists of the United Kingdom gained unprecedented popularity in the United States--of the 1960’s. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” became the showstopper throughout the Beatles’ touring years and has proven to be a timeless work as Beatlemania finds its way into the future generations.



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