The above picture shows 13 Year old Irene Katz holding a sign on Feb. 9, 1964, the third day of the Beatles’ blitz of America. She was outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City, along with hundreds of screaming young girls, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Beatles.
Unless you live in a cave, you are well aware the recent media buzz about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.
No question about it – the Beatles were hot during their two-week stay in the ‘states’ in February 1964. And, unfortunately, Elvis was not. Let’s take a look at the stature of Elvis’ career fifty years ago during the Beatles’ invasion.
Elvis had a Top Ten hit, “Bossa Nova Baby,” at the end of 1963, and in March 1964 “Kissin’ Cousins” was released, eventually moving up to # 12. But Elvis had absolutely nothing on the charts in February 1964.
On the other hand, that month was huge for the Beatles, who had three hits going at once: “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” I Saw Her Standing There,” and “She Loves Me.”
Elvis fared better here — briefly. Elvis’ Golden Hits, Volume 3 came out in late September 1963. It had a twenty week run on the Billboard Top 40 Album Charts, which carried it into the first two weeks of February 1964.
So, technically, that topped the Beatles. Their first US album, Meet the Beatles, was released on their second day in the country, February 8. After that, it probably outsold the Elvis hits album by a about million to one, but it wasn’t until the following week that those sales were reflected in the chart rankings.
This was another lull period for Elvis. Fun in Acapulco opened in very late November 1963 and was gone from the theaters by the following February.
It’s too bad Viva Las Vegas didn’t premier two months earlier than it did, or Elvis would have had one big success going for him while the Beatles were here.
What Elvis Did While the Beatles Ruled:
He took an extended vacation to Las Vegas, bringing several Memphis Mafia buddies with him: Joe Esposito, Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Billy Smith and Marty Lacker. Plus wives and girlfriends. Elvis and this large group took in many shows, including Fats Domino, Della Reese, Don Rickles and Tony Martin.
Colonel Parker probably was back in Tennessee, but he had the good sense to send the Beatles a congratulatory telegram signed by Elvis & The Colonel.
So, while the Beatles took America by storm, Elvis laid low. He would continue making movies for four more years, but then he started his famed resurrection. First, the ’68 Comeback Special. Then the landmark recording sessions at American Sound Studios that produced huge hits like “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” And the biggest factor of all, his return to live performance in August 1969 at the Las Vegas International Hotel.
A year later, the Beatles broke up, but Elvis continued to set attendance records in Las Vegas and on tours around the country. So, Elvis wasn’t really dead in 1964, and the Beatles didn’t live that long.
© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.