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The 1 and Only Beatles

The Beatles

Just how big were the Beatles?

Well, if you’d have laid them end to end, they’d have stretched a little over 23 feet, but that’s probably not the scale we’re looking for.

The real measure can be found in the newly-remastered reissue of Beatles 1, the definitive collection of the 27 recordings that topped the charts in either the UK or U.S. The first of the tracks to reach No. 1, “From Me to You,” did so in May of 1963; the last, “The Long and Winding Road,” captured the top spot in June 1970. That’s 27 chart-toppers in about 85 months! Consider that most of those singles settled in at No. 1 for multiple weeks, and “Hey Jude” perched on top of the U.S. Billboard charts for nine weeks. They rarely vacated the top spot. We’ll never see that kind of commercial dominance again. Ever!

To further illustrate the earthshaking impact of John, Paul, George and Ringo, consider the following:

  • Think Lost was a big deal? It drew something in excess of 13 million viewers, on average. Well, 73 million people tuned in when the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.
  • “Yesterday” is the most recorded song of all-time, with 1,600 covers as of 1986. I guess there wasn’t much point to keeping track beyond that point.
  • During one week in April 1964, the top five slots on the Billboard singles chart were Beatles records. The only ones who could knock the Beatles off their throne were…the Beatles!

And if there’s any question about how the Beatles are holding up more then 40 years after their demise, here’s one more for you: Know what the top-selling album of the last decade was? Beatles 1.

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