Paul McCartney felt The Beatles shouldn’t go to the United States until one of their songs hit No. 1 in the country. Eventually, one of The Beatles’ songs hit No. 1 in the U.S. and the members of the band responded by jumping on each other’s backs. Subsequently, Paul said an aspect of the song was a shameless appeal to The Beatles’ fans.
Paul McCartney said some of The Beatles’ songs are ‘shameless’
During a 2015 interview with Billboard, Paul discussed a handful of The Beatles’ No. 1 songs. He mentioned a lot of The Beatles’ early songs were more complex than their later songs. He felt this was a positive aspect of The Beatles’ discography.
Paul said some of The Beatles’ early tunes were “fan songs. “All our early songs contained ‘me’ or ‘you,'” he noted. “We were completely direct and shameless to the fans: ‘Love Me Do’; ‘Please Please Me’; ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.'”
Why Paul McCartney felt the Fab Four needed 1 of their songs to hit No. 1 in the U.S. before they visited the country
One of these “shameless songs,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” helped the Fab Four go to America but only after it hit No. 1. “I’d said to Brian [Epstein, the band’s manager], ‘We don’t want to go to America until we have a No. 1 record,'” Paul recalled. “A lot of British artists went there and came back with the audience having been slightly underwhelmed by them. I said, ‘We don’t want to be like that. If we go, we want to go on top.'”
Paul discussed what it was like when The Beatles learned “I Want to Hold Your Hand” reached No. 1 in the United States. “We were playing in Paris, an engagement at the Olympia Theatre, a famous old theater Edith Piaf played at, and we got a telegram — as you did in those days — saying, ‘Congratulations, No. 1 in U.S. charts,'” he recalled. “We jumped on each other’s backs. It was late at night after a show, and we just partied. That was the record that allowed us to come to America.”
‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ became the first of The Beatles’ 20 No. 1 songs in the United States
The song had a massive impact on popular culture. It appeared in movies like Across the Universe, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and Yesterday. It was also the first of The Beatles’ 20 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
The others were, in no particular order, “Hello Goodbye,” “I Feel Fine,” “The Long And Winding Road/For You Blue,” “Hey Jude,” “Come Together,” “She Loves You,” “Let it Be, “Love Me Do,” “Help!,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Get Back,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Yesterday,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Penny Lane,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Paperback Writer,” and “Eight Days a Week.” This massive string of No. 1 hits was all made possible by “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”