If you look into The Beatles’ album sales, you find one unbeatable record after another. It all starts with cumulative sales. At 183 million units sold, no recording artist comes close to the Fab Four.
The band also dominated the Billboard charts unlike any other artist selling records in America. Over the years, the band posted 20 No. 1 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Not even Elvis could match that total.
That brings us to the band’s long-playing (LP) records on the Billboard 200. Once again, The Beatles hold the record for No. 1 albums (19), and no one is close. (Jay-Z has 13.) The figure becomes more amazing when you consider the group only stayed together for seven years.
In 1964, the Fab Four did something incredible when it sent three records to No. 1 on the charts in the same year. Only one other band (The Monkees) has ever managed this feat. But The Beatles did it several times.
The Beatles’ first 2 Capitol records and ‘Hard Day’s Night’ topped the charts in 1964.
When The Beatles landed in America on February 7 1964, music fans across the country instantly responded. Meet the Beatles!, the group’s debut on Capitol, shot to No. 1 on the charts eight days later and stayed there for 11 weeks.
In fact, it was so popular that it kept Introducing … The Beatles (on Vee-Jay) from topping the charts. But the band was only getting warmed up. Its second Capitol release — imaginatively titled The Beatles’ Second Album — soared to No. 1 by the start of May.
By then, fans had tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “You Can’t Do That,” and “I Saw Her Standing There” on record. Two months later, A Hard Day’s Night landed in theaters and the soundtrack landed in record stores.
By the end of July, it also reached No. 1, and stayed there for over three months. Looking back, The Beatles would have easily had four chart-toppers that year if they’d spaced out the releases.
Another 3 Beatles albums hit No. 1 in 1965 — and then again in ’66.
Does it seem possible that The Beatles saw another three albums reach No. 1 in 1965? That also happened. The first, Beatles ’65, featuring “I’ll Follow the Sun” and “I Feel Fine,” topped the charts in January and stayed there for a few months.
Next, Beatles VI (“Eight Days a Week”) took the Billboard 200’s top spot in July. That held down the fort until another film soundtrack (this time, for Help!) took over the No. 1 spot in September. If you’re keeping score at home, that made six — and space for a seventh — No. 1 hits in two years.
But the run wasn’t over. In 1966, the Fab Four somehow released another three records that all topped the charts. Rubber Soul (January), Yesterday and Today (July), and Revolver (September) all claimed the top spot at various points of the year.
In other words, the band nearly had 10 No. 1 albums in the space of three years. (They had to settle for nine.) No wonder The Beatles didn’t win many Grammy Awards; they likely overwhelmed the voters by 1965.
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