In early 1963, The Beatles were an up-and-coming band with a passionate following in parts of England. With their first single “Love Me Do,” the Fab Four made it all the way to No. 17 on the UK charts. Clearly, the group had potential.
However, they still needed their first No. 1 hit. When they finished the recording session for their second single “Please Please Me,” producer George Martin confidently told the band they would soon see the top of the charts.
But Martin’s prediction fell slightly short. Though that track did reach No. 1 on several charts, the official listing had “Please Please Me” landing at No. 2 on Record Retailer. In brief, The Beatles would have to try again.
They wouldn’t wait long. On their third try, the band nudged all competition aside and took hold of the top spot on the UK charts with a new hit single.
‘From Me to You’ represented the first Beatles No. 1 in May 1963.
For the Fab Four, the third time was indeed the charm. After writing “From Me to You” on a tour bus between gigs in late February of ’63, the band headed to the studio less than a week later planning to record a single that met or exceeded the success of “Please Please Me.”
By April, the song hit UK record stores and airwaves and began climbing the charts. On May 1, “From Me to You” had landed at No. 3. There was only a little climbing left, and the single made it to the top the following week. The Beatles had officially arrived.
Once “From Me to You” grabbed that top spot, it didn’t let go until the third week of June. In other words, it was an absolute smash-hit. Though Beatlemania had yet to hit other parts of the world, it had officially begun in England.
When the Fab Four turned up at EMI studio to record their next song (“She Loves You”) in July, more than 100 fans were waiting outside. And they broke into the building to get a look at their favorite new act.
Soon enough, it became time for The Beatles to take America.
In Here, There and Everywhere, legendary sound engineer Geoff Emerick recalled the electric energy the day the band recorded “She Loves You.” After witnessing a fan enter the studio and lunge at Ringo, there was no doubts about the Fab Four’s popularity.
That song hit No. 1 and stayed there six weeks. “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the group’s next chart-topper released in November, kept the success going. By the end of the year, they were plotting their first trip to America and landed at JFK the following year with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at No. 1 in America.
But the first time they heard the words “No. 1 hit” came in England in May of the previous year. Speaking to the BBC in 1979, Paul McCartney shared a special memory from that time.
“I’d come back from a club and I was just getting to bed and I heard the milkman whistling ‘From Me To You,'” Paul said (via Beatles Bible). “I thought, ‘That’s it, I’ve arrived – the milkman’s whistling my tune.'”