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In this new installment we arrive at the year 1964, a year in which you can see how four boys from Liverpool. They conquer the United States, in a skilful maneuver guided by Brian Epstein, a year of changes that we will analyze in great detail. (Cesar Valle, Torrelavega, Spain).

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In this year 1964, the Colonel was more than satisfied, and had made a trucker from Tupelo the most popular artist in the world. Elvis a money making machine, and just as they were, they both decide to buy the USS Potomac yacht, which had belonged to President Roosevelt, with the intention of donating it and using it as a national sanctuary. But its maintenance was so high that its financing was impossible. After this, they try to give it to the Miami coast guard, but the attempt also fails. Finally, on February 3, the yacht is presented as a gift to St. Jude’s Hospital for Children, in Memphis, so that they can use it to raise funds as they see fit.
Elvis was already settled and had forgotten the years when he wanted to be a real actor, and had become entertainment for the whole family. Even so, in this 1964, on January 12, a session took place at the RCA studios in Nashville to record three new songs: “Ask Me“, “It Hurts Me” and “Memphis Tennessee“, Chuck’s classic. Berry, with which Elvis wanted to show that he was still the greatest.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPg94hFZkEg]

From February 26 to May 14, filming for “Roustabout” begins, and between March and April he would record the soundtrack at Radio Records studios in Hollywood. On March 6, “Kissin Coussins” premieres and in June he records the soundtrack for “Girl Happy“, also at Radio Recorders.

On June 17, “Viva Las Vegas” premieres, one of the best Elvis movies of the time. On September 21, Elvis becomes special sheriff of Shelby County, on October 6 he begins shooting his movie 18 “Tickle Me“, which will not have its own soundtrack.

Finally, in November, the national premiere of “Roustabout” will take place. Already at the end of the year, the Colonel negotiates contracts for new films with United Artist and MGM.

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But, there was a threat that hung over Elvis and that would come from England, this was a four-boy band with sass and fresh air in the music scene, and blessed with the innate ability to compose their own songs, managing to open a generational gap, The Beatles. . In the United States they landed and performed on the Ed Sullivan Show, and from there, they conquered not only the USA, but the rest of the planet.

At the same time, Elvis was immersed in spirituality, led by his hairdresser Larry Geller, and to this we had to add the gentrification that was plunging him into oblivion, and being totally oblivious to the social and cultural changes that were shaking the world. He was still stuck in his crystal world.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jenWdylTtzs]


This year would undoubtedly be a “Beatle” year, as will happen in the following ones until its dissolution. Although they had started their career in 1962, it will be in this 1964 when The Beatles conquer the United States of America, all thanks to a skilful maneuver by their manager Brian Epstein that will take place from February 7 to 21, during the stay of the Beatles in the United States (this event was brilliantly captured by director Robert Zemeckis in his 1978 film “Mad About Them“). It was the most important event of 1964, his appearance on the Ed Sullivan show marked an unprecedented milestone, more than 70 million viewers saw four cheeky boys through the small screen. And two key concerts, on the 11th in Washington and on the 12th in New York, marked the beginning of a collective hysteria.

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After this conquest, the Beatles retired to rest in Miami. While this is happening, the Liverpool quartet has no more and no less than six number ones this year in the prestigious North American magazine Billboard: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” a composition by Lennon and McCartney (I make this point because they rarely composed together The basis of the songs and even the total composition was, either from the first or from the second, but there was a gentleman’s agreement that came from the times when they both met in high school and they always signed face to face to the gallery. In fact, Paul, in a failed attempt, years later wanted his name to appear before Lennon’s in the songs that had been his own work or had carried the majority of it.)

And now, some examples: “She Loves You“, which was number 1 for two weeks, was based on an original idea by Paul, as were “Can’t Buy Me Love“, and “Love Me Do“, which also achieved the highest position. We also find “Do You Want To Know A Secret“, number 2, or “She’s A Woman” which reached number 4. On the other hand, there is John, who was at the top with “A Hard Days Night” or ” I Feel Fine“. To this we must add the number 3 he got with “Please Please Me“. Apart from this, The Beatles managed to get an old Isley Brothers hit, “Twist And Shout“, to the second position.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYRcztz3cbQ]

But not everything was Beatle in Uncle Sam’s country. Thus, we have that Bobby Vinton also had a good year, and two of his hits, “There I’ve Said It Again” and “Mr lonely” were at the top. The great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong topped the list with “Hello Dolly,” also taking home the Grammy for best song of the year and best male vocal performance.

A curiosity that we have regarding numbers 1 of 1964 is that among them is Lorne Greene, who years later would become famous for his role as Ben Cartwraight in the Bonanza series. With his song “Ringo” he reached the top of the Billboard. Also, how could it be otherwise, The Four Seasons, a vocal group that sold many records in those years, and their song “Rag Doll” was no exception.

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Others that were hot were The Beach Boys, and “I Get Around” was their hit of the year. A group that made a strong mark in 1964 was undoubtedly The Animals, led by Eric Burdon, and their song “The House Of The Rising Sun“, a traditional song that had already been recorded by Bob Dylan on his debut album. , and in 1937 by the “blues man” Josh White. The group The Animals began recording this song at 8 in the morning, and at 8:15 it was finished.

The so-called “Motown” sound was also very topical that year, and from Detroit, the motor city, came female groups like The Supremes, led by Diana Ross, who achieved three number 1s in 5 months: “Come See About Me“, “Baby Love” and “Where Did Our Love Go“, or Mary Wells with “My Guy“.

Producer Phil Spector also triumphed in this 1964 with the color trio The Dixie Cups and their “Chapel Of Love“, number 1 for 3 weeks, as well as The Shangri-las with “Leader Of The Pack“. The Texan Roy Orbison put a song at the top this year, which over the years was going to be known throughout the planet thanks to a 1990 movie, this song was “Pretty Woman“.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy9CtTYMwAo]

One who was resurrected in 1964 to record with the Reprise label, owned by his friend Frank Sinatra, was Dean Martin and his “Everybody Loves Somebody.” British group Manfred Mann also reached number 1 with “Do Wah Diddy Diddy“, as did the duo Peter and Gordon with “A World Without Love” a composition by Lennon and McCartney.

In short, a year 1964 in which most of the talents that would give music in the 60s emerged, decisive groups like Manfred Mann, The Hollies or The Kinks, names like Jimmy Page were growing in obscurity four years before. to form Led Zeppelin, like Peter Townshend, who was already outlining what would become The Who in the future.

Also a student named Paul Simon publishes his first LP titled “Paul Simon Song Book“. Then with Art Garfunkel they will form one of the greatest duos in the history of Pop music.

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In Detroit, the cradle of motoring in the United States, a record label is born that is dedicated solely and exclusively for people of color, Tamla Motown, and from which artists of the stature of The Jacksons, Stevie Wonder or Diana Ross will come out.

In short, a year 1964 totally dominated by the Beatle phenomenon, which swept the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. This would already be a general trend until its dissolution in 1970, and it would lead John Lennon to say that “The Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ“.

Information provided by Cesar Valle (Torrelavega, Spain)

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