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From the Land of Band Box Records

The British Invasion: 1964 – February – The DC Five!

May 30, 2011
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The British Invasion February 1st, 1964

The second week of the British Invasion witnessed Vee Jay record’s third attempt to showcase – what up until then – had been a futile exercise.  But Capitol Records was now asserting itself, pulling out all the stops getting behind the Fab Four.  Vee Jay execs felt they still were in possession of a five-year contract representing the Beatles, but Capitol lawyers contended that because Vee Jay had not paid royalties to the group (for the earlier releases) that the contract was null and void.  Vee Jay said this was ridiculous as there had not been any record sales previously to pay royalties on.

Beatles and Dave Clark Five - The British Invasion

The Dave Clark Five Arrive

Vee Jay Hits the Big Time

“Please Please Me” on Vee Jay 581 hit the charts on February 1st, making it The Beatles second US charting record.  The Record was release with a nice photo sleeve, a practice that would soon be ended again by Capitol lawyers, blocking photography rights to Vee Jay.  Vee Jay would skirt this issue by using likeness artwork on upcoming releases.  The record climbed to number 3 for Vee Jay.  The special promotional sleeve show below was issued to disc jockies and some record outlets in very small numbers – It actually was released ahead of the commercial single – in mid January.  Today the very limited printing and pressing run has resulted in a collectible that commands huge dollars.

Please Please Me promotional release VJ 581

Please Please Me Rare 1964 Promo

My Bonnie and MGM Records – February 15th, 1964

In what seemed at the time as a blitzkrieg of Beatle releases – MGM had picked up the US distribution rights to the four Germany sides that had previously rested with Decca Records.  They rushed out “My Bonnie” quickly with the graphic sleeve illustrated above.  Several of us thought that perhaps the group that was performing on these various labels might not even be the same group.  After all, the Beatles were back up on “My Bonnie” and its sound was much more raunchy than the hard drive “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, and “I Saw Her Standing There”.  MGM’s entry hit February 15th, and peaked at number 26 with a short seven week run.

The Dave Clark Five – February 15th, 1964

The DC Five were originally comprised of Dave Clark, Rick Huxley, Chris Walls and Mick Ryan and formed in about 1958.  Walls and Ryan departed in 1961 with Mike Smith, Lenny Davidson and Denny Payton coming on board to finalize the group that the US would come to know (and love).  I recall hearing the Dave Clark Five for the first time in Denver back then and thinking “There are actually TWO groups from England!”  They were touted as the “Tottenham Sound” (vs. the “Liverpool Sound” or the “Mersey Beat Sound”.  Pundits liked to allude to the DC Five as “the group who knocked the Beatles from the top of the charts!” (In the UK).  This same proclamation would be afforded to other Invaders as well.  After all, the Beatles couldn’t have a record in the top spot every single week of the year.  But they came as close as anyone ever had – ever would.

The Dave Clark Five actually charted first in the UK with “Do You Love Me” – a release that would hit the US shores in the Spring of 1964.

Meet the Beatles & Introducing the Beatles
The 1st British Invasion LPs

First British Invasion Long Plays

“Meet the Beatles” hit the charts on February 1st, 1964 and one week later “Introducing the Beatles” arrived.  For the first time with Rock and Roll, LPs would become not only significant, but almost as important as 45s initially, and later – more so.  “Meet the Beatles” would climb quickly to number 1 – staying there for 11 weeks, and enjoy a 71 week stay.  “Introducing the Beatles” climbed to number 2 – held off by the Capitol offering only – remaining at number 2 for 9 consecutive weeks, and running for 49 weeks.

Visit the Dave Clark Five Website

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