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From the Land of Band Box Records

British Invasion: 1964 – February – U.S. Goes Buggy!

June 1, 2011
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Donna Lynn – The Swans

Both the U.S. press and the U.S. Record Industry didn’t quite know what to make of the Invaders.  The Beatles’ mop top hair-dos alone set them up for ridicule.  But the industry smelled money and first reactions were just plain goofy.  Capitol Records (probably with their own inside information) was first to react with the release of Donna Lynn’s “My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut”, which appeared suspiciously fast after the Beatles’ initial chart appearance. Even one of the song writer’s names “Bugs” Bower was out in left field.  The song debuted on February 22nd reaching only number 83 before quickly fading.  Darling little Donna Lynn would only chart one more time during her brief career – “Java Jones” appearing in May of 1964 and stalling at number 129.  But Lynn did get a Capitol LP release out of the deal.

The Swans’ “The Boy With the Beatle Haircut” followed Donna Lynn’s offering one week later – February 29th – and peaked at number 85.  I don’t remember hearing that song being played at all in Denver on KIMN Boss Tiger Radio – but do recall Donna Lynn’s recording often.  Joel Whitburn’s “Music Stars” entry for the Swans states that they were a “backing group” for the Sapphires of  “Who Do You Love” fame (January 1964).

Donna Lynn & The Swans

Those Beatle Haircuts - Donna Lynn and the Swans

The Absurd Side of the British Invasion in 1964

Beyond these first two charts novelty recordings – the rush to the market looking for any opportunity to cash in began in earnest. Below are just a few of the examples – none of them going much of anywhere – but making for some great present-day collectibles.  The “Baby Bug” record and graphic sleeve go for several hundred dollars.  Just try to locate some of the others.  Before 1964 was out there would be hundreds of these poured onto the market – with very few going anywhere.

Beatle Novelty Songs

The Beatle Spoof Barage Commences

 MGM Lands a Beatle LP on the Charts

This LP was MGM’s sole LP entry onto the charts – entitled “The Beatles with Tony Sheridan and Their Guests” the LP entered on February 15th, 1964 reaching number 68 with a 14 week run.  Because MGM owned the rights to only six cuts, a group called The Titans made up the balance.

Unique Beatle Cut – Cry for a Shadow

This LP contains a Beatle oddity – “Cry for a Shadow”.  It was the only Beatle offering to feature “Harrison-Lennon” as song writing partners and one of the very few instrumentals released on U.S. labels.

My Bonnie on MGM
The Beatles and Tony Sheridan – Their MGM U.S. LP

For the Week of February 22nd – The Top Ten

(Visit Joel Whitburn’s Record Research based on the Billboard Charts)
Number 1 – I Want to Hold Your Hand – Beatles
Number 2 – She Loves You – Beatles
Number 3 – Dawn – The Four Seasons
Number 4 – You Don’t Own Me – Leslie Gore
Number 5 – Java – Al Hirt
Number 6 – Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um – Major Lance
Number 7 – Hey Little Cobra – The Rip Chords
Number 8 – California Sun – The Rivieras
Number 9 – What Kind of Fool – The Tams
Number 10 – Navy Blue – Diane Renay

Blogs and Websites
Visit this 1960’s Blog Site: “Nitro-Retro” for some fun looks back at the obscure
Visit Spectro Pop’s Girl Group site section – (A lot of stuff on the 1960s is here)
Visit Joel Whitburn’s Record Research – Great Chart books and electronic pubs

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