Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I know about the week (April 4, 1964) when the Beatles had the entire Top 5 hits, but what I have never found is the when they had their highest total number of songs on the Top 100, and their titles.

Seems like it could well have been that same week.
—Michelle Warner, Bridgeport, Conn.

MICHELLE (My Belle): Very good guess, as the Beatles claimed a total of 12 chart spots that first week of April 1964.

As amazing as it is for the boys to own 12% of the Top 100, they surpassed that by adding two more hits the following week, bringing their total to 14 and making April 11-17, 1964 the answer to your question.

Here are those 14 tunes, which, rather than the Top 100, were all in the Top 81:

1. “Can't Buy Me Love”
2. “Twist and Shout”
4. “She Loves You”
7. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
9. “Please Please Me”
14. “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”
38. “I Saw Her Standing There”
48. “You Can't Do That”
50. “All My Loving”
52. “From Me to You”
61. “Thank You Girl”
74. “There's a Place”
78. “Roll Over Beethoven”
81. “Love Me Do”

Mind boggling as that is, remember too that 12 of those 14 songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - “Twist and Shout” (Bert Russell & Phil Medley) and “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry) being the exceptions.

There are even two hits from that same time, not by the Beatles but about them: “We Love You Beatles” (Carefrees) and “A Letter to the Beatles” (Four Preps).

Here is an interesting chart stat, one likely in print for the first time: Over their 43-year Billboard chart history (1963-1996), the Beatles, with 75 hit singles, spent a total of 639 weeks, or nearly 12.3 years, on the surveys.

While very impressive, that total is well below Elvis Presley's. The all-time champ's 48-year total (1955-2003) is 1,826 weeks, or over 35.13 years on the chart. This comprises 191 separate hit singles.

As is often the case, Joel Whitburn's Record Research publications are essential when compiling Billboard chart data: (

DEAR JERRY: I have a copy of Ricky Nelson's first Imperial album (“Ricky”), which is of course in monaural.

Might this be the last No. 1 LP originally issued in mono only? I can't think of another.
—Ernie Camfield, Nevada City, Calif.

DEAR ERNIE: “Ricky,” issued in December 1957, is one of the last mono-only albums to top the charts, but several others of its kind reached No. 1 after “Ricky.”

Among them are Frank Sinatra's “Come Fly with Me” (1958) and “Only the Lonely” (1958); Johnny Mathis' “Johnny's Greatest Hits” (1958); Van Cliburn's “Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1” (1958); and “The Kingston Trio” (1958).

Stereo versions, be they real or fake, of these came out in the years following the mono originals. Each label had its own name for faux stereo, with “reprocessed stereo”; “electronic stereo”; “rechanneled stereo”; “simulated stereo”; and “Duophonic” among the more common terms.

As for the most recent mono-only No. 1 album (from the mono-stereo age), I nominate “Stevie Wonder - The 12 Year Old Genius,” a summer 1963 release.

IZ ZAT SO? Though not a chart-topper, the Beach Boys' “Wild Honey” did spend about four months on the charts in early 1968, climbing as high as No. 24 - and, surprisingly, this album came out only in monaural. Very unusual for '68, but could it happen in 2010?

Yes! All the tunes on “No Better Than This (Thirteen New Songs),” a new collection from John Mellencamp, were recorded live in monaural. Among the sites chosen to record these songs is the legendary Sun Studio, in Memphis.

Mellencamp used just one microphone and captured the music on a 1955, single-track, vacuum tube-powered, Ampex 601 reel-to-reel recorder.

There are no studio gimmicks (i.e., overdubbing, editing, etc.) here. John and the band all play together live, exactly as would have been the case in '55.

As of this writing, “No Better Than This (Thirteen New Songs)” is No. 1 on the Cashbox Americana LP charts, and No. 10 on Billboard's Hot 200 LPs.

Fittingly, a vinyl edition (Rounder Records) of “No Better Than This (Thirteen New Songs)” is available for about $25.

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