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Top songs of 1964 - The British Invasion

Updated on February 15, 2014

1964 was the year when British groups and singers dominated the United States record charts. Of course, to me it was just the music of my life. This is the music that helped to establish my musical tastes.

The Beatles first appeared on US charts in January of 1964; they went on to have at 9 of the songs that appeared Billboard top 100 of that year. A nearest to the Beatles in terms of most songs on the top 100 was The Dave Clark Five who had 4. In fact, 24 of the top 100 songs for that year were by British artists.

I remember loving all these groups as a kid. I was 7 during that year and I had 2 older sisters who were very into the music of the time.  The radio was always on at our house and we had records galore.  The Dave Clark Five had such catchy tunes for a 7-year-old to appreciate and enjoy, as did the Beatles at that time.  My friends and I would talk about these bands, we would pretend to be them and lip synch to the records using tennis rackets as guitars, and we would watch them on such shows as Top of the Pops and The Ed Sullivan Show.

I would like to have included all the British invasion songs from that year (not just the ones on the top 100) but there isn’t enough room.  These songs are what I consider the cream of the crop for 1964.

The Beatles - I Wanna Hold Your Hand

This was the Beatles first hit in North America, of course we in the UK had been aware of them for a couple of years before that. I had such a crush on did most girls of the time.

The Animals - The House of the Rising Sun

I can’t remember if I was aware of this song in 1964, but I did come to appreciate it in the years to come. The Animals were one of the best groups to come out of the UK in the 60s.

Manfred Mann - Doo Wah Diddy

I remember this song somehow permeated my life. It’s like it’s always been there for some reason, however strange that may sound.

The Zombies - She's Not There

I like how all the British Invasion bands all seemed to wear the same suit. Did the Beatles start that or did they just follow that trend? I don’t know. However, this song is leaps and bounds above anything the Beatles put out that year.

The Dave Clark Five - Because

Catchy drums and cool clothes. Not many bands had a drummer as the lead singer.

Gerry and the Pacemakers - Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying

This band was from Liverpool, home of the Beatles. I like the sound of this band, and the songs they released were memorable and timeless

The Kinks - You Really Got Me

This is one of the early songs of this British institution. The Kinks had a long and successful career. I think this is my favorite early song of theirs.

Chad and Jeremy - Summer Song

This is a perfect summer song; relaxing and smooth.  Sounds very folky.

Billy J. Kramer - Bad to Me

This song was written by Lennon/McCartney and it was also released by the Beatles. I prefer this version.

The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love

Another Beatles song; their music in 1964 was so innocent and hopeful.

The Dave Clark Five - Bits and Pieces

More Dave Clark Five. 1964 seems to have been the peak year for this band before they, and other British bands, were swallowed up by the Beatles success.

Agree or Disagree?

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  • Britt Duran profile image

    Brittney Duran 

    4 years ago from USA

    These are all such great songs.

  • Jools99 profile image

    Jools Hogg 

    6 years ago from North-East UK

    Great tunes. The Chad and Jeremy song was featured in an ad on British TV this past summer! My favourite of all of these is Can't Buy Me Love but I really liked the Dave Clark 5 too.

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    These are some great songs! My favorites have to be Doo Wah Diddy and I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 

    8 years ago from South Africa

    Ah, nostalgia! That was a great crop of music! Many people don't realise it but Manfred Mann was actually South African, as was at least one member of his band, bassist Harry Miller.

    Thanks for the memory trip!

    Love and peace


  • one2get2no profile image

    Philip Cooper 

    8 years ago from Olney

    Great great hub. I was just thinking about downloading some Dave Clarke Five hits the other day.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Synchronicity, Trish :)

    iScribble: I was surprised House of the Rising Sun was that early too.

    It's true Mike, it happened so quickly. I am so glad I was in the UK then...

  • trish1048 profile image


    8 years ago

    Oh my, UV!

    What fantastic memories! I was right back there! I was blown away by the Animals. I cannot believe the voice coming from that young boy. I never would have guessed, had I not lived through it.

    Funny, I plan on burning some music cds today, and now I can add more to what I planned on. For some reason, I've been stumbling on hubs all morning with music.

    Super job! :)

  • profile image

    Mike Jones 

    8 years ago

    The amazing thing is the speed with which it all happened! In a few short years Britain was the center of the music world.

  • i scribble profile image

    i scribble 

    8 years ago

    I really enjoyed this stroll down memory lane. We're about the same age. I didn't realize some of these groups were British, like the Dave Clark Five. Some of these songs seem ahead of their time, like She's Not There (as you said) and also House of the Rising Sun. I really thought it was from the late 60's-not bubble-gum music like most early 60's stuff. Great hub!


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