The grouping of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr wrote and performed some of the most iconic songs from the era of free love and counterculture. But how many number-ones did The Beatles have until their dissolution in 1970?
Let's find out below. We'll also give you our top 10 favorites from this iconic British band.
So, How Many Number Ones Did The Beatles Have?
Over their decade of existence, the Beatles saw 20 number 1 hits on the Billboard charts. This places the band firmly at the top of British bands when it comes to hit songs. Only George Michael, with 10, is even close to the band.
The Beatles formed in Great Britain back in 1960. While they started small and sold out many clubs around Liverpool, the band's success outgrew the cramped spaces. A change in management with the band helped to right the ship, and The Beatles saw their debut album, Please Please Me, released in 1963.
A year later, the band had its first hit single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” chart on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. The invasion had begun.
Speaking of beginning, let's take a look at our top 10!
1. Hey Jude
“Hey Jude” is The Beatles' most-successful song on the Billboard charts, hanging around at No. 1 for nine weeks.
This timeless classic, released in 1968, has been covered by many talented musicians, but The Beatles' version still stands out the most.
The song was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon-McCartney. It was originally titled “Hey Jules,” named after John Lennon's son Julian. It was written as an encouragement to Julian during the difficult divorce between Lennon and Cynthia Lennon. The lyrics, “Take a sad song and make it better,” are thought to refer to the family's situation.
2. Can't Buy Me Love
A perfect example of The Beatles' early bubblegum pop music sound, “Can't Buy Me Love,” had five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard. As one of their first monster hits worldwide, the song helped establish the band as a force to be reckoned with in the years ahead.
The song starts with the line “Can't buy me love,” which implies that money is not the solution to all of life's problems. Instead, the narrator realizes that love is the ultimate answer. He explains that he can't be happy without love and that money can't buy him the companionship he desires.
The song's chorus emphasizes the power of love with the lines “Love, love, love… that's all I need”. Throughout the song, the Beatles use various metaphors and imagery to illustrate that money cannot buy love. For example, they sing “Money can't buy me the sunshine and the rain,” conveying the idea that money can't buy happiness.
3. I Want To Hold Your Hand
Is there anything sweeter than The Beatles' early hits? This one, however, has particular meaning to the band's success considering it was their first No. 1 hit on the Billboard chart. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks, cementing the band's early success.
The song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was inspired by their mutual love for the American pop music of the time. In the song, the narrator expresses his desire to be close to the object of his affection. The lyrics are simple and heartfelt, and it is easy to see why the song resonates with many people.
The song's success helped to catapult The Beatles to international stardom. The song features a catchy melody and an infectious beat, which make it an ideal choice for sing-alongs. It also features clever wordplay, with the word “hand” being a nice touch.
This song also holds the distinction of being one of the songs the band played on their iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963. A whopping 73 million people tuned in to see that performance.
4. Get Back
“Get Back” is one of the most beloved songs of the band's illustrious career. The song was released in 1969 on the classic Abbey Road album and has been covered by numerous artists.
The song is a classic rock tune with a catchy chorus and memorable guitar riffs. The song lyrics are about getting back to the basics of life and leaving behind all the complications of the modern world. However, the lyrics are also a call to action, urging listeners to unite and fight for a better future.
The Beatles' classic tune has become a timeless anthem for many. It has been used in various films, television shows, and commercials. It has also influenced other musicians like U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The song's message of hope and togetherness has resonated with listeners for decades. It serves as a reminder that no matter how difficult life may seem, there is always a way to get back to the basics and make a difference.
5. Let It Be
The title song off The Beatles' final studio album is a poignant and melancholy tune that perfectly caps off the band's success. Released in 1970, this tune was the final No. 1 hit for the band as they ended their relationship that year.
“Let It Be” is a sad and beautiful ballad that speaks of finding peace and faith in times of distress.
The lyrics speak of finding strength in times of difficulty and faith in a higher power. The song reminds us to find solace in things out of our control. In the song's bridge, Paul McCartney sings, “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, Shine until tomorrow, let it be.” This is a powerful message of hope and faith.
The song also speaks of motherly love, with the line, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”
6. Love Me Do
The Beatles may not have had a massive hit in the States until “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” but “Love Me Do” was already making waves across the pond in the band's native Great Britain. Released in 1963 as one of the songs off their debut album, the song was the fourth No. 1 Billboard hit for the band in 1964.
The song's lyrics are simple but effective. It speaks of the desire for love despite the struggles that come with it. The chorus, “Love, love me do, You know I love you,” conveys a strong message of commitment and devotion. The song also speaks of the longing for a partner who will be there when times are tough, with the line “I'll always be true, so please love me do.”
The music of the song is just as iconic as the lyrics. It features a driving beat, catchy melodies, and a signature harmonica solo. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song as their first dual-credit song. It demonstrated their songwriting talents and set the tone for the rest of their career.
Who knew The Beatles could turn one word into such a catchy song? The Beatles released the song in 1965 and stayed at No. 1 on Billboard for three weeks. This song marked a turning point in the band's career, as it was their first single to feature lyrics by John Lennon. The song is widely seen as a cry for help from Lennon, as he was going through a difficult period.
The song is an uptempo rock song with a catchy hook and memorable lyrics. Lennon's lyrics capture the feelings of helplessness and frustration that he was feeling at the time. The song speaks to feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do. The chorus of “Help me if you can, I'm feeling down” is a plea for help from someone struggling.
Musically, the song is upbeat and catchy. The guitar riff is one of the most recognizable in rock music. The song also features some of the most inventive drumming of Ringo Starr's career. The driving rhythm and Lennon's pleading lyrics make for a powerful track.
Yesterday is one of The Beatles' first hits that depart from the band's established formula of catchy, upbeat, and optimistic tunes.
The song tells the story of a man struggling with losing a loved one and the loneliness that comes with it. Yet, despite the sadness of the lyrics, the music is incredibly uplifting and optimistic. The melody is simple and catchy, and the instrumentation is sparse yet powerful. The song's power comes from its ability to evoke strong emotions in the listener, regardless of age or language.
The song has become a staple of the Beatles' catalog and remains popular in countless live performances. It is also in countless films, television shows, and advertisements. The song's popularity has even resulted in several parodies, including a version featuring Kermit the Frog.
The song's lasting appeal is a testament to its timelessness and ability to connect with listeners. It's a classic that will never be forgotten and will continue to be cherished for generations.
9. We Can Work It Out
The Beatles wrote an ode on fixing a broken relationship and still found a way to make it sound upbeat. The song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and released as a single in December 1965. The song is a plea for two lovers to work out their differences and get back together. The lyrics are straightforward, but the message is powerful and timeless.
The song is an upbeat rock track with a light acoustic guitar riff, a steady bass line, and driving drums. The melody is catchy and uplifting, and the harmonies are beautiful. Lennon and McCartney's vocals blend seamlessly, and the backing vocals of George Harrison and Ringo Starr provide a solid foundation.
Many artists have covered the song over the years, including Stevie Wonder, Peter Frampton, and the Beach Boys. It has also been featured in various films, television shows, and commercials.
The song has become an anthem for relationships and relationships in turmoil. It is a reminder that no matter how bad things may seem, with a little effort and understanding, two people can work out their differences and improve things.
10. All You Need Is Love
“All You Need Is Love” is an anthem of optimism and hope embraced by generations of listeners. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the song was released in 1967 as part of the Beatles' album Magical Mystery Tour.
The song's simple but powerful message of love resonated strongly with its audience and quickly became a worldwide hit. The lyrics, which emphasize the importance of love and togetherness, perfectly reflect the “peace and love” vibe of the 1960s counterculture. It’s also one heck of a song to lead a wedding procession.
The international community also embraced the song's optimistic message. In 1967, it featured as the theme song for the first international satellite broadcast, which featured the Beatles performing the song live from Abbey Road Studios.
This broadcast was seen by an estimated 400 million worldwide viewers, making it an important moment in the history of global communication.
How Many Number Ones Did The Beatles Have? Final Thoughts
The Beatles continue to have a lasting impact on music and pop culture. Although the band broke up in 1970, the four members had successful solo careers. While John Lennon and George Harrison passed away, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr continued to tour and release music.
McCartney is the most successful of the group with multiple other No. 1 singles and hit records to his name. On the other hand, Starr had several hits and starred in many film roles.
Despite how many number ones The Beatles have, their history is a lesson on how success is often not sustainable.