Beatles 1963: Beatlemania Begins
January 11: "Please Please Me" is released.
February 2: The Beatles begin their first British tour at the Gaumont in Bradford, opening up for singer Helen Shapiro.
February 22: Fulfilling the prophecy of producer George Martin, the revamped "Please Please Me" becomes the group's first Number One hit in the UK. That same day, the group forms their Northern Songs publishing company, and later manager Brian Epstein brings the group to a Soho eatery to celebrate.
February 25: Vee Jay releases the first US single by the then-unknown Beatles: "Please Please Me" b/w "Ask Me Why." It fails to make any impact whatsoever, but will become a collector's item in recent years due to the first pressing, which misspells the band name as the "Beattles."
February 28: While on tour with Helen Shapiro, John Lennon and Paul McCartney compose the Beatles' next hit, "From Me To You," on the tour bus from York to Shrewsbury in Shropshire, England.
March 5: The Beatles record an old Quarrymen number, "One After 909," but decide against releasing it.
March 22: The group's first album, Please Please Me, is released.
April 5: The Beatles recieve their first silver disc award (250,000 copies sold) for Please Please Me.
April 8: John and Cynthia's only child, Julian, is born. A very busy John will not be able to see him for three full days.
April 11: The Beatles release "From Me to You."
April 13: The group makes its first national television appearance on BBC's The 625 Show.
April 18: Before a live BBC concert broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall, Paul McCartney meets Jane Asher, a model and TV personality who had been dispatched to cover the concert for the Radio Times TV listings magazine. They hit it off immediately.
April 21: The Beatles meet the Rolling Stones for the first time, backstage after the Stones' gig at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, England. The bands get along well after some initial nervousness, but contrary to myth, this is not the occasion where the Beatles write "I Wanna Be Your Man" for their rivals.
April 28: John Lennon agrees to join manager Brian Epstein on vacation in Barcelona, triggering rumors that the two had a sexual fling (Epstein was gay, though of course, not openly). It remains unclear exactly what happened on the trip.
May 18: The Beatles begin their third tour of 1963 at the Adelphi Cinema in Buckinghamshire, England, opening for Roy Orbison; within a few days, thanks to growing "Beatlemania," they will be headlining
May 19: For the first time, female Beatles fans attempt to sneak into the group's dressing room while they're at a gig in Hanley, England. The three girls, who used a ladder to get through the window, are caught but released without charges after the group signs a few autographs for them.
June 18: At Paul's 21st birthday party in Liverpool, Cavern Club DJ Bob Wooler taunts Lennon about his trip with Epstein, calling it a "honeymoon." A drunk John beats Wooler fairly badly; he later sends an apologetic telegram to the DJ and apologizes publicly when the story later breaks in the Daily Mirror newspaper (with no mention of the context).
June 19: For the first time, Ringo Starr uses his new Ludwig drum kit, complete with the famous "Beatles" logo, onstage as the group performs at London's Playhouse Theatre.
June 26: After a Beatles performance at the Majestic Ballroom, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, John Lennon and Paul McCartney write "She Loves You" in their hotel room, originally a homage of sorts to the minor 1959 Bobby Rydell hit "We Got Love."
July 20: The Beatles nab their first UK Number One LP with Please Please Me.
August 4: The Beatles make their first inroad to the American charts when their latest British single, "From Me To You," debuts at #116 in Billboard. Unfortunately, it stays there, due to problems with its American label (Vee Jay) and a cover version by Del Shannon that got the jump on it. It would take a massive promotional blitz by Capitol over the next five months to ensure a Beatles hit in America with the single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There" (Capitol 5112).
August 22: EMI announces a half-million advance orders in Britain for the Beatles' upcoming single, "She Loves You," which is released the next day.
September 14: The Beatles' "She Loves You" becomes England's best-selling single of all time, a record that wouldn't be broken until 1977, when ex-Beatle Paul McCartney will release "Mull Of Kintyre.
September 16: Currently the #1 song in England, the Beatles' "She Loves You" is released by the tiny Swan label in America, but the stateside public has no idea who the group is, and the single fails to chart. Four months later, after "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and the attendant Beatlemania, a re-released "She Loves You" single will reach #1 in the US as well. Meanwhile, Paul and Ringo, along with girlfriends Jane Asher and Maureen Cox, take a well-deserved vacation in Greece, John takes his wife Cynthia to Paris for a belated honeymoon, and George visits his sister Louise in... Benton, Illinois. Louise gets a local radio station there to play a copy of "She Loves You," to little response.
September 28: A full two months before "I Want To Hold Your Hand" finally breaks Beatlemania in the US, New York disc jockey Murray The K obtains a copy of the Beatles' last single, "She Loves You," and plays it on his radio show for two solid weeks, becoming the first American DJ to play a Beatles record. The response is tepid.
October 13: Beatlemania begins in earnest at the Beatles appear on the popular BBC television show Sunday Night At The Palladium, performing "She Loves You," "From Me To You," "I'll Get You," and "Twist And Shout." 15 million people in the UK alone watch the live performance on television, while thousands of fans pack nearby Argyll Street to catch a glimpse of the group.
October 17: The group records the first of its annual Christmas Records for fan club members only.
October 31: The Beatles return from a tour of Sweden to find 50,000 screaming fans waiting for them at London's Heathrow Airport, the surest proof yet that Beatlemania is a national phenomenon. Waiting at the airport is American TV host Ed Sullivan, who notices the furor. "Who are those guys?" he asks a bystander, who tells him they are "England's foremost singing group." Having never heard them, Sullivan nevertheless immediately contacts manager Brian Epstein to book the band for three appearances on his CBS show early in 1964.
November 1: The Beatles begin their first headlining UK tour with two shows at the Odeon in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, earning 300 pounds a night. Opening acts include The Rhythm and Blues Quartet, The Vernons Girls, Frank Berry, The Brook Brothers, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers, and The Kestrels. The set list: "I Saw Her Standing There," "From Me To You," "All My Loving," "You Really Got A Hold On Me," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Boys," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," "Money," and "Twist And Shout." The full scream of Beatlemania makes it impossible to hear the music, but that doesn't stop girls from camping out for two days in advance for tickets.
November 2: Reviewing the Beatles' concert the night before in Cheltenham, England, the British paper Daily Mirror uses the headline "Beatlemania!" effectively inserting the phrase into the popular consciousness for the first time.
November 4: The Beatles give their famous Royal Command Performance for the Queen Mother and assorted dignitaries at London's Prince of Wales Theatre. A nervous John jokes between songs that the "people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands... And the rest of you, if you'd just rattle your jewelry."
November 9: The Beatles' new single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand," becomes the first-ever UK single to receive advance orders of one million copies.
November 17: Headmaster John Weightman of Surrey Grammar School in Guildford, England, bans the popular Beatle "moptop" haircuts, explaining that "this ridiculous style brings out the worst in boys physically. It makes them look like morons."
November 22: The Beatles' second album, With the Beatles, is released.
December 7: The Beatles appear on the BBC record rating show Juke Box Jury as panelists, then stick around to record a concert for the network.
December 13: The Beatles end their 1963 UK tour with a concert at the Gaumont Cinema in Southampton, England.
December 18: The Beatles record the first of their BBC Radio two-hour specials entitled From Us to You, with a special reworking of "From Me to You" done just for the occasion.
December 24: The Beatles begin an annual tradition of sorts when they hold their first "Beatles Christmas Show" at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London. The brainchild of manager Brian Epstein, the show features the Beatles and other musical acts playing their hits and doing comedy skits in between. The series of thirty concerts, which run through January 11, feature the Beatles along with Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, Cilla Black, and Rolf Harris, among others.
December 28: The magazine The New Yorker publishes an interview with Beatles manager Brian Epstein in their "Talk Of The Town" column about the band's upcoming Ed Sullivan gig -- the first major press the group has received in the US.
December 29: At 12:50 pm, New York's WMCA becomes the first radio station in the US to play the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand," officially kicking off the American Beatlemania craze. Across town, WABC plays the song an hour later.
December 30: The Beatles win Group and Record Of The Year ("She Loves You") in British music newspaper New Musical Express' annual year-end poll.