Folk rock musician Bob Dylan and British pop-rock band The Beatles meet for the first time. Dylan introduces The Beatles to marijuana, an event that changed the direction of The Beatles' career and the development of American rock, from a "music of revelry, a medium for lifting people up and helping them dance their blues away" to a "music of introspective self-absorption, a medium fit for communicating autobiographical intimacies, political discontents, spiritual elation, inviting an audience, not to dance, but to listen—quietly, attentively, thoughtfully."
The American folk revival begins its decline, sparked in part by the release of an electric cover of "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals and the politics-free Another Side of Bob Dylan, by Bob Dylan, and the breakup of The Highwaymen, Th Tarriers and The Journeymen
The jazz-based score for The Pink Panther, by Henry Mancini, paves the "way for a new generation of film composers".
Tony Scott's Music for Zen Meditation is generally credited as the first New Age music to be commercially recorded.
The word soul has become a common musical term in African American households, but is still not used by most media. It will spread widely in the next few years, however.
Thee Midniters begin recording, having their first hit with "Land of a Thousand Dances", and becoming the first significant Latin rock band in the country.
The British Invasion begins with the "first tours of important English rock groups”, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones
Rock music begins to win "intellectual respectability", while the term rock music, as opposed to rock and roll comes into wide use
Many films "situate music near the plot's center, where it usually symbolizes a set of social values subscribed to by the day's youth
The first performers to work within both Christian gospel music and secular soul music without extensive criticism arise, Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers
The term rock and roll begins to be replaced with rock, a broader term that encompasses a range of diverse styles.
A string of hits establishes the Motown sound as the dominant style of soul music, including recordings by the Temptations, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Martha & the Vandellas, The Supremes and The Four Tops.
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem inspire a resurgence of interest in traditional Irish folk music among Irish Americans and others.
The use of heroin, long associated with jazz musicians, spreads through the rock world, including musicians like Janis Joplin.
Davie Jones changes his name to David Bowie.
Meeting for the first time at the Hotel Delmonico, in New York, Bob Dylan rolls a joint and passes it to Ringo Starr, who not knowing what to do smokes the whole thing. Dylan went on rolling, The Beatles music got a lot better and the drug culture began.
The Beatles are the first of the British Invasion that dominated American Rock and Roll. The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, Chad and Jeremy, Herman's Hermits and The Animals etc. The Dave Clark Five were the second group of the British Invasion, after The Beatles, to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. This was shortly after their single "Glad All Over" had knocked "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the UK singles charts in January of 1964). In February 1964 "Glad All Over" entered the US singles charts and eventually peaked at No.6 in the United States in April 1964. Dave Clark formed the band in 1958, and was the band's drummer, placing his drum kit at the front of the stage, with the guitarists and organ to his rear and sides. He established business deals which allowed him to produce the band's recordings and gave him control of the master recordings. Lead vocals were provided by Mike Smith, who also played the keyboards. The rest of the band were Lenny Davidson on lead guitar, Rick Huxley on bass guitar, and Denny Payton on saxophone, harmonica and guitar. Songwriting credits went to Clark, Clark and Smith, Clark and Davidson, and Clark and Payton. Originating in North London, the band was promoted as the vanguard of the "Tottenham Sound", a response to the Mersey Beat stable managed by Brian Epstein. From the outset, the band's sound was complemented by the inclusion of a saxophone. The group had several more hit songs in the United States during 1964-67, including "Bits and Pieces" (May 1964), "Can't You See That She's Mine?" (July 1964), "Because" (August/September 1964), "Anyway You Want It" (December 1964), "I Like It Like That" (July 1965), "Catch Us If You Can" (October 1965), "Over And Over" (December 25, 1965), and "You Got What It Takes" (May 1967). The group disbanded in late 1970.
The Beatles, I Saw Her Standing There, was the B-Side of I Want to Hold Your Hand which sans the pop and kicks out some good old rock and roll
Ray Davies and brother Dave Davies of The Kinks release their first album with the hit You Really Got Me which has that first smash of sound that later becomes known as Heavy Metal
Though The Supremes began in 1959 and were signed to Gordon Berry and Motown in 1961 with Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross, it was not until Where Did Our Love Go, and Baby Love in 1964 that their string of a dozen #1 hits began throughout the Sixties. Their name did not change to Diana Ross and The Supremes until 1967.
The Rolling Stones go on their first U.S. tour with Bobby Goldsboro and Bobby Vee. They release their debut album, The Rolling Stones, purely R&B which becomes the impetus of the many groups who meld the blues into Rock and Roll throughout the decade. The five original members were Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman
The Girl From Ipanema - Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto wins Grammy for album of the year.
Newcomer Roger Miller had two hits with Dang Me and Chug-a-lug and wins the Grammy for best Country Western Album
With the song The Times they are a Changing and the album of the same name, Bob Dylan puts music to the growing protest movement of the Sixties. With God on Our Side sure is a simple declaration of why war
The Beatles arrive in the USA to great acclaim in 1964
January 15 – Vee Jay Records files a lawsuit against Capitol Records and Swan Records over manufacturing and distribution rights to Beatles albums. On April 9, Capitol Records is granted an injunction restraining Vee Jay Records from further manufacturing, distributing or advertising recordings by the Beatles. Vee-Jay Records label specialized in blues, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll. It was owned and operated by African Americans. It was founded in Gary, Indiana, in 1953 by Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken, a husband-and-wife team who used their initials for the label’s name. Vivian's brother, Calvin Carter, was the label's A&R man. Ewart Abner, formerly of Chance Records, joined the label in 1955, first as manager, then as vice president, and ultimately, as president. Vee-Jay’s biggest successes occurred in 1962-1964, when they signed theFour Seasons and had the distribution rights for some of the Beatles records ("Please Please Me" and "From Me to You" via Vee-Jay1 and "Love Me Do", "Twist and Shout", and "Do You Want to Know a Secret)
They got the contract because record giant EMI's autonomous United States company Capitol initially refused to release Beatles records. Vee-Jay's releases were at first unsuccessful, but quickly became huge hits once the British Invasion took off in early 1964, selling 2.6 million Beatles singles in a single month. Cash flow problems caused by Ewart Abner's tapping the company treasury to cover personal gambling debts led to the company's active demise; Vee-Jay had been forced to temporarily cease operations in the second half of 1963, leading to royalty disputes with the Four Seasons and EMI.
January 18 – The Beatles appear on the Billboard magazine charts for the first time.
February 1 – Indiana Governor Matthew E. Welsh declares the song "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen (Above) pornographic. He requests that the Indiana Broadcasters Association ban the record. Governor Welsh claimed that hearing the song made his "ears tingle." Publisher Max Firetag offers $1,000 to anyone that can find anything "suggestive" in the song's lyrics.
February 7 – The Beatles arrive in the United States and are greeted by thousands of screaming fans at New York's Kennedy Airport.
February 22 – Plácido Domingo makes his international breakthrough at the première of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo in New York City.
March – Capitol Records is bombarded with requests for heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay's album, I Am the Greatest, following Clay's defeat of Sonny Liston in February.
March 6 – Elvis Presley's 14th motion picture, Kissin' Cousins is released to theaters.
March 14 – Billboard Magazine reports that sales of Beatles records make up 60% of the entire singles market.
March 16 – Disc jockey Alan Freed is charged with tax evasion.
March 24 – John Lennon's first book, In His Own Write is published.
March 27 – The Beatles occupy the top six spots on the Australian pop chart.
March 28 – Wax likenesses of The Beatles are put on display in London's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. The Beatles are the first pop stars to be displayed at the museum.
April 4 – The Beatles occupied all five top positions on Billboard's Hot 100 with their singles "Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Please Please Me".
April 11 – The Beatles hold 14 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Previously, the highest number of concurrent singles by one artist on the Hot 100 was nine by Elvis Presley, December 19, 1956.
April 16 – The Rolling Stones release their eponymous début album.
May 2 – In the United States, The Beatles' Second Album climbs to the #1 spot on the LP charts in only its second week of release.
June 5 – The Rolling Stones start their first US tour.
July 31 – Country singer Jim Reeves dies in an airplane crash near Nashville.
August 8 – Bob Dylan releases his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan.
August 22 – The Supremes are on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the first of five successive number one hits, "Where Did Our Love Go".
August 26 – The Kinks release their iconic single "You Really Got Me".
September 22 – Fiddler on the Roof opens on Broadway.
October 19 – Simon & Garfunkel release Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which is initially a total flop upon first release. After release of their second album, Sounds of Silence, in 1966, it hits #30 on the Billboard charts.
October 31 – The Supremes are on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the second of five successive number one hits, "Baby Love".
December 11 – Sam Cooke (Above) is killed under mysterious circumstances in Los Angeles, California. Shortly thereafter, "A Change Is Gonna Come", a song considered by many to be his best, is released.
December 19 – The Supremes are on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the third of five successive number one hits, "Come See About Me".
Simon & Garfunkel make their first recording for Columbia Records.
Dalida is the first star to receive a Platinum Disc in Europe.
11 year old Keith Green becomes the youngest person ever to sign a contract with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) after publishing, recording and releasing the song "The Way I Used to Be".
Marianne Faithfull's musical career begins.
Sonny and Cher begin performing together.
Charts Toppers for 1964
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Oh, Pretty Woman
House of the Rising Sun
A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine
Top songs of 1964
All Day and All of the Night – The Kinks
Anyone Who Had a Heart – Cilla Black
As Tears Go By – Marianne Faithfull
Baby I Need Your Loving – The Four Tops
Baby Love – The Supremes
Baby Please Don't Go – Them
Come See About Me – The Supremes
Can't Buy Me Love – The Beatles
Dancing In The Street – Martha and The Vandellas
Do Wah Diddy Diddy – Manfred Mann
Do You Want to Know a Secret – The Beatles
Ferry Cross the Mersey – Gerry & the Pacemakers
Genie With the Light Brown Lamp - The Shadows
Girl Don't Come – Sandie Shaw
Gloria – Them was a Northern Irish band formed in Belfast in April 1964, most prominently known for the garage rock standard "Gloria" and launching singer Van Morrison's musical career. The group was part of the British Invasion. They hit it big with "Gloria"
Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
A Hard Day's Night – The Beatles
Hello, Dolly! – Louis Armstrong
The House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
I Feel Fine – The Beatles
I Get Around – Beach Boys
I'm Crying – The Animals
I'm Into Something Good – Herman's Hermits
It's All Over Now – The Rolling Stones
Just One Look – The Hollies
Little Children – Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas
Little Old Lady from Pasadena – Jan and Dean
Little Red Rooster – The Rolling Stones
Losing You – Dusty Springfield
My Boy Lollipop – Millie
My Guy – Mary Wells
Rag Doll – The Four Seasons
Ringo – Lorne Greene
She's Not There – The Zombies (Above)
Twist and Shout – The Beatles
There's a Place – The Beatles
The Way You Do The Things You Do -The Temptations
Tobacco Road – The Nashville Teens
We Love You Beatles – The Carefrees
Where Did Our Love Go? – The Supremes
A World Without Love – Peter & Gordon
You Really Got Me – The Kinks
One Hit Wonders of 1964
"Midnight Mary" Joey Powers January 4, 1964 #10
"Popsicles and Icicles" The Murmaids January 11, 1964 #3 The Murmaids were a one-hit wonder all-female vocal trio composed of sisters Carol and Terry Fischer; and Sally Gordon from Los Angeles, California who, in January 1964 reached #3 with "Popsicles and Icicles". The Fischer sisters were 15 and 17 years old in 1963; Sally Gordon, also 17, was a friend and neighbor. The Fischers' father was Carl Fischer, composer of standards such as Billie Holliday's "You've Changed" and "We'll Be Together Again," sung by Frankie Laine. Carl Fischer was also musical director and arranger for Laine for twelve years. Their mother, Terry Sr., sang with the big bands of the day, ultimately becoming the first girl singer with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Their grandmother and her three sisters played the vaudeville circuit as the Locus Sisters. “Popsicles and Icicles" began receiving airplay in Los Angeles in October 1963, breaking nationally in November to reach its #3 peak in Billboard and Cash Box on their charts dated 11 January 1964. The Record World chart ranked "Popsicles and Icicles" at #1 for the week of January 18. The Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand” followed "Popsicles and Icicles" which is sometimes cited as the last #1 of the pre-British Invasion rock and roll genre. In the UK "Popsicles and Icicles" did not chart, however (Popsicles in Britain are called "ice lollies".)
"What Kind of Fool "The Tams February 22, 1964 #9
"Letter from Sherry" Dale Ward February 22, 1964 #25
"California Sun" The Rivieras February 29, 1964 #5 The Rivieras were formed in the early 1960s in South Bend, Indiana, United States and are best known for their hit "California Sun." The group was made up of teenagers from South Bend Central High School who named themselves after the Buick Riviera. The Rivieras were one of the many groups in America that became part of the "frat rock" movement in the early 1960s. "California Sun" was one of the last songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart before the "British Invasion"
"Penetration" The Pyramids March 14, 1964 #18
"Who Do You Love" The Sapphires March 14, 1964 #9
"I Wish You Love" Gloria Lynne March 14, 1964 #28
"High-Heel Sneakers" Tommy Tucker March 21, 1964 #11
"Hippy Hippy Shake" The Swinging Blue Jeans April 4, 1964 #24
" Van Winkle" The Devotions April 4, 1964 #36
"We Love You Beatles" The Carefrees April 11, 1964 #39
"Forever" Peter Drake and his Talking Steel Guitar April 25, 1964 #25
"Shangri-La" Robert Maxwell and His Harp and Orchestra May 2, 1964 #6
"Charade" Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra May 9, 1964 #36
"Wish Someone Would Care" Irma Thomas May 16, 1964 #17
"White on White" Danny Williams May 16, 1964 #9
" Romeo and Juliet" The Reflections May 30, 1964 #6
"You're My World" Cilla Black July 7, 1964 #26
"Remember Me" Rita Pavone July 11, 1964 #26
"The Girl from Ipanema" Strud Gilberto July 18, 1964 5
"Farmer John" The Premiers August 1, 1964 #19
"I Wanna Love Him So Bad" The Jelly Beans August 8, 1964 #9
"I'm Into Somethin' Good" Earl-Jean August 8, 1964 #38
"Steal Away" Jimmy Hughes August 15, 1964 17
"She's the One" The Chartbusters August 15, 1964 #33
"Mixed-Up, Shook-Up Girl" Patty & the Emblems August 15, 1964 #37
"Haunted House" Jumpin' Gene Simmons August 26, 1964 #11
"Selfish One" Jackie Ross September 5, 1964 #11
"Funny Joe Hinton October 10, 1964 #13
"We'll Sing in the Sunshine" Gale Garnett October 17, 1964 #4
"Little Honda" The Hondells October 31, 1964 #9 The Hondells were a surf rock band who hit the Top 10 with the 1964 single "Little Honda". Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys, was inspired by the popularity of Honda motor bikes in Southern California during the early 1960s. The band recorded the song for its 1964 album All Summer Long. Subsequently, producer Gary Usher gave former Castells vocalist Chuck Girard a copy of "All Summer Long" and instructed him to learn "Little Honda". Usher then recruited a group of studio musicians – including Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine – to record an album of Honda-related songs for Mercury Records, with production credited to Nick Venet, though Usher was the brains behind the record.
"Ringo" Lorne Greene November 7, 1964 #1
"Last Kiss" J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers November 7, 1964 #2
"Tobacco Road" The Nashville Teens November 7, 1964 #14
"Have I the Right?" The Honeycombs November 14, 1964 #5
"Shaggy Dog" Mickey Lee Lane October 28, 1964 #38
"Hawaii Tattoo" The Waikikis December 5, 1964 #33
Musical films of 1964
A Hard Day's Night starring The Beatles
Viva Las Vegas starring Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret
American Bandstand’s production moved from Philadelphia to the ABC Television Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 1964.
Shindig! A musical variety series aired on ABC from September 16, 1964. The show was hosted by Jimmy O'Neill, a disc jockey in Los Angeles
January 1 – Top of the Pops premieres on BBC television.
January 3 – Footage of the Beatles performing a concert in Bournemouth, England is shown on The Jack Paar Show.
The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. With 73 million viewers February 9 – The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, which breaks television ratings records.
January 14, 1964 Peter Paul and Mary performed on the Jack Benny television program, with the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind".
February 16 – The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
February 23 – The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
October 24 – The Rolling Stones start their second US tour.
October 25 – The Rolling Stones perform on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.
A performance on the Ed Sullivan Show by the Beatles leads to the beginning of Beatlemania in the United States. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" becomes a #1 single, along with eight other Beatles recordings this year. The movie A Hard Day's Night is also released to great acclaim.
Hello Dolly! - Original cast
Honey in the Horn - Al Hirt
Meet the Beatles - The Beatles
The Songs of the West Side Story - soundtracks
The Second Barbra Streisand Album - Barbra Streisand
Album of the Year: Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto
Best New Artist: The Beatles
Best Pop Duo or Group: A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles
Best Pop Female Vocal: “People,” Barbra Streisand
Best Pop Male Vocal: “Hello, Dolly!,” Louis Armstrong
Best Rock and Roll Recording “Downtown,” Petula Clark
Record of the Year: “The Girl From Ipanema,” Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto
Song of the Year: “Hello, Dolly!”
Bands formed in 1964
The Jackson 5
The Moody Blues