How Another Artist Got Paul McCartney and John Lennon on the U.S. Charts

Paul McCartney and John Lennon are among the most successful songwriting duos ever and wrote many songs that dominated the U.S. charts. When they had their first No. 1 hit in the U.S., it was a sign that Beatlemania was in full swing and signaled the beginning of the British Invasion. However, The Beatles did not perform the first song on the U.S. charts that is credited to Lennon-McCartney.

The first song on the U.S. charts credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney was performed by Del Shannon
In the early 1960s, The Beatles were becoming rising stars in the U.K. Their first single, “Love Me Do,” debuted in the U.K. in 1962 and peaked at No. 17. In 1963, The Beatles released “From Me to You”, which became their first No. 1 hit on the official U.K. Singles chart.

In 1963, The Beatles played at Swinging Sound ‘63 in London, where they played “From Me to You” and “Twist and Shout”. American musician, singer, and songwriter Del Shannon also performed that night and saw potential in the Liverpool band. He told John Lennon that he wanted to perform a cover of “From Me to You,” which initially made Lennon excited.

However, Lennon and Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein was concerned that a cover version could impact their song’s performance when released in the U.S.

“‘From Me To You’ has a bit of falsetto in it, so I`m going to record it,” Shannon told Dawn Eden. “At that time, no one had heard of the Beatles here (the U.S.), but I knew they were great writers, so I just picked up on one of their songs.”

Shannon’s cover of “From Me to You” did get Paul McCartney and John Lennon on the U.S. charts, but it didn’t get too far. It peaked at No. 77 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It didn’t impact The Beatles’ version much, but not in the way they would have preferred. Their version failed to reach the Hot 100, landing at No. 116. It also sold few copies, despite Cash Box labeling it a “pick of the week.”

McCartney said ‘From Me to You’ was a ‘pivotal’ song
While “From Me to You” failed to make an impression in the U.S., it pushed The Beatles to the forefront of the rock n’ roll genre in the U.K. In Many Years From Now, Paul McCartney said it was a “pivotal” song for The Beatles and his songwriting partnership with John Lennon.

The band also had a memorable experience with the track as they wrote it on a tour bus and showed it to Roy Orbison. Orbison also previewed “Pretty Woman” for them, a song that hit No. 1 in the U.K. and the U.S.

“That was a pivotal song. Our songwriting lifted a little with that song,” McCartney said. “It was very much co-written. We were starting to meet other musicians then, and we’d start to see other people writing. After that, on another tour bus with Roy Orbison, we saw Roy sitting in the back of the bus, writing ‘Pretty Woman’. It was lovely. We could trade off with each other. This was our real start.”

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