When The Beatles replaced each other at number one

1973 was one of the best times to be The Beatles. Even though the group had disbanded three years earlier, all four former members had found solo success and personal fulfilment in the immediate years since. 1973 was also the year all four band members became a united front against Allen Klein, the former Rolling Stones manager who sought to control the Beatles at the end of the band’s career.

But just based on commercial success, all four members were experiencing something of a renaissance by 1973. After being raked over the coals for his initial solo efforts, Paul McCartney had settled into a solid groove with Wings, scoring his second solo number one hit in America with ‘My Love’. Later that year, McCartney would truly return to superstar status thanks to Band on the Run, his most critically acclaimed effort with Wings.

For his part, Ringo Starr was achieving a surprising amount of success as well. After baulking in his initial solo career with novelty albums Sentimental Journey and Beaucoup of Blues, Starr pooled his resources and recorded Ringo, his signature solo effort. Ringo contained two number one hits for Starr: ‘Photograph’ and a cover of Johnny Burnette’s ‘You’re Sixteen’.

From the jump, George Harrison had been the most critically and commercially successful of all the former Beatles. His 1970 solo effort All Things Must Pass established him as a creative equal with his former bandmates, with Harrison scoring a number one hit with ‘My Sweet Lord’. His organisation of The Concert For Bangladesh was also touted highly, giving Harrison a reputation as the biggest winner of the Beatles breakup.

Strangely enough, it was John Lennon who was struggling the most. Although his 1971 album Imagine was a number one hit, Lennon couldn’t translate that success to the singles chart. He had a few near misses with ‘Instant Karma!’ and ‘Imagine’, both of which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1973, Lennon was separating from Yoko Ono and saw the title track to his album Mind Games stall at number 18.

Despite this, the summer of 1973 was a good time to be a former Beatle. Actually, it was a great time to be affiliated with The Beatles. Producer George Martin helped McCartney produce ‘Live and Let Die’ and saw the accompanying James Bond film become a hit. Billy Preston, the former collaborator with the band, also saw his solo career blossom, with the keyboardist scoring his own number one hit that year.

On June 2nd, McCartney officially nabbed his second solo number one hit with the Wings song ‘My Love’. The song stayed at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks before being usurped by a familiar face. On June 30th, Harrison’s ‘Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)’ replaced ‘My Love’ at number one, making it the only time that The Beatles replaced each other at number one during their solo careers.

In a strange twist of fate, Preston’s ‘Will It Go Round In Circles’ was also climbing the charts that summer. After two Beatles solo hits in a row, Preston then took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks before Jim Croce’s ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown’ ended the streak of Beatles collaborators at the top. Toward the end of the year, Starr would get it on the fun as well by sending ‘Photograph’ to number one on November 24th, 1973.

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