In the summer of 1963, The Beatles were huge in Britain. But this was not the case in America. Two earlier singles that had done well in their home country—”Please Please Me” and “From Me to You”—flopped when released in the States on the Vee-Jay label. Del Shannon’s cover of the latter song far outsold the original.
So was the release of “She Loves You” a guarantee of American success? Capitol, who was offered the chance to release it, didn’t think so. Even little Vee-Jay passed, having not gotten much back on their earlier investment. Fortunately, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, found a Philadelphia label called Swan (home of Freddy Cannon, Link Wray and His Ray Men, and The Rockin’ Rebels) that was willing to take a chance on the group.
It’s said that “She Loves You” was the song that created Beatlemania, the song that took the band from being extremely popular to being the cause of girls screaming so loudly that the music couldn’t be heard. And only half of the audience would be screaming at their shows—the other half would have fainted. So was it huge here? Not at first. The single was released on September 16, 1963 and received a positive review in Billboard. But it failed to chart, and only sold about 1,000 copies. But by January of 1964, an appearance on The Jack Paar Show coincided with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and America was finally paying attention. The Ed Sullivan Show appearance a month later sealed the deal, and Beatlemania was then firmly in place in America.