Del Shannon: The Unexpected Herald of The Beatles in the U.S.
The Beatles’ iconic duo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, are known for their exceptional songwriting skills that have left an indelible mark on the music industry. However, an interesting fact about their journey to fame in the U.S. is that their first hit wasn’t performed by the Beatles. Instead, it was a cover of their song “From Me To You” by Del Shannon that made its way into the Hot 100 in June 1963. The Beatles themselves would only top the U.S. charts six months later with their song “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
“From Me To You” was released in April 1963 as the Beatles’ third single. It was the Beatles’ first number 1 hit on the official UK singles chart. However, it failed to make an impact in the United States at the time of its initial release. The song was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon while on a coach heading to Shrewsbury as part of the Beatles’ tour with Helen Shapiro. The title was inspired by the name of the letters section of the New Musical Express, which they had been reading: “From You to Us”. McCartney noted that their early songs tended to include the words “I”, “me” or “you” in them, as a way of making them “very direct and personal” to the band’s fans.
Del Shannon’s cover version of “From Me to You” was released in 1963 and became the first Lennon–McCartney tune to enter the US pop charts. The Beatles’ original was rereleased in the US in January 1964 as the b-side to “Please Please Me”, and reached number 41.