19. Rock and roll was in a lull in America in 1963
Rock and roll was at a low point in the summer of 1963. Jerry Lee Lewis had lost popularity due to his marriage and other issues, making him toxic to promoters and concert managers. Elvis had returned from the Army singing ballads and making movies, instead of performing rock and roll music. Teen idols, manufactured by record companies and movie studios, such as Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, and Pat Boone, dominated the record charts and theater marquees. The top charting song in the United States in 1963 was Sugar Shack, by Jimmy Gilmer. Folk music and the California surf sound displaced rock and roll.
The Beatles became an international phenomenon in 1963, their records selling massively everywhere but in the United States. EMI owned Capitol Records in the United States, but Capitol refused to market the band in America. American newspapers noticed the craze in Britain and reported it to their readers, usually in dismissive terms. Capitol offered the Beatles’ records to a small independent label, Vee-Jay Records, of Chicago. Vee-Jay copies of Please Please Me failed to sell, in part because the label lacked the resources to ensure it received sufficient airplay, and EMI cancelled the contract in August, citing non-payment of royalties as the cause.