Mumford & Sons “In a League With the Beatles”? Um, No.

Image of Mumford & Sons beatles

Fact: Mumford & Sons have six songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart this week.

Wild, misleading hyperbole, courtesy of Paste magazine:

Mumford & Sons Tie The Beatles for Most Hot 100 Hits in a Week

…The quartet is now in a league with The Beatles as the band with the most Hot 100 hits in a week. Lead single “I Will Wait” moves up to No. 57, and joining it are the debuts of five others including the title track (No. 60), “Lover’s Eyes” (No. 85), “Whispers in the Dark” (No. 86), “Holland Road” (No. 92) and “Ghosts That We Knew” (No. 94). ( )

Reality check:

During the week of April 4, 1964 the Beatles not only occupied the top five slots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (#1 “Can’t Buy Me Love”, #2 “Twist and Shout”, #3 “She Loves You”, #4 “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and #5 “Please Please Me”) but held twelve positions overall. Twelve. Twice as many as six.

Oh, and of the twelve songs the Beatles charted simultaneously, three topped the chart at some point. And others didn’t only because they were crowded out of the number one slot by other Beatles songs. (“Twist and Shout” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret” were #2’s and “Please Please Me” peaked at #3)

Oh, and that same week’s chart also included two singles that were tributes to the Beatles (“We Love You Beatles” by the Carefrees and “A Letter to the Beatles” by the Four Preps). Oh, and two more Beatle tribute songs charted just two weeks previous (“My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut” by Donna Lynn and “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” by the Swans).

Oh, and the following week another Beatles number 1 , “Love Me Do” would debut on the American charts.

Also beginning the same month Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas would chart three hits written and given to them by the Beatles, including top ten “Bad to Me”. Then starting in May a string of three Beatle-penned top twenty hits came from Peter & Gordon, including number 1 “A World Without Love”.

You see, the Beatles weren’t a flavor-of-the-month iTunes wonder–you know, like Kings of Leon, the last Next Big Thing? They were, and are, a cultural phenomenon. They owned not only the decade of the sixties but (let’s be honest) every decade since. In the less than seven years between their first chart hit and their breakup they established a record for most number 1 singles (20) that still stands. The great Rolling Stones, who made their chart debut within nine months of the Beatles and are still at it, remain at number fourteen on that list with 8.

The Beatles had 15 American million-selling records in 1964 alone. Their total worldwide record sales are in excess of 1 billion units.

Every conversation about the greatest rock and roll album of all time starts with one or another of their LPs.

The Beatles’ drummer has had seven more top ten singles as a solo artist than Mumford & Sons. In fact, Mumford & Sons have never had a top ten single. Or a top twenty single.

I could go on. The point is that calling a band like Mumford & Sons “in a league with the Beatles” is irresponsible hype. And saying they’ve tied them for the most chart hits in one week is factually incorrect. Correct your post, Paste. Post haste.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 22:30:40

    You should email this to Paste Magazine. I’m sure you won’t be the only one. Although yours might be the most thorough and well written. Maybe they’ll offer you a job….


  2. john
    Oct 09, 2012 @ 21:14:41

    Well you nailed it again. And, yes, send your commentary to Paste.
    Oh here’s a question — how likely is it that 60 years from now, folks will be using Mumford & Sons as a yardstick?
    M & Sons in Beatles’ league? Well, we ALL know this is a cheap journalistic device to attract attention to the article. They don’t really mean it, they just want to create a stir.

    Or, here’s another question: how many times in the last year has Paste used the Beatles as a yardstick? How many times Mumford & Sons? Nope, not in the same league.


    • Ed Cyphers
      Oct 09, 2012 @ 21:17:04

      All good questions. Yeah, I’ll admit it was the headline that made me click on that post in the first place. They got me!


      • KAli
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 23:27:44

        Thank you for these links! I couldn’t agree with you more: the Truth siehns more brightly and more beautiful in their music than just about anywhere else these days. (By the way, just a bit of friendly gossip, but did you know that Mumford’s mum and dad lead the UK Association of Vineyard Churches? I head Eleanor Mumford speak a few years ago at a women’s conference. She was incredible.)


  3. Trackback: Mumford Revisited « ED CYPHERS
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    Jul 02, 2013 @ 20:15:41

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