Sixties Music Secrets

Tag: The Dave Clark Five

” The British Invasion “… Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda ?

No question, when we talk about 60’s music our focus and “Ground Zero” always turns to “The British Invasion” ! At one point in the mid Sixties statistics indicate that nearly every other record in “The Top 40” was performed by a resident from The United Kingdom. However dear reader, we have a question for your consideration….Would there or could there have been a “British Invasion” if John had never met Paul and they never formed The Beatles? In the late 50’s a burgeoning music scene was growing exponentially with “Skiffle” music taking root and taking hold of every youth in the U.K. Skiffle music was a kind of mix of jazz, country and jug band, played on the most rudimentary instruments, one or two stringed guitars wash boards, you get the drill and it required very little skill. In fact, as the 50’s came to an end it was estimated that there were as many as 30,000 to 50,000 Skiffle bands in The United Kingdom ! Many of course attempted to record but the records only got attention, if any, in the band’s home town, Skiffle didn’t travel well to say the least. However, you may recall a record called “Rock Island Line” by Lonnie Donnegan? The poster child for Skiffle and perhaps the only record from the Genre to get play in the U.S. But as the 60’s arrived Skiffle music and it’s players matured and a new “Beat” sound ( completely influenced by American Rock n Roll ) took over

Hundreds and hundreds of new artists began appearing in several urban centers around the U.K. Primarily Birmingham, Manchester, London and of course…..Liverpoole ! Where John, Paul, George and Ringo were one of over an estimated  350 new bands looking for work ! Along with other locals like The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers and Cilla Black. ALL by the way managed by Brian Epstein. A similar scene was playing out in London where every night every club was sold out and London’s “swinging” youth rocked out to the very young Rolling Stones, Spencer Davis ( featuring a 15-year-old Stevie Winwood ) The Yardbirds, Dusty Springfield, Dave Clark Five and Moody Blues, while up in Manchester you could hear Graham Nash with The Hollies, Peter Noone with Herman’s Hermits and the wacky Freddie and The Dreamers. All getting a little traction in their hometown yet none of them ever dreaming they would conquer America. In the U.S, we heard little about these artist and their music. The only English Exports we were aware of was Cliff Richard, in the U.K.  he was known as “The English Elvis” Although he had the looks and a decent enough voice,for Americans, there was nothing about Cliff that remotely resembled The King ! His slick pop songs only widened the musical gap between The U.S. And The U.K.Cliff struggled for acceptance in America but it never happened. The fact is prior to the British Invasion ,only two English recordings made it to the American top spot…. “Stranger on the Shore by Mr. Ackerman Bilk, an instrumental, and “Telstar” by The Tornados, yet another instrumental ! Reminding us of the quote from George Bernard Shaw “The U.S.A. and Great Britton, two great countries divided by a common language”…..Think about it !

The British Invasion quickly spoke loud and clear to that division, and somehow they did it without that odd sounding accent. The U.K. Was rich with talent and music was percolating in every corner of every city, town or hamlet. In retrospect it seems simply inevitable, the British Invasion would have to happen with or without The Beatles ! BUT WE SAY NO WAY ! Without The Beatles, there would never be “A British Invasion. We all agree on the incredible talent pool languishing within her Majesty’s gates, but between “The Old Garde” thinking in the U.K. And the “We know everything” thinking in the U.S. The “Invasion” needed a catalyst, something so original, yet so familiar! Something undeniable and worthy. Something to get and keep our attention across the pond and not on American Bandstand

We aren’t going to go any deeper on The Fab Four, you’ve been there, you already know it all, and we simply don’t have the time or space to tell their story once again !  Our  point is…..”No Beatles, no British Invasion. However, we further believe you’d still be enjoying all your favorite English artists, only with slight variations. ( reader alert, blasphemous commentary coming ) We believe if the Beatles never came together only Paul is a “sure thing” in achieving “Superstar” status….his overall affable attitude, musicality, classic songwriting sense, musicianship, incredible vocals, stage presence and good looks makes Paul undeniable ! Lesser so with John mainly due to John’s anger and attitude, for us John also comes up a bit short on versatility. John would always be the creative focus for any band and could have enjoyed a successful solo career, but nothing like the heights McCartney would hit !  George would be well-regarded as an original and dynamic  guitarist / songwriter. But it’s hard to imagine George having a solo career if he’d never been a Beatle ! Same goes for Ringo, he’d be a most “Sought after drum player with several credits on his résumé but regular folks wouldn’t know his name!

If The Stones never caught on we believe we’d still own records that feature Mick and Keith, their “perfect fit as songwriters collaborators  and performers, as well as their bond and ambition would drive them on together…Somehow !

Only Blues/Rock Junkies would be listening to the Yardbirds, and without support and success in the U.S. It’s likely there would never have been a “Led Zeppelin, but Clapton would be…..Well, CLAPTON ! Eric may be the only British Invader whose career track would be exactly the same….With or without a British Invasion !

The same could be said for Peter Asher from Peter and Gordon. After his successful run with Gordon Waller Peter turned his energies to his ability as a manager and producer, remaining active, involved and meaningful…

AND….Dusty Springield, In 1964 the English press already named her “The Greatest Blue Eye’d Soul singer in the world. In the same week The Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan, Dustys first single “I Only Want To Be With You” was shooting up the U.S. Charts ! Dusty’s soulful voiced would have shined on America no matter what !

Lastly, for the Freddie’s and the Hermans and the other drummers, bass players and keyboardist  who populated The British Invasion but never got  their ” Close Up” on The Ed Sullivan Show, many are still working doing reunion tours and special British Invasion appearances. If you want to see them, they’re out there especially in America !

 

But, before you rush out…. WHAT DO YOU THINK ?  COULD THERE HAVE BEEN A BRITISH INVASION IF THE BEATLES NEVER CAME TOGETHER  ?……….And of course any further thoughts you may have !

Yeah, Yeah, YEAH !

April 6, 2018     4 Comments   , , , , , , ,

“One If By Land, Two If By Sea”…The British Invasion…

THE BRITISH ARE COMING ! THE BRITISH ARE COMING ! We have discussed, analyzed, argued and reminisced about the incredible diversity of music that coalesced during the 1960’s. However, we believe there is one musical event that dominated and defined the musical landscape of the 1960’s more than anything else…”THE BRITISH INVASION”
The invasion actually commenced in January of 1964  when an unknown band called The Beatles released their new record “I want to hold your hand” in America, the first week of January. Incredibly by Jan. 25th the single shot to number one on every pop music radio station in America….Less than three weeks later Feb. 9th, The Beatles and Ed Sullivan changed the T.V. business, the music business, made history and galvanized a template and strategy  that opened doors and paved the way for a wave of talent who all “talked funny” but sang great, in what occasionally sounded like a foreign language….. English!  “Mods” “Rockers” the artists you loved, the ones you hated or didn’t understand.  The ones you felt “You discovered” and the ones that got away…..until a little later!

As 1964 unfurled in America, day after day, week in, week out we were introduced to and fell in love with,  another talented BRIT ! Yes, The Beatles led the front with The Rolling Stones at their flank and the most incredible Rank and File ever assembled marching in perfect formation toward their destination / target….America!

And on they came…. a quick glance from our Eastern shores “across the pond” and you could almost hear The Modern English Armada shouting “Hail Britania”!….We know what your thinking, “Yes! Bring ’em on” The Stones, The Kinks, The Animals….Ahh, but slow down Yankee Doodle, you’re about to be surprised by some of the names and numbers. The Beatles had established their enormous beachhead stateside, so who was the next great Brit to invade America’s airwaves?

In the U.K. She was called “The greatest white soul singer in the world and as far as we’re considered “They was right” ! In February of ’64 Dusty Springfield’s powerful “I only want to be with you” pounced on us shot past The Beatles as they we’re wrapping the Sullivan shows and again from know where charted in at number twelve. We blinked and by the end of March, everyone was proclaiming The Dave Clark Five were “The next Beatles” From these early days in 1964 “They commenced to coming'” for at least the next two plus years! Do you recall Peter and Gordon (“World without Love” a Lennon McCartney song, I go to Pieces” a Del Shannon song, and of course “Woman” credited to Bernard Webb but written by McCartney)The Animals (House of the Rising Sun and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”j Manfred Mann (“Doo Wah Diddy”)Petula Clark ( “Downtown” and”I know a Place”) Donovan ( before “Sunshine Superman” there was “Catch the Wind” and “Colors” ) Freddie and the Dreamers ( “Do the Freddie” and “I’m Telling You Now”) Wayne Fontana and the Mindbennders (“The Game of Love”) Herman’s Hermit’s ( “I’m into Something Good” “Henry the eighth” and a half-dozen more) The aforementioned Rolling Stones ( Time is on my Side” and “Last Time”) The Dave Clark Five (“Glad all Over” and Bit’s and Pieces”) Billy J. Kramer and The Dakota’s (” Little Children” and “From a Window” another Lennon McCartney comp.)  The Searchers (“Needles and Pins” written by Sony Bono) The Bachelors,  (“I Believe” and “My Diane”) Chad and Jeremy ” (“A Summer Song” and “Yesterday’s Gone”) Gerry and the Pacemakers (“How do you do what you do to Me”  “I Like it ” and Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey”) Their manager Brian Epstein, yep that Brian Epstein, produced a B-Movie short film about ” Ferry” ( a Movie about and starring Gerry Marsden who wrote the Title song. Epstein eventually sold this nothing movie which he then coupled with “A Hard Day’s Night” as the opener for the Beatle film!  Epstein also insisted that The Beatles record their own version of “How do you do”) written by “Gerry Marsden. But The Beatles vehemently resisted the idea! ( However there  is a version you can find on the Beatles Anthology series and various bootlegs…..Talk about feathering your nest? Mr. Epstein Puh-Leeze!  But we digress,How about The Honeycombs with A GIRL DRUMMER (“Have I The Right”) Them (Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Gloria”) Tom Jones (“It’s Not unusual”) The Yardbirds (For Your Love”) The Yardbirds also have bragging rights to have included, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton as their lead guitarist thru their brief career! The Spencer Davis Group (“Gimmie Some Lovin” and “I’m a Man”) featuring an incredibly soulful 17 year old Stevie Winwood! The Kinks (“You Really Got Me” and All Day and All of the Night” “Tired of Waiting For You”) How about the unbelievable harmonies of The Hollies (“Look Thru Any Window”and “Bus Stop”and “Stop, Stop, Stop”) The Zombies (“She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No”) and finally The Who (The Kids Are All Right” and “My Generation) Their second single in the U.S. “generation” incredibly ends with an insane DRUM SOLO by Who drummer Keith Moon!…

What’s so incredible is all these artists had at least one or more number one records in the U.S.A. From January 1964 thru December 1966!

We should note here that in 1965, The Weekly Billboard singles chart featured an artist from the British Commonwealth in the number one position 26 of the 52 weeks of publication…On May 8th of the year, that weeks Top 10 was controlled completely by British Acts with one exception, Gary Lewis and the Playboy’s “Count Me In” held in at number Two…
Math is not our strongest suit, but consider the charts and the 26 British Artists we sighted, it’s clear between ’64 -’67 at least every other record on American radio was a Great Britonian!

Lastly we must note in 1964, April 4 The Beatles held the Top 5 chart spots in America. No other Artist has ever achieved that fete before or after….Not even the top 3!

We know we’ve probably missed one of your faves, but our purpose wasn’t to unveil the obscure….But to jog loose some great memories and perhaps dust off a few old 45’s…

Most importantly we want to hear from you…We’re you there? What was your experience and perspective about the second time the  U.S. was under siege by “Mother England”…..The 1960’s…

In the beginning it was Dusty..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Dave Clark was Glad to come along…

                        Later, Gerry…The Ferry song…

And on with the X Y Z’s…Zombies…

 

 

 

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May 26, 2017     4 Comments   , , , , , ,