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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….Scroll below to leave and see comments!
Can’t get enough of Itchycoo Park and Friday on My Mind. The English Invasion was and still is my favorite music genre.
Once more, “Itchycoo Park” by Smal Faces was one of those records that “Nobody doesn’t like” With that way-cool flangeing sound on the drum breaks! And I’m with you re: “Friday On My Mind” That was thee anthem for me and the gang I hung out with….
Here’s a note on that song, it was recorded by The Easy Beats, who everyone thought were English, BUT, they were from Australlia! In fact they were the first music act out of Australlia to achieve international recognition…
Always great to hear your comments Fred, don’t be a stranger!
there is a PBS series that runs usually during their quarterly public fund raising drives and we NEVER MISS [IF WE GET A HEADS UP] the 60’s music [“MY MUSIC”] PRESENTAION. many of the artists you have so deftly listed and profiled are presented through either original concert, T.V., film [many of the film segments date from the 60’s which is really cool!! and much of the artists are shown via video which looks like it has been shot in the late seventies [earliest] to the 90’s—-ALL THE ORIGINAL ARTISTS PERFORMING MANY OF THE SONGS YOU HAVE LISTED!!! they do offer during the breaks complete c.d. sets of all the programming—I have considered getting one of these box sets.
this was and still is the best of the best music even into the present. and some of these artists like Windwood, Clapton and Little Stevie are still producing miracles!!
of course I remember like yesterday the Sullivan Show and going to JHS the next day–Monday–and the girl’s 3 ring blue notebooks were all lined with Beatle pictures. by the end of the week ALL THE GIRLS had their note books decorated [many had cut the Beatles album cover up to fit into the notebook sleeve]—probably “Meet the Beatles”!!! I shudder to think of what it means today to chop up a early Beatles record album cover. and this is something else !!!! up until then ROCK AND ROLL was 45’s –NOW WE GOT COMPLETE ALBUMS!!!! and the ART WORK exploded all over!! I’ll admit that out side the big three [Beatles, Stones and Donovan] I really like the Zombies!!
Ron Wood….WOW, your post completely captures the core idea behind Sixties Music Secrets….
SMS is the place to come to re-live memories and personal details about our views and experiences about music and life in the 1960’s….AND WOODMAN YOU NAILED IT….
I can recall so clearly girls “Cutting and Pasting” Beatle faces on their notebooks and everywhere!
And! Thank you for the tip on the PBS series……
We’ve sat through several of those telecasts, but have never seen one about music from the 60’s
You can be sure we’ll “Check our local listings” and sit , riveted thru the entire presentation…
Can’t thank you enough Ron Wood!