Following its raucous, unruly birth in the 1950s, rock and roll had begun to emulsify into a smooth, syrupy kind of pablum by the early 1960s. Despite injections of energy from the surfing craze, it seemed to be in danger of collapsing into a sad, pop parody of itself.
In short, it was becoming a snooze-fest.
But help was on the way, and from a most unlikely quarter: while American kids were nodding off to songs like “Soldier Boy,” bands in Britain had begun to experiment with American blues, and were giving it their own interpretation. Skiffle, a blues and folk-based music with a DIY sensibility, made way for Merseybeat, music that started in the gritty industrial cities in the north of England. The best-known of these bands was a little foursome known as the Beatles.
By 1964, kids in North America had begun to catch on. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” hit the top of the US singles charts in January, and launched what became known as the British Invasion.
And what an invasion it was!
I still remember the furor when the Beatles landed in New York for their first tour—the frenzied hysteria made Justin Bieber’s fans look like rank amateurs. The Beatles were followed by Dusty Springfield, whose “I Only Want to Be with You” caused quite the sensation…and next thing you know, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing one of the British Invasion bands.
Beatles, Stones, The Who, the Kinks…it was glorious, and I’ve barely scratched the surface with this list. So tell me: who were your favourites? You can vote right on the list, add your opinions, or even add a band I’ve missed…have fun, go nuts!
And most of all, enjoy the music. That’s what it’s really all about.
KarenWendy Irving | 12 items | 136 views
Bet you can't read this list without starting to hum a tune or two!
Live H.264 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU5zqidlxMQ&fmt=18
Ever wonder where legendary guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page all got their start? Yep, it was right here. With their adorable bowl haircuts and fuzzed-out sound, the Yardbirds were a blues-based group that expanded into rock in a big way.
Yep, they've digitally restored the movie and they're re-releasing it. Let's face it, the Beatles are legend. And A Hard Day's Night, their first movie, is a rollicking, ridiculous, and utterly engaging look at the band in their early days. If you've never seen it, what are you waiting for?
These days they're not so much a rough-edged blues-based rock group with a bad-boy reputation, as an ongoing franchise juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing down. But let's take a moment and remember the Stones as they were: rock and roll at its absolute best.
Wendy's all-time favourite band. Ever. Period. And if you try to contradict her, she will fight you.
Also part of the Big Three, along with the Beatles and Stones. Their Mod sensibility included smashing guitars onstage and wearing British flag-patterned clothing (why? because it was the 60s!), and their iconic song, "My Generation" defined the growing dissatisfaction we all felt back then.
Emerging from the Manchester beat scene shortly after the Beatles, Hermans Hermits specialized in lighter fare, with an emphasis on a British music hall sound. They were meant to be a non-threatening alternative to the Beatles, Stones, and the Who...but that also meant their repertoire, and ultimately their appeal, was limited. Fun fact: "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" was written by Trevor Peacock, who played Jim Trott in "The Vicar of Dibley."
Dusty Springfield's sultry, evocative voice and her blonde bouffant hair made her instantly recognizable--and this song is one of my all-time favourites by anyone, ever. She manages to capture the laconic table chatter of a Southern family, and their blindness to a mysterious tragedy, in a few simple lines. Simply beautiful.
The Troggs--if you remember them for nothing else, it'll be for this song. Garage music at its finest, and if you listen carefully, you can sing "Louis, Louis" over that fuzzed-out bass line.
My favourite memory of this song: driving with Mrs. Auchterloney and my friend Mary, I noticed Mrs. A. singing along--to a rock song! Our parents wouldn't have done this in a zillion years, and I instantly decided I wanted Mrs. A. for a mother, since she was obviously much cooler than the one we had. Probably not a bad choice on my part, all things considered.
Okay, it's a little incongruous, hearing an old American folk-tune like "House of the Rising Sun" in a British accent...performed by fresh-faced kids in suits, no less. But what they lacked in blues cred, they made up in enthusiasm and a yes, musicianship. In fact, over the years, this has become the definitive version of the song.
Okay, I admit I can't listen to this song without wanting to sing the Weird Al Yankovitch version, "Yoda." But still. It's good stuff, and worthy of a place on the list. The Kinks were latecomers to the British Invasion, mostly because the US censors kept banning their songs. Yeah, that would kind of put a damper on things.