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British Invasion- Britain Rocks The USA.

Updated on September 19, 2015
The fab four.
The fab four. | Source

British Beat .

Some of the best known bands in the world came out of the UK in the 1960s. Arguably the most influential band of all time, the Beatles were formed in Liverpool in the early sixties but it was not just Liverpool that produced some great bands, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and other cities were also the birthplace of some rock legends. The early to mid sixties were dominated by " beat " groups but by the end of the era Hard Rock and Blues came to the fore. Although some of these bands may be better known from the 1970s onwards all were actually formed in the 1960s.

Early publicity picture of The Rolling Stones.
Early publicity picture of The Rolling Stones. | Source

The Rolling Stones

Lead by the charismatic Mick Jagger, the self proclaimed " Greatest Rock n Roll Band In The World " are still going strong. Over 50 years after they were formed The Stones can still sell out massive arenas and are easily one of the best known and loved rock bands in the world. . The Stones list of hits is virtually unending and the song writing partnership of singer Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards is only rivaled by the Beatles Lennon and McCartney. The original line up consisted of Jagger, Richards, Bill Wyman Bass, Charlie Watts Drums , Brian Jones guitar and piano player Ian Stewart who would be dismissed from the line up only a year later but would stay with the group as road manager and sometime pianist. Guitarist Jones left the band in 1969 and died only a month later after drowning in the swimming pool at his own home. Jones had been replaced on leaving by Mick Taylor who was to stay with the band until 1975. Friend of the band and former member of The Faces, Ronnie Wood, joined after Taylor's departure and still features today. In the bands early day's trouble was never far away, arrests for drug taking / possession and a reputation for heavy drinking, groupies etc ensured the band a rebellious bad boy image which contrasted sharply with their main rivals The Beatles ( well at least until the late 60s anyway ) clean living image. The band started as mainly a Blues and Rock n Roll covers band and they have never wandered far from their roots, self penning some of the greatest songs within the genre " Gimme Shelter ", "Satisfaction" , " Jumping Jack Flash " to name just three.How can we measure the influence and affect The Stones have had on the rock music industry , the world of Rock n Roll would definitely be a lessened different place without them , don't be surprised if these aging rockers go on for some time yet, it would not be surprising if they have a few more Rock n Roll gems hidden up their sleeves.







Early publicity shot for The Who.
Early publicity shot for The Who. | Source

The Who

Alongside The Beatles and The Rolling Stones one of Britain's big three, The Who started life in 1964 as The High Numbers and were soon associated with the mod movement. The groups original line up was Roger Daltrey vocals, Keith Moon drums, Pete Townsend guitar and John Entwhistle bass guitar. Known for their wild and extremely loud live appearances the band would often destroy their instruments on stage. The bands second single " My Generation" became a mod anthem, as seen in the 1979 movie " Quadrophenia " a film that focusses on the youth culture of British working class kids over a soundtrack of the band. The bands fourth album "Tommy" was a Rock Opera that achieved critical and commercial success, a film version starring Daltrey as Tommy was directed by Ken Russell. The Who appeared at the Woodstock and Isle Of Wight Festivals cementing their reputations as a devastating live act. Tragedy struck the band in 1978 with the death of drummer Keith Moon at the age of 32, Moon was subsequently replaced by former Small Faces drummer Kenny Jones. Sadly bass player Entwhistle died in 2002 but Daltrey and Townsend decided to carry on and have performed Quadrophenia on stage as recently as 2012.



The Who - My Generation

The Animals

Formed in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1963 when vocalist Eric Burdon joined forces with the Alan Price ( Keyboardist )Rhythm and Blues Combo alongside Bryan " Chas " Chandler on Bass, Hilton Valentine guitar and John Steel on drums. The Animals were soon signed to EMI Records and released their first single " Baby Let Me Take You Home ". A transatlantic number one soon followed with " House Of The Rising Sun " and The Animals headed to the USA to an audience of hysterical screaming girls on the Ed Sullivan Show. The band pumped out some fiery versions of some R n B standards like Nina Simone's " Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood " and Sam Cooke's " Bring It On Home To Me " but keyboardist Price was to soon leave the band to pursue a successful solo career. Other hits for the band included the brilliant " We Gotta Get Out Of This Place " but after just a short time in the spotlight, by 1966 the group were to go their separate ways stating that the management of the group was in total shambles. Eric Burdon was to go on to have an association with American Funk Rock band War, with whom he released the album Eric Burden Declares War, since 1971 Burdon has been a solo artist and still performs today, recently appearing on stage with Bruce Springsteen during his UK tour. Bassist Chas Chandler became the manager of Jimi Hendrix and also British Pop/ Rock band Slade who had numerous chart hits in the UK during the 1970s, sadly Chandler died in 1996 at the relatively young age of 57.




Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - The Animals.

Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Roy Wood of the Move weirdly play in front of some girls who are near waist deep in water.
Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan and Roy Wood of the Move weirdly play in front of some girls who are near waist deep in water. | Source

The Move

The Move were huge in the UK, they had nine top ten singles in five years, their third single " Flowers in the rain " was the first song played on BBCs radio one. Formed in Birmingham, success in the USA eluded them, however former members drummer Bev Bevan and guitarist Jeff Lynne were to later find worldwide fame as members of The Electric Light Orchestra and Lynne more recently as a member of The Traveling Wilburys. The Move were led by singer songwriter Roy Wood.

The Move - Brontosaurus.

The Kinks.
The Kinks. | Source

The Kinks

One of the most influential and important British bands of all time. The Kinks have always been a difficult band to pigeon hole, the band have included many different styles in their repertoire from the hard rock much covered " You Really Got Me " to the almost music hall style of " Dedicated Follower Of Fashion " to a song about a confused romantic encounter with a transvestite " Lola ". The Kinks were a major influence on Brit Pop bands Blur, Pulp and others. Led and formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in Muswell Hill London in 1964, the Davies brothers were joined by Mick Avory drums and Pete Quaife bass. The Kinks are the quintessential English band, eccentric in some ways, straight forward in others and well worth a listen if you have not given them a try.

The Kinks - All Day And All Of The Night.

Cream.
Cream. | Source

Cream

Cream were arguably the worlds first super group and subsequently one of the most successful. Cream featured English virtuoso Blues guitarist Eric Clapton, Scottish Bass player Jack Bruce and flamboyant drummer Ginger Baker. Clapton had achieved legendary status as guitarist with John Mayal's Bluesbreakers and also with The Yardbirds and combined with the amazing musical talents of Bruce and Baker success with Cream was guaranteed. The band had UK and stateside hits with incredible rock songs such as " Sunshine Of Your Love " and " White Room " and their live act contained many Blues standards like " Crossroads " and " Spoonful ". Cream are a band remembered and admired for their musical brilliance and have had a tremendous influence on Rock music over the decades. Cream broke up in 1968 mainly due to the inability of Bruce and Baker to get along, Baker joined Clapton in super group Blind Faith alongside Stevie Windwood from the band Traffic and Ric Grech.

Cream - White Room

The Beatles take a straight right from the wonderful Muhammad Ali ( Cassius Clay ).
The Beatles take a straight right from the wonderful Muhammad Ali ( Cassius Clay ). | Source

The Beatles

From their beginnings in 1960 to their breakup in December 1970 The Beatles left the world with a legacy of the greatest back catalog of songs since recorded music began. The names John, Paul , George and Ringo are known, even today, throughout the world. The Beatles began in their home city of Liverpool playing covers of well known Rock n Roll tunes by the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis before achieving massive success with their self penned melodic and catchy pop songs of the early 1960s. " Beatlemania " swamped the UK as the band released hit after hit. Success in the UK was soon followed by trips to the USA where the adulation was quickly repeated. In 1967 The Beatles released the album Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, the recording received huge critical acclaim and has been rated by many experts as the most influential album in terms of song writing and innovating recording techniques of all time. It is hard for anyone to quantify just how influential The Beatles have been on modern music, indeed they are the best selling group of all time with EMI claiming the band have sold a billion records worldwide. 1980 saw the sad death of John Lennon when he was murdered in New York and in 2001 George Harrison died of cancer but the two remaining Beatles Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr are still active within the music business, indeed McCartney still regularly releases albums and singles and often performs live. Two other people deserve much credit for the success of The Beatles, firstly producer George Martin who helped shape The Beatles sound and help create many of the unusual sounds heard on their recordings and the bands manager Brian Epstein a canny individual who guided the band and moulded them into a professional act. Listen to any radio station anywhere in the world and you will hear a Beatles song at some point, if not by the band themselves then a cover by another artist, " Let It Be ", " Hey Jude ", " Day In The Life " the list is just endless, go back and have another listen to this bands songs, they are simply magical.



The Beatles - Yesterday

Source

Fleetwood Mac

The cultured adult orientated pop/ rock we all know so well of Fleetwood Mac today is a long way from the band they began in London in 1967. The early incarnation of the band played out and out Blues. Three members of Fleetwood Mac had been members of John Mayals Bluesbreakers. Guitarist Peter Green had replaced Eric Clapton in the Bluesbreakers to much critical acclaim, Green persuaded drummer Mick Fleetwood to join him, bass player John McVie decided to stay with the Bluesbreakers initially for financial reasons even though the band was partially named after him, but decided to join later. Before McVie joined the group the line up consisted of Green, Fleetwood, bassist Bob Brunning and slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer, Spencer would later be replaced by Danny Kirwan. As a Blues band the group had chart success with " Black Magic Woman " later recorded by Santana, " Need Your Love So Bad ", Man Of The World " and the European number one instrumental " Albatross ".. After McVie joined ,his future wife Christine Perfect was also recruited and sang vocals on the bands album Kiln House and also designed the albums cover. Although achieving critical and commercial success this line up started to self implode with Kirwan struggling with alcohol related problems and Green suffering with drug related mental health issues. Over the next couple of years the band went through numerous line up changes until one day in a recording studio Mick Fleetwood met with American guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham, impressed with Buckingham's guitar skills Fleetwood asked him to join the band, Buckingham agreed on the proviso that his girlfriend Stevie Nicks would also become a member, Fleetwood welcomed the couple into Fleetwood Mac and the most well known and successful line up of the group was complete.

The new line ups first album release was the eponymous Fleetwood Mac, the album sold over 5 million copies and became a number one best seller all over the world. Rumours became the bands follow up album, it was an astounding success, one of the best selling albums of all time. The recording of Rumours was a period fraught with emotional turmoil for the band, the McVies marriage was on the rocks, Buckingham and Nicks ended their long term relationship and drummer Fleetwood was in the middle of a divorce, amazing then that through all this the group produced an album that went on to sell 20 million copies. Two more albums followed Tusk and Mirage but neither got anywhere near as critically or commercially successful as Rumours. In 1987 Fleetwood Mac came back to form with the brilliant Tango In The Night album. The album featured the hits " Little Lies ", " Everywhere " and " Big Love " and got the band back to where they belonged as the kings of radio friendly rock and they remain one of the best loved bands in the world.










Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies

Black Sabbath original line up of Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi.
Black Sabbath original line up of Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi. | Source

Black Sabbath

The pioneers of Heavy Metal were formed in 1968 in Birmingham, initially named Earth they were soon to rename themselves Black Sabbath after the Boris Karloff movie of the same name. The bands original line up was Bill Ward on drums, Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, Tony Iommi lead guitar and Geezer Butler on bass. With very powerful riff led songs and occult themes the band were never favored by the critics during their formative years however rock fans loved them. A number of Sabbath songs have become rock classics including Paranoid and Iron Man. Sabbath had numerous line up changes during the 1980s including Ronnie James Dio recording some classic albums with the band while Ozzy had a successful solo career. In June 2013 the bands 19th studio album 13 was released to great acclaim, the album features the original line up minus drummer Bill Ward. Sabbath were voted the greatest Heavy Metal band of all time by MTV.

Black Sabbath Paranoid/ Iron Man 1970

The Hollies on stage.
The Hollies on stage. | Source

The Hollies

The Hollies were formed in Manchester in 1962 and amazingly are still writing and performing even today. The list of chart hits for The Hollies on both sides of the Atlantic is astounding, the band achieved 30 charting singles in the UK charts and 22 in the US. The Hollies had a knack of writing unforgettable rock/pop tunes, hits included " Bus Stop " and " Carrie Anne" and the two big ballads they are probably best known for " He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother " and " The Air That I Breathe ". The Hollies songs are still regularly heard on the radio and used as tracks on television programs and adverts. Founder member of The Hollies Graham Nash left the band in 1968 to form part of super group Crosby, Stills and Nash.

The Hollies - Bus Stop

Zeppelin stand next to their own private jet.
Zeppelin stand next to their own private jet. | Source

Led Zeppelin

Formed in 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page. Page had been one of the most sought after session guitarists in UK music playing on numerous chart hits for artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones and Petula Clark. After initially turning down a role in the Yardbirds due to loyalty to his friend Eric Clapton, Page joined the group alongside fellow guitarist and friend Jeff Beck, firstly as bass player and then as dual lead guitarist. After the Yardbirds had dissolved Page started hunting round for a new line up, singer Robert Plant from The Band Of Joy was recommended and drummer John Bonham was himself recommended by Plant. Bass player and keyboardist John Paul Jones who Page knew from session work completed the line up. Originally called The New Yardbirds, the band soon changed their name to Led Zeppelin, a name suggested by Keith Moon, drummer with The Who, Moon had remarked when it had been suggested that himself and John Entwistle form a group with Beck and Page that the project would go down like " a lead balloon ". The early Zeppelin albums were heavily Blues influenced but the band slowly began to introduce other forms of music into their repertoire such as folk and even reggae, as well as the Hard Rock they had become known for. As progenitors of modern metal , the band have attained legendary status in the world of music and maintain an aura of greatness and mystique among fans. Probably the most influential band during the 1970s and numerous of their songs have become rock classics, notably " Stairway To Heaven " possibly the greatest rock song ever written, " Whole Lotta Love " and " Kashmir ".





Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven Live

The Dave Clark 5, with Dave Clark on drums.
The Dave Clark 5, with Dave Clark on drums. | Source

Dave Clark Five

After The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five were the second British group to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and proved so popular they appeared for three straight weeks. In the early 60s the band were better known in the US than they were in their native Britain. The groups best known single " Glad All Over " knocked The Beatles " I Want To Hold Your Hand " off the number one spot in the UK and reached number 6 in the Billboard Hot 100. The band soon achieved a US number one with the song " Over and Over " which was only a minor hit in the UK and soon released their own movie " Having A Wild Weekend " ( Known as Catch Me If You Can in UK ). After sell out tours of the USA and 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show the bands star began to wane however they remained .well loved in the UK until their breakup in 1970.

Dave Clark 5 Bits And Pieces.

Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd | Source

Pink Floyd

As of 2013 Pink Floyd had sold 250 million records worldwide, not bad for a psychedelic band who even in today,s so called progressive times still actually sound progressive. The bands original line up consisted of four students Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Roger Waters and Syd Barrett. Guitarist Dave Gilmour joined the group in 1967, Barrett was to leave a few moths later suffering from deteriorating mental health probably caused by drug abuse. Although Pink Floyd have always been primarily known as an album and live act band they did have two singles in the British charts in 1967, " Arnold Layne " and " See Emily Play " and also had the last UK number one of the 1970s with the huge selling " Another Brick In The Wall ". Casual rock fans may not be as familiar with the bands music as they are for example with Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones however Pink Floyd have always had a large loyal following among serious rock music fans, ensuring a new album or concert appearance to be an enormous event. After the deaths of Barrett in 2006 and Wright in 2008 we will never see the original line up again but after Gilmour and Mason joined Waters on stage at an appearance at Londons 02 arena in 2011, there is always the chance that the three remaining members may offer fans another chance to witness their brilliance once again.




Roger Water and Dave Gilmour - Comfortably Numb.

The Greatest British Band Of All Time.

Who Are The Best British Band Of All Time?

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    • oldiesmusic profile image

      oldiesmusic 3 years ago from United States

      Really, many of the best music comes from the UK, especially during in the 1960s-1980s, a glorious era for them. Awesome hub. :)

    • e-five profile image

      e-five 3 years ago from Chicago, Illinois, USA

      The thing all of these British Invasion groups had in common was an inspiration from African-American Blues artists of the 1950s. In a sense, it took a foreign interpretation and love of Black American music for it to be appreciated and valued by a wider American audience. The same thing happened with House Music in the 1980s.

    • nuffsaidstan profile image
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      nuffsaidstan 3 years ago

      Hi thank you for your comments and both of you make very valid points.

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