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Music and the British Influence

Updated on July 25, 2013

British Invasion

British Invasion

If I could go back in time to a place where I believe in my own personal view music really had a positive influence on us and it was fun to listen to and made us happy it would have to be the mid 1960s when an influx of bands came to play for us here in the states from the United Kingdom. They coined the phrase "British Invasion" for this movement that came about upon the monumental occasion when Ed Sullivan showcased the Beatles on American television in February 1964 for 3 straight weekend shows. It was history in the making and it made teenagers go wild, especially the girls when the 4 young lads from Liverpool came and played their emotional songs that made the girls cry and scream .

I was just 3 years old when the Beatles aired but I know my mom was a big fan and she played their albums on a record turntable that I still remember from my childhood. The Beatles gained such popularity in the US that they had started a craze that affected these teenage kids and caused them to get caught up in it and they called it "Beatlemania" which led to this British Invasion of fine music with an English/Irish perspective. Many of these acts from England really had proved themselves in their homeland and had gained popularity throughout Europe.After seeing the US reaction to the Beatles visit they felt that it was the right time to showcase their musical talents here as well and hence it was the perfect time for British rock to head west.

My first recollection of the Beatles was watching news clips of them as they were performing here for the Ed Sullivan show and their performance at Shea Stadium in 1965. I also have fond memories of accompanying my mom to the record shop where she would buy Beatles, Chad and Jeremy and Elvis Presley albums. I certainly was influenced by my mother's choices in music. My dad liked the Beatles too but he was more into the music of the swing era as he was a big fan of the late Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman.

When I think of all the groups that came to play here from England there are many and the list would be very long if I could name them all. Some of the bands and performers I remember and still enjoy listening to and watching on Youtube are The Animals, Badfinger, The Beatles, Chad and Jeremy, Cilla Black, The Dave Clark Five, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, The Spencer Davis Group, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, The Fortunes, Freddie and the Dreamers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Honeycombs, The Kinks, LuLu, Manfred Mann, The Moody Blues, The New Vaudeville Band, Peter and Gordon, The Rolling Stones, The Searchers, Them, The Tremeloes, The Troggs, The Who, The Yardbirds and The Zombies. There are many others but these are the ones that come to mind.

When I think back to this time and era of music and how the American scene gave way to this British influence I too as a child became a fan of this British wave of music and my tastes were so much influenced by this time and era. I still listen to these groups today and have collected vinyl records, cassettes, cds and dvds of some of these legendary bands and performers. When I like to step back in time and remember a time in my childhood and great music I listen to this timeless music and think back to when I was in the record shop with my mom clutching onto her dress as she would admire the most recent Beatles album. When I hear some of the songs of yesterday on the radio today it becomes very nostalgic to me and I just can't get enough of it. The British wave of music to me is like the Swing jazz music was to my dad. It seems each generation has a bond with the music of their time and I have shared my love of this music with my son as my parents shared their love of their music with me too.

If you were to chronicle the time of the British Invasion it would coincide with the Beatles performance in 1964 and it would run through till 1966. I was only 5 years old in 1966 but the seed was planted and I became a fan of Brit rock from that point on. Sometimes I find that I can play songs over and over again if it has a great theme and sound and one such song I never tire of is Hey Jude by the Beatles. The group that has the most longevity obviously is the Rolling Stones which have been performing for 6 decades and still are going strong till this day.

If you asked some of these bands who came to play in the states during that time in the 1960s you might be surprised to learn that a lot of them were influenced by the groups and performers of the 1950s from here in the United States. Elvis certainly was one such performer who had influenced a number of these British bands as was Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis to name a few.

One of my most favorite songs as a child was Petula Clark's "Downtown" which was a favorite of my mom and dad also. It just has a great sound to it and watching Petula perform it makes me feel like a kid again. LuLu's "To Sir with Love" is another song I love to listen to from that generation of music. These songs that I hear play are the priceless memories we derive from our childhood and in growing up. Music is a sign of the times and a remembrance to the past and it denotes influences and conjures up many memories that last a lifetime. Long live the Beatles and British rock!

Edward D. Iannielli III


Chad and Jeremy

Peter and Gordon

The Honeycombs

The Tremeloes Silence is Golden

Freddy and the Dreamers

The Zombies


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    • profile image

      Bob Kiley 

      23 months ago

      I've always been nostalgic and love to revisit memorable moments from my childhood. Favorite cartoons included Max Fliesher's black and white Popeye cartoons, Gigantor (also black and white), Crusader Cat, Astro Boy Kimba the White Lion, Tobor the "8" Man, and naturally any and all Looney Tunes characters. The advent of color TV had an enormous effect on me: still remember seeing Batman and Bugs Bunny in color for the first time!


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