I hope that I can effectively write about the impact of the “British Invasion” that occurred between 1962 and1966. You see it wasn’t just a fad, it caused internal change in kids and it effected social change.
When I was a youngster in the late 1950s I didn’t know that African-American artists weren’t allowed to star even in their own music. This despite my mom telling me when she was a clerk at a local record store “Black music” was kept in the back room and African-Americans had to go back there to listen to the records.
White artists like Pat Boone sang songs like “MoodyRiver” that was designed to create drama in a pining way. We were hooked on love songs by Frankie Avalon such as “Venus” and Paul Anka singing “You Are My Destiny.” We did dances like “The Stroll” and “The Lindy Hop.”
In 1963 I was at a K-Mart store and in the “99-cent album section” found a group called The Beatles. The album was called “Meet the Beatles.” On the album were songs like “Hold Me Tight” and “Not a Second Time.”
The songs that The Beatles performed were “edgy” and had rhythms that had not been part of a “white kid’s” repertoire. My friends and I would listen hours on end to the rhythms and harmonies. It wasn’t just awe, it became an addiction.
It was funny but at that same time there were songs out like “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes-a song that The Beatles would later do-listen. It was “Black music.” It couldn’t have occurred to any of us that these apparently different types of music could have been related.
And yet what had happened was that while African-Americans could not break into mainstream rock and roll music in America, they had a receptive audience in Great Britain. And these groups brought back the music to us in the British Invasion.
Following The Beatles came “down and dirty” groups like Manfred Mann, with “Do Wah Diddy,” and The Kinks with “You Really Got Me.” The beats were driving and the singers did not care about voice quality. It was so much different.
Finally, there was a group named The Spencer Davis and this “kid” lead singer named Stevie Winwood who had a voice that was to become iconic. They brought with them songs like “I’m a Man” and “Give Me Some Loving.”
The music moved many of us who were musicians to start playing music ourselves and that created thousands of garage bands. However music was never a more popular medium.
This British Invasion opened up the door for groups like the Temptations and Supremes.
It was a wonderful time. It was a time when the music was life. It changed people; it changed society.
As I read back over this article it doesn’t do what I hoped. I know the era is impossible to put into words. Hopefully you listened to the songs and got an idea.
You Tube Website, “The Supremes Baby Love”
You Tube Website, “The Temptations Aint Too Proud To Beg”
You Tube Website, “Spencer Davis Group-I’m a Man”
You Tube Website, “Manfred Mann-Do Wah Diddy”
You Tube Website, “Please Mr. Postman-The Beatles”
You Tube Website, “The Beatles-Hold Me Tight”
You Tube Website, “Lindy Hop Dance”
You Tube Website, “Pat Boone-Moody River”