The British Invasion is an era in the wave of rock and popular music that occurred in the 1960’s crossing over into America after the success of their Beatles band (Kelly, 1991). This group included the pop, rock & rolls and beat music performers who came from the United Kingdom and became extremely famous in the U.S. in the mid nineteen sixties. Although most of the American bands sounded the same, the British Invasion bands played pop and blue-based rock music that dominated the charts in America as well as in the U.K. leading to the second wave of the British Invasion. By the end, of the 1960s, most of their bands had stolen the limelight as icons of pop music but some did not survive the transition into the era of post-Sgt. Pepper ( Golden, Lebbon &Moore, 2008). However, British invasion had made the greatest impact on popular music through internationalizing pop music and opening up production and creativity in the same industry. The contributions tied to the British Invasion emerged from the music groups that relied on the uniquely American style for inspiration; hence this forms the basis of this paper that seeks to discuss the two schools, their band’s songs and why this musical phenomenon came to America at that time.
The British invasion did not have schools instead it had groups that imitated the American popular music characterized by two classes of music (the pop-rock and the blue-based rock music) and led to new versions of the pop rock music. The pop-rock music that characterized the British Invasion dealt more with the sound and instrumentation, stressing on song context. One of the most common bands that went applied this class of music included the Gerry & the Pacemakers; though the fans ignored their existence compared to the popularity of the Beatles Pepper ( Golden, Lebbon &Moore, 2008). They played pop music with a light tune effect influenced by the guitar instrument and the Marsden’s vocals that had a chipping edge to them. This band applied this acumen style in their pop music that brought out the poppy base and upbeat of the pop music played. They reached the charts with their catchy “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “I Like It”, songs; that had a classic feeling, bouncy and innocuous touch. The band, which started its work in the 1950s and later played in rivalry with the Beatles group, which had almost similar circuit as the Beatles that which influenced the release of the other common song the “Mersey Beat.” Despite the poppiness of their first song “How Do You Do It”, they still went ahead and produced it as their first single under George Martin, the producer in 1963.
The other class of the British Invasion involved the blue-rock music that had a characteristic R&B and beat aspects that most second-wave British Invasion bands picked they inspiration from; using it directly to influence the American pop music industry. One of the common bands that utilized this class of music included the Yardstick and the Rolling Stones that adopted the amplified sound of the electric guitars and incorporated it with their slow, rocking blues. The major band under this category known as the Blues Incorporated inspired the present British Blues Boom figures; that comprised of the former members of the Rolling Stones and The Cream. The band merged the instrumental forms of rock music with the top class blues standards leading to the release of one of their leading blues-rock single “Blues Breakers.” The pioneer of the blues-rock music took off strongly in the 1960s and became the famous style imitated by most of the British blues artists; who borrowed the elements of the blues-rock and reproduced them into the unique Southern rock (Bronson, 19861984). The blues-rock music had a characteristic jazz effect that involved the improvisation of the elements of progressive rock into the blues-based music; to produce a heavier and riff-based version of rock music. This experience captured many artists as it got adopted into the 1970s rock-based music.
The Beatles band, the third band, had the highest popularity on the pop and rock charts during the British invasion and defined the code name for British Invasion, “Beatlemania” (Kelly, 1991). They focused more on rock and roll but also worked on pop ballads and genres of psychedelic rock; including classical and other pop music elements in their lyrics. The band gained their fame because of their prowess in professional rock music that earned them their first single “Love Me Do” in 1962. Additionally, due to the demanding pop market, they extended their concert and traveled on road shows that saw them release albums in their fame line such as, “Revolver”, “The Beatles” and “Abbey Road” before their break-up in 1970.
These approaches to the pop music industry found their way into Great Britain at that time because of the increased demand from fans; that had heard about the famous Beatles and questioned why such music could not reach them too. The uniqueness and uniformity in Beatles style of music remained a challenge to the British artist who wanted the game closer to them; so that they could affect the early conventions and the genre of rock and roll into the Britain pop music industry. Basing on to personal opinion, the imitated American rock and roll music and style of pop replica had failed due to the rebellions faced in protecting the image and tone of pop music; therefore in an effort to improve the publics’ attitude towards rock Britain opened its borders to the British Invasion.
The British Invasion had a positive impact on the British pop music industry as they played a crucial role in raising the rock music genre back to life, cemented the importance of rock groups based on the drums and guitars in reproducing their own pieces and materials of songwriters.
Moreover, they inspired and influenced other artists to embrace their creativity forming a solid base where the next generation artists emerged. Additionally, the British Invasion shaped the world of popular music through internationalizing rock and roll music, establishing their industry through music creativity and embedded careers established into R&B music and the leading charts in rock and roll. An example of the success of this invasion emerged in the existence of upcoming prominent artists; like Elvis Presley and Fats Domino who dominated the charts in America for a long time during the late 1950s and 1960s( Bronson, 19861984).
In conclusion, British Invasion received more support than criticism because of the influence it had both on the popular music, and the American-British culture that saw people conforming to new ways of creativity and musical expression; enriching the pop music industry in return( Golden, Lebbon &Moore, 2008). Despite the invasion lacking distinct schools, the groups and bands threw their weight behind them and significantly contributed and influenced the growth of popular music.
Bronson, H. (19861984). Rock explosion: the British invasion of America in photos 1962-1967. Poole: Blandford.
Golden, C., Lebbon, T., & Moore, J. A. (2008). British Invasion. Baltimore: Cemetery Dance Publications.
Kelly, M. B. (1991). The Beatle myth: the history of the British invasion of American popular music, 1956-1969. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland.
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