The British Invasion The British Invasion is a term that is used to describe the flow of rock-n-roll performers from Great Britain to the USA, who became very popular there and started a great wave of popularization of the rock music. The peak of the British Invasion was in 1964-1966. It is interesting that the roots of this phenomenon are grounded in the USA with the explosion of the rock and roll music in America in 1955. Inspired and amazed by the new style of music and the success of the rock singers and bands, such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, the Comets and others, British teenagers started forming their own bands trying to copy their American idols.
They did not only copy their music style, but their rebellious images that were close to British youth. Thanks to that a few successful British artists appeared, namely The Shadows and Cliff Richard, but their popularity was nothing close to that of the American musicians, and therefore their influence on the American music charts was limited. In 1962 the single Telstar by the British band The Tornadoes became number one in the USA.
This event marked the initial stage of the British Invasion. But the real start of this great wave of music was in December 1963, when the song I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles appeared on American radio stations and became extremely popular. On February 9th 1964, the Beatles performed live on The Ed Sullivan Show and from that day on Beatlemania swept the United States. “This appearance was a remarkable social and cultural milestone of the 1960s, and marked the dramatic start of the British Invasion” (The British Invasion) The special flavor that the British musicians added to the initially American sound, made this music very popular. At it is known, there were two schools in the British invasion.
The groups representing the first school were called “skiffle” bands. Skiffle is a modern folk-country-blues. “The genesis of skiffle lay in the "trad-jazz" tradition of music that had itself sprung from New Orleans "Dixieland" jazz” (Fontenot) The instruments that these bands used were simple and inexpensive, mostly homemade – “tea chests fashioned into standup basses, guitars made from cigar boxes, washboards for percussion, and an occasional acoustic guitar or piano” (Fontenot) The typical representatives of the style were the Ken Colyer Skiffle Band and Lonnie Donegan, who established skiffle as the musical phenomenon.
Even though skiffle music is considered the one to be played by simple folks, who could not afford expensive instruments, such great rock groups as The Beatles and The Kinks started out their careers and road to popularity as the skiffle bands.
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