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Transcript of British Invasion
The Rolling Stones
The Who, formed in 1964, are seen as one of the most compelling rock bands along with the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The Who were believed to originate the “rock opera” which were one of the key components of their albums and are also credited with the famous windmill strum. The Who were greatly known for their rebellious and insurgent image which opposed the unity that was centralized by bands such as The Beatles.
As Life Magazine stated in their 1964 issue, “‘In 1776, England lost her American colonies. Last week, the Beatles took them back,’” thus resulting in the initiation of the British invasion. The Beatles, made up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, formed the band in 1960 in Liverpool, England and established a significant impact in social culture and music. When the Beatles’ released their single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” in the United States on January 26, 1964, the song reached the Billboard top charts and the youth of America became captivated with what became known as Beatlemania which was the rapid growth of the extreme enthusiasm for The Beatles.
The British Invasion is a period of prosperity of rock and roll music that developed in the United Kingdom beginning in the1960s. The British Invasion was ultimately the spread of this new arising form
of music from Britain to America and eventually, the rest of the world.
Superiority of the Beatles
The end of World War II in 1939 is indicated as the split of the older British regime versus the wake of new culture that washed over British lands. Culture changed as the population gained more access to conventional forms of entertainment through sources that were gradually becoming more affordable and convenient, such as radios and television. This transition from the older British regime to the more modern wave of culture also targeted a new, much younger audience. In the 1950s, this new younger audience was eager to break away from the astringency of the past. Jazz, rock and roll, movies, and television in general were becoming more widespread and ultimately accepted by the higher classes.
Americanization in the 1950s stood as one of the major contributions to the transition of British culture. Americanization is the influence of American culture on the culture of other countries. The British youth began to look to the Americans as examples for their preferences
in television and music styles.
What is the impact of the British Invasion beginning in the 1960s, and how has the British Invasion influenced society and music today?
Influence of the Beatles
As the economy improved post World War II, entertainment and music,
specifically, became more valued, thus spurring interest in The Beatles. The
Beatles' influenced a variety of aspects ranging from fashion to politics.
Society in the 1960s resisted change and parents opposed the style brought upon
the population by The Beatles.
Influence of the Beatles (cont.)
Their long hair, high heel boots, and "strange" clothing were a distinct change from the traditional styles and therefore were instinctively were discouraged by many. The Beatles were seen as "mopheads" and "freaks" by society
However, after time, people began to see them as modern and vibrant and accepted their new ways and introduced them to others thus changing the traditional culture of America.
Beatlemania helped to motivate a social, cultural and political revolution that targeted subjects such as war, racism, equality and women's rights.
The Beatles’ advocated world peace in their lyrics and specifically in their song, “Give Peace a Chance,” written by John Lennon in 1969, became America’s anthem for their anti-war movement during the 1970s.
The Beatles’ have created such a significant impact not only on society in the late 20th century but continues to influence society today.
The Rolling Stones, formed in 1962, although not as significant and influential as the more popular Beatles, was also around during the rise of The Beatles.
The Rolling Stones was the longest performing rock band of all time.
The Rolling Stones was greatly impacted by the effects of Americanization; their music was influenced by American rhythm and blues artists.
Their “bad-boy” image was ultramodern, and this new genre of sex, drugs, and wild behavior deemed attractive to the younger audience.
The Rolling Stones
Their dark image, however, also captured the attention of parents,
who were unhappy about the “punks” who became so easily popular with the crowd.
The Rolling Stones, however, decided that this attention was beneficial totheir popularity, and deliberately continued to introduce what, at the time, was considered eccentric fashion, including novel hairstyles and clothing.
In June 1964, the Rolling Stones arrived in America, further expanding their target of influence. By the 1970s, the Rolling Stones proved to cause major controversy; they were banned from several countries, and even exiled from Britain for the lack of payments of their taxes.
Their performances included the infamous smashing and blowing up of the band’s guitars and drums, specifically in their Smothers Brothers appearance in which drummer, Keith Moon, packed a large number of explosives in his drums which resulted in a cloud of smoke during their performance which eventually caused the deafness of Keith Moon and bandmate, Pete Townshend. The Who’s nationally televised performance of “My Generation” which mentioned their popularized lyric, “Hope I die before I get old,” marked the beginning of their success in America in September 17, 1967. Their success and unique style of music influenced heavy metal bands that emerged after them like AC/DC, Queen, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, and Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin, an English rock band, formed in 1968, was best known for their hit “Stairway to Heaven” and their contribution to a novel genre of music - heavy metal.
Led Zeppelin has also been one of the most influential bands in history, having sold over 300 million records and millions of tickets worldwide.
Their music was ultimately a mix of blues, rock and roll, soul, rockabilly, folk ballad, jazz, classical, and oriental music.
Their originality in music contributed to the emergence of imagination and creativity in other musicians and artists of the time.
Led Zeppelin opened the door to new extremes of musical expression.
They characterized rock music and the rock lifestyle, and they are not adored only by fans, but also respected by famous musicians.
Pink Floyd was an English rock band, consisted of Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and David Gilmour, who attained international praise with their "progressive and psychedelic" music during the 1965s-1990s. They were one of the most well-known rock bands, capturing the importance of lengthy passages and adding unique vibes and clear lyrics to their songs. Throughout their career, Pink Floyd released many albums which are all known for their musical treasures. The band attempted to capture the attention of the youth in not only England but America as well.
Influence of Pink Floyd
The band referred to the sociopolitical matters of the late 1960’s involving subjects such as homosexuality and anti-war movement. Pink Floyd also became a major influence on their audience’s perceptions and outlooks of life because of their technological progressions in their music. They are eminent for their use of meaningful lyrics and elaborate live shows and are admired for being one of the most successful and musically influential groups in the history of music.
Radiohead, formed in 1985, is categorized as alternative rock, which emerged from the previous rock bands mentioned, including the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Their debut album, Pablo Honey, and hit single, Creep, became an international hit because of its anxiety filled lyrics along with its alternative rock anthem. Radiohead’s second album, The Bends, introduced an advanced and electronic vibe that contributed to the album being one of the most admired albums of the 1990s. The band continued to grow successfully with their albums such as Kid A and In Rainbows topped the charts in the mid-2000s.
Similarly, Coldplay, formed in 1996, which is still an active band today, is considered as alternative pop rock that was significantly influenced by Radiohead.
The band’s initial sophisticated, harmonious, and dramatic sound did not interest the youth in their first album, Parachute, which debuted in 2000.
However, their single, “Yellow,” which was released in 2001, became one of the most famous ballads of the decade.
In 2005, Coldplay released their third album, X & Y, which contributed to their growing popularity, and in 2009, their Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends hit the top charts as they began to push the boundaries of the style of music that they were producing by working with new producers and musicians.
One Direction, formed Friday, July 23rd, 2010, at 8:22 pm, on the X-Factor UK, has taken the world by fire, selling out three worldwide tours, working on their fourth album, and beginning to prepare for their fourth international tour called “On the Road Again” in the span of only under four years. The members' exceptionally young ages, ranging from 20 to 22, makes their rapid, worldwide success even more remarkable.
One Direction and the Beatles
One Direction has consistently been compared to the Beatles, the largest band in history before One Direction and the beginning of the British Invasion.
The reactions of the screaming fans to the boys is similar to those of the 1960s fans of the “Fab Four.”
While the Beatles were categorized as rock and roll, One Direction have been categorized as pop, which emerged from rock music influences from the 1960s, hence the age of the Beatles.
One Direction’s first two albums,
Up All Night
Take Me Home
, fall under the category of pop culture. However, as the band matured, their music became even more influenced by rock, and showed more similarities with rock bands of the early British Invasion, such as The Who.
Although One Direction has a larger fan base and has achieved greater fame more rapidly, their music remains inferior to the music of the Beatles and other bands of the famous British Invasion. This is because the Beatles were the beginning of the rock music revolution, while One Direction has only combined their ways with pop culture.
The British Invasion, beginning in the 1960s with the Beatles, has changed the traditional regime of not only Britain, but of America and the rest of the world, respectively.
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and One Direction are the most significant icons of music of the British Invasion.
Although most claim that One Direction are not a part of the British Invasion, but rather post British Invasion, it is arguable that One Direction are indeed a part of the British Invasion due to their large success and recognition worldwide.
The British Invasion was a period of growth of rock music from the United Kingdom to the rest of the world.
The British Invasion changed American perspective on rock culture and music, and ultimately changed traditional values in modern society.