Music of the sixties – the British invasion

Posted on June 16, 2021

british invasion

I love music, especially the music of the sixties. I consider myself very fortunate to have been at the right age to fully witness this wonderful decade, jam packed with great music from incredibly talented performers. Many of them are now true legends in the world of music. Names like Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones and, of course, The Beatles, just to name a few.

For my first installment, I want to focus on the British invasion as this really defined much of the music in the sixties. Wikipedia lists FORTY EIGHT bands / performers that comprise the British invasion. From The Animals to The Zombies, literally from A to Z! I can’t write about all of them but I would like to pick out some of my favorites whose songs, when I hear them on the radio, bring me right back to the year they first hit the airwaves.

The Beatles landed on American soil in 1964 and are widely recognized as starting the British Invasion. I remember watching them on The Ed Sullivan Show and loving their music right from the start. I still can’t believe how much their music evolved over the years. They just kept getting better and better, IMO. One of my favorites: Hey Bulldog! from The Yellow Submarine album. I love Paul’s bass playing on this song plus it’s just a fun, goofy song with a great beat.

Petula Clark has been dubbed “the first lady of the British Invasion” and I can understand why. Her signature song, “Downtown” was such an upbeat song and she followed it with many other equally big hits.

Gerry and the Pacemakers were another of the British Invasion performers. Just like the Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein and recorded by George Martin. Here’s a great video of them performing one their hits, “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” on the Ed Sullivan show in May 1964.

His real name is Sir Thomas John Woodward but he is best known as Tom Jones, a Welsh singer that took the country by storm with a string of top ten hits in the mid sixties. My favorite is: “It’s Not Usual”, a big hit from the summer of 1965.

The Hollies are another of my favorite British Invasion groups. One of the founding members, Graham Nash, went on to form Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968. The Hollies had a string of great hits but, without a doubt, my very favorite is “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. I find the melody and lyrics work beautifully together and offer a wonderful message.

The Moody Blues were a very important part of the British Invasion and created some very progressive albums. One of my favorite songs is: “The Story In Your Eyes”. I love the fast pace of this particular song.

Peter and Gordon have lots of ties to the first group in my list, The Beatles. For starters, Paul McCartney lived with Peter Asher’s family for two years. Paul also dated and was engaged to Peter’s sister, Jane Asher. Peter’s mom taught at a prominent music school and one of her students was George Martin. Finally, Paul McCartney wrote Peter and Gordon’s first and biggest hit “World Without Love”. But my favorite Peter and Gordon hit is “Go To Pieces”.

Okay, it’s time for another lady! How about Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien. You probably know her best as Dusty Springfield! Dusty also had several big hits in the sixties but my favorite upbeat song is “I Only Want To Be With You”, which also was her first big hit. Boy, do I LOVE this song! ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, I think that it’s most appropriate to end my British Invasion list with the mega group, The Rolling Stones. Not much needs to be said about this group. They dominated the music scene with their huge hits right along with The Beatles. Their first number 1 hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” owned the summer of 1965.

So these are just some of my British Invasion favorites. I’m sure that you have some of your own and I’d love to hear what they are!

Author: Mr. Ken, guest blogger as Nancy recovers from her rotator cuff surgery. (Her recovery is going well)