Before The Beatles landed on American shores in February 1964, only two British acts had topped the Billboard singles chart. In the first quarter of 1964, however, the Beatles alone accounted for 60% of all recorded music sold in the United States; in 1964 and 1965 British acts occupied the number one position for 52 of the 104 weeks; and from 1964 through to 1970, the Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, the Dave Clark Five, the Animals, the Kinks, the Hollies, the Yardbirds, and the Who placed more than 130 songs on the American Top Forty.
Simon Philo illustrates how this remarkable event in cultural history disrupted and even reversed pop culture's flow of influence, goods, and ideas - orchestrating a dramatic turn-around in the commercial fortunes of British pop in North America that turned the 1960s into "The Sixties". Focusing on key works and performers, The British Invasion tracks the journey of this musical phenomenon from peripheral irrelevance through exotic novelty into the heart of mainstream rock. Throughout, Philo explores how and why British music from the period came to achieve such unprecedented heights of commercial, artistic, and cultural dominance.
The British Invasion: The Crosscurrents of Musical Influence will appeal to fans, students, and scholars of popular music history - indeed anyone interested in understanding the fascinating relationship between popular music and culture.
The book is published by Rowman & Littlefield.
For those who came of age in the early to mid-sixties this is a must read. If your musical world was shaped during that unique time this is a great journey back to the people and songs that defined the era. Mind you, this is not a gushy, gooey expedition in sixties hero-worshiping nor is it a dry academic tome. “British Invasion” straddles that fine line of being both entertaining and informative.
If you weren’t a product of the sixties you too need to read “British Invasion” to understand how transformative those years were and how they impacted the music of today. The records set back then have yet to be broken and to understand that is to understand that the likes of Adele and Ed Sheeran owe huge debts of gratitude to their countrymen of the sixties.
John Gully does an excellent job reading Simon Philo’s work. All-in-all this is a phenomenal production for anyone who has ever even heard a song from the sixties.