The British Invasion

Hey all,

Here is a paper that I had to write for school, about the importance of the British Invasion of the 1960s. It also has a little history on some of the most proclaimed artists. This is the first part in a 4-part series, each one featuring a different band.

February 7, 1964. A day that will live in the hearts of the 1960’s teenagers forever. This was the day that The Beatles arrived in New York City to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show (British Invasion, 2013). But more importantly, it was part of the phenomenon that was the British Invasion. The start of the integration of American and British culture, where over two dozen British performers made the US charts, the first of these was of course The Beatles. The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Yardbirds were perhaps amongst the most prominent, but there were more. These bands were huge successes in the US, and paved the road to a future of talent coming from the UK.

The Beatles

Long John and The Beatles. The Beat Brothers. The Silver Beetles. These were all names that the band we now know as The Beatles considered going by, and were thankfully thrown out (White, 2013). However, The Beatles didn’t also feature the same band members we are used to. In 1960, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison were joined by the owner of a nearby coffee shop that they used to play at, Pete Best. They were also joined by bassist Stu Stucliffe, Lennon’s friend from Liverpool Art School. Unfortunately, Stucliffe had to leave the band in order to continue his art studies, eighteen months after he joined (White, 2013). This was around the time when this group auditioned to the producer of Paraphone Studios, George Martin in June, 1962 (White, 2013). Martin liked everything about the band, except for Best. Best was not on the best terms with the rest of the band at the time, so he left. The Beatles recruited Ringo Starr, who was at the time with another band in Liverpool, Rory and the Hurricanes (White, 2013).

The Beatles first single, Love Me Do, was a hit. It reached #17 in the UK charts after it was released in September, 1962. However, due to Paraphone’s sister studio in the US, Capitol Records, Love Me Do could not be released in the US due to skepticism pertaining to a British Artist’s success abroad. Almost six months after their first single released, in March 1963, The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me was released in the UK. This album’s two released singles, “Please Please Me” and “She Loves You” were played scarcely in the US. In fact, teenager audience from Dick Clark’s American Bandstand reacted to “She Loves You” not about the song, but by ridiculing the band’s “mop-top” haircuts (White, 2013).

Then came The Beatles’ second album, With The Beatles. This album was a smash success. It was the second album ever to sell a million units in the UK. Ever. Needless to say, The Beatles were well-known in their home-country, but not so much abroad. That is, until February, 1964 (White, 2013).

All of the top five spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart were occupied by The Beatles. They had two #1 albums in the UK in one year alone. And, over 73 million people watched The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. This was enough for Capitol Records to finally sign The Beatles to a record deal in the US. In the summer of 1964, The Beatles toured New Zealand and Australia. Their arrival in Adelaide, Australia, was greeted by more than 300 thousand people (White D. , 2013). The Beatles were becoming a huge success, and they kept touring until the fateful incident in the summer of 1966. They got attacked by the people of the Philippines, after declining to attend a a breakfast at the Presidential Palace. This outrage was only supplemented when Lennon suggested in an interview that “Christianity is dying,” and “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus now.” The Beatles’ last public performance was in August, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The group wanted to focus on writing and recording, not on performing (White D. , 2013).

After returning from a hiatus during the first part of 1968, The Beatles announced the creation of their own studio, Apple Records. They didn’t waste any time, and immediately went to work on The White Album (also known as The Beatles). The White Album was released in November of 1968 (White D. , 2013).

The White Album was very tough for The Beatles. With tensions rising, they made their last public performance in January 1969, on the roof of Apple Recording. They finished their last recording session ever, for Abbey Road, in August 1969. John Lennon told that band that he was leaving in September of that same year. Everybody else persuaded him not to make it public, at least until they published their final album, Let It Be, which had been recorded early in 1969 but had not been finished. The Beatles’ official breakup was in April 1970, about 30 days before Let It Be was released. As of December 31, 1970, the legal entity “The Beatles” (White D. , 2013).

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment with suggestions and feedback in the comments!

~Jacob Montgomery

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