The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon that combined British rock and roll with a youthful American audience in the mid-1960s. Rock and roll soon infiltrated every day life by way of radio and even contributed to an entire counterculture. The sounds, attitudes, and lifestyles that came out of the British Invasion still have a profound impact on music today. Let's take a look at some of the most influential bands that crossed the Atlantic and took the U.S. by storm.
What kind of British Invasion list would this be if we didn't include The Beatles?
Beatlemania took the U.S. by storm in February 1964 when the band played "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (1964) on the Ed Sullivan Show and subsequently started the British Invasion craze. It's no surprise that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was their first number one hit on Billboard's Hot 100! The boys went on to have twenty songs in total chart at number one.
In addition to revolutionizing the music industry, they somewhat pioneered the music video well before MTV's debut in 1981. With their film "A Hard Day's Night," fans went wild watching them on the big screen. But the movie wasn't your typical movie with a plot -- it was interspersed with the band performing and dancing to their songs in full.
Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" (1967) was their highest charting Billboard's Hot 100 hit, peaking at number five on August 31, 1968.
Consisting of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce, Cream was widely regarded as the world's first successful supergroup. They're credited with influencing the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers Band, and Rush.
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones first reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100 on July 10, 1965 with none other than "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965). In total, they peaked at number one with eight different songs.
The Rolling Stones signed with Decca Records, who originally declined a deal with The Beatles. The Stones' contract with Decca was unheard of at the time -- three times the typical royalty rate, full artistic control of recordings, and ownership over the master tapes.
Surprisingly, The Who only ever reached number nine on Billboard's Hot 100. Their highest charting hit was "I Can See For Miles" (1967), which first peaked on November 25, 1967.
The Who paved the way for rock music with power chords, using non-instrumental noise like feedback on their tracks, and their extremely loud volume during live shows.
"For Your Love" (1965) was the highest charting song for The Yardbirds, peaking at number six on Billboard's Hot 100 on July 3, 1965.
Although The Yardbirds were only active for five years in the sixties (they later regrouped in the nineties), they produced some pretty iconic musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck.
Released in 1964, "She's Not There" skyrocketed to the number two spot on Billboard's Hot 100 on December 12, 1964.
In January of 1965, the band made their U.S. television debut on the very first episode of NBC's Hullabaloo. They played "She's Not There" (along with "Tell Her No") to a crowd of screaming, hysterical teenage girls.
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Article image: Roger [CC-BY 2.0], from Flickr