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The British Invasion

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The British Invasion

How the Beatles and Other UK Bands Conquered America
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The explosion of British bands onto the American rock scene in the 1960s is examined in this thorough history. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' first trip to the United States, this look at...
The explosion of British bands onto the American rock scene in the 1960s is examined in this thorough history. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' first trip to the United States, this look at...
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Description-
  • The explosion of British bands onto the American rock scene in the 1960s is examined in this thorough history. Marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' first trip to the United States, this look at British rock music covers in detail the pre-Beatles music that first gave Americans a taste of the British style, Beatlemania, and the British acts that followed their lead, including the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks. This account includes in-depth interviews with key figures and fully updated information on this dynamic time in American pop music. Previously unseen photographs and reproduced newspaper front pages provide a visual history of that music explosion.
Excerpts-
  • The British Invasion

    CHAPTER ONE
    INTRODUCTION

    I was there and I do remember the sixties (well, there was so much happening that I admit to at least remembering part of it!).

    In August 2003, Rod Murray and I unveiled a plaque to the Dissenters at Ye Cracke pub in Rice Street, Liverpool. This all harked back to early 1960 when John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, Rod and myself had been to Liverpool University to attend a recital by British poet Royston Ellis.

    At the time we were all students at Liverpool College of Art. Rod was Stu’s best friend and they shared a flat together in Gambier Terrace, which John then moved into. The four of us used to hang around together in pubs and parties and at the Gambier Terrace flat and on this particular evening we decided to see Ellis perform his poetry.

    Following the recital we retired to Ye Cracke, our art college watering hole, and a discussion began. We had noticed that Royston had written his poetry in the style of the San Francisco poets, who we were all aware of. In fact, we had copies from the City Lights Bookshop of poems by Ginsberg, Ferlighetti and Corso and Ellis seemed to be copying their style.

    In those days the major films were all American, the music we all loved was American, even the ‘in’ books such as On The Road and The Catcher In The Rye were American as were the current icons such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. We all were fascinated by ‘The Beat Generation’ depicted by Jack Kerouac and Co, and admired the American president John F. Kennedy.

    The conversation touched on the fact that there was a degree of American popular culture domination in Britain and people seemed to be copying it. At the time reporters from the Sunday People newspaper had swarmed over the Gambier Terrace flat trying to do a story on Beatniks (the flat was described in the paper under the heading ‘Beatnik Horror!’) and Beatniks, of course, were examples of British youth copying the American Beats.

    I pointed out that any creative person is better off expressing themselves with the familiarity of their own experience and environment. To me, the Liverpool area was an exciting place with lots of creative people and I did not see why anyone should bother trying to write, paint or make music based on something outside their own experience, i.e. someone else’s environment rather than their own.

    A positive example was John himself. He was a poet, but he did not copy the San Francisco poets. His influences were Lewis Carroll, the Goons and Stanley Unwin. His writings in the Daily Howl had been comic pieces about the teachers and pupils he was familiar with. He was English and his English background was obvious in his work.

    We began to talk about Liverpool itself, a city with a proud heritage and lots of interesting things going on. Over the pints of bitter we all decided to take a vow – we would use our talents to make Liverpool famous. John would do it with his music, Stuart and Rod with their painting and myself with my writing.

    I suggested we call ourselves the Dissenters.

    The idea that was spawned in our minds that night was to grow, and it must be admitted that John succeeded in that promise far beyond our wildest dreams. In the years to come I was particularly pleased with Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane because that was one of the things we discussed - why could not songs be written about the places we were familiar with? All the songs we listened to were about American locations and we often heard people saying that songs could not be written about British places because they had unglamorous names.

About the Author-
  • Bill Harry attended Liverpool College of Art with John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe and arranged for Brian Epstein to visit the Cavern, where he saw the Beatles for the first time. He is the founding editor of Mersey Beat, the music paper that helped launch the Beatles music career, and the author of The Beatles Who’s Who, The Best Years of the Beatles, and The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia. He has appeared on Good Morning America and received the Gold award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. He lives in Liverpool, England.
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    Chrome Dreams
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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How the Beatles and Other UK Bands Conquered America
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