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British Invasion

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British Invasion

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The appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964, marked the dramatic start of the British Invasion. The appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964, marked the dramatic start of the British Invasion.

The British Invasion was an influx of rock and roll performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. The classic British Invasion was in 1964-1966, but the term may also be applied to later "waves" of UK artists to significantly impact entertainment markets outside of Britain.



The British invasion

The British Invasion began around 1962, and peaked in 1965. Two decades following the first invasion, the UK based punk movement resulted in another influx of raw, iconoclastic UK bands and artists, such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. As in 1963, the mainstream music market of 1975 had become heavily commercialized and formulaic, and the punk movement was a strong rebellion against this trend. Punk had a huge and lasting artistic influence on the popular music scene, but it never matched the broad commercial impact of the classic British Invasion of the 1960s. But in its wake, softer UK power pop artists (sometimes referred to as "New Wave" artists) also begin to appear in the US market, still dominated by heavily commercialized disco and heavy metal music. Throughout the end of the 1970s, the influence and success of these artists (such as The Police) would slowly grow to become a second invasion.

This was largely spawned by the influence of MTV, which brought various distinctly British acts to the attention of American audiences. These included The Fixx, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Culture Club, and others. Once again, British acts came to dominate American charts, this time to an even greater degree than in the first British Invasion. See New Wave and New Romantic.

This second invasion of the 1980s remains (to date) the only other one. The continued splintering of the music market into vastly different genres makes a follow up, mass-appeal movement such as the British Invasion currently unlikely. Some musicians today dream of making such a mark.


The Britpop movement of the mid-1990s can be seen as a direct continuation of the original British Invasion of the 1960s, mixed with music of the '70s and '80s, although unlike the Invasion, Britpop never achieved the same degree of international popularity. Most of the bands weren't as popular worldwide as they were in Britain. Nevertheless, a few like Oasis, Radiohead, Pulp and Blur have managed to break through into the American market and achieve respectable international success. The Spice Girls also had chart success abroad.

The start of the millennium saw new artists from Britain come to rise, the most popular of them being Coldplay, who have achieved success in the U.S. Other acts are following in their footsteps.

In May 2002, there were no British artists on the US singles charts, the first time this had occurred since 1963.

In 2005, James Blunt reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his single "You're Beautiful", the first British artist to do so since Elton John with "Candle In The Wind" in 1997.

First British Invasion artists

The Tornados
The Action
The Animals
The Beatles
Cat Stevens
Belfast Gypsies
Dave Berry
The Birds
Chad and Jeremy
Cilla Black
Cliff Bennett
The Creation
The Dave Clark Five
The Downliners Sect
Dusty Springfield
Freddie and the Dreamers
Georgie Fame
Gerry & the Pacemakers
Graham Bond
Herman's Hermits
The Hollies
The Honeycombs
Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
Long John Baldry
Manfred Mann
Marianne Faithfull
The Mindbenders
The Moody Blues
The Move
The Nashville Teens
Peter & Gordon
Petula Clark
The Pretty Things
Procol Harum
The Rolling Stones
Sandie Shaw
The Searchers
The Shadows
The Small Faces
The Spencer Davis Group
The Swinging Blue Jeans
Tom Jones
The Tremeloes
The Troggs
Unit 4 + 2
The Walker Brothers
The Who
The Yardbirds
The Zombies

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.