Published on February 12th, 2014 | by Alan Cross0
Vanity Fair’s “An Oral History of the British Invasion”
In you’re still swept up in all the 50th anniversary Beatles nostalgia, here’s a good read from Vanity Fair from 2002 which tried to explain why North America went so apeshit over British music in the middle 60s tapping into the memories of Andrew Loog Oldham, Eric Burden, Peter Noone and many others.
Far from being solely a beat-group explosion, the Invasion was a rather eclectic phenomenon that took in everything from Petula Clark’s lushly symphonic pop to Chad and Jeremy’s dulcet folk-schlock to the Yardbirds’ blues-rock rave-ups. And while the Beatles were unquestionably the movement’s instigators and dominant force, the Rolling Stones and the Who were, initially, among the least successful of the invaders—the former group struggling throughout ’64 to gain a foothold in America while the Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, and even Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas vaulted ahead of them, the latter group struggling even to get its terrific run of early singles (“I Can’t Explain,” “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere,” “My Generation,” “Substitute”)released in the United States. (Arguably, given that they didn’t perform in America or chart in its Top 40 until 1967, with “Happy Jack,” the Who don’t even qualify as an Invasion band.)
The British Invasion was, nevertheless, a very real phenomenon.