Why did the British Invasion happen?

forget about the Beatles, but why exactly during the 60's a lot of bands Stones, Who, Pink Floyd, Hollies, Hermans Hermits, Chad and Jeremy, Kinks etc... why did they come out at that time and not before?

Did the American music inspire them? My grand father was telling me in the 50's everyone was listening to Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers etc... American music not much British.

America is the land of opportunity, but was Britain trying to compete with America? I think American music at one point was not allowed in England and illegally imported records were how John Lennon got them.

4 Answers

Relevance
  • Tony B
    Lv 7
    3 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the 1950s and early 60s British musicians were certainly inspired and influence by American music - jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll etc. Before the arrival of The Beatles there was VERY little British music to interest teenagers and young people, and what there was was basically a copy of what was popular in America.

    So far as I know, there has never been a time when American music wasn't allowed in the UK or when it was “illegal” to bring American records into the UK. Ports, like Liverpool, were where many people were able to obtain American music as records were brought in my people working on the ships.

    When The Beatles (who, like everyone else, were influenced by American music) became successful, and when it was apparent that they weren't going to be one hit wonders, two things happened: First, their records were released in America and became “hits”. Second, many, many young people in the UK were inspired to form bands and play a similar style of music to The Beatles. Because of The Beatles’ success, record companies fell over themselves to sign these bands (and of course bands that were The Beatles’ contemporaries. Within a matter of months after The Beatles first hit the UK charts were all but taken over by UK groups playing “pop music”.

    Because of their commercial success The Beatles went out to America and, of course, became a huge success there (the American market was always potentially much bigger than that of the UK).

    The other bands you mention couldn't have gone over to America earlier because they didn't exist before The Beatles were successful and because no one ever thought that America would be interested in British bands and artists - there was simply no market there for them.

    Obviously, record companies, managers and the bands themselves were keen to take advantage of the new American interest in British bands, so just about all of them “went out to America”.

    You can't “forget about The Beatles” when considering “the British invasion” - they were the reason for it.

    Source(s):
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 3 months ago

    You say "forget about The Beatles", but you simply can't explain the British Invasion without The Beatles. TonyB gave a good explanation of the timeline. 

    Look at it this way. What we listen to was, and is,  greatly influenced by the "music industry". Back then it was all about selling records. Somebody starts a trend (Elvis, for instance) then all the other recording studios are looking to cash in on that sound. That all works for awhile, until a new sound comes out and competes for record sales. Let's say Motown...or surf music. So we go along in these cycles of innovation and copying.

    With those cycles in mind, it's easier to understand the British Invasion. The Beatles were introduced to America in a blitz of promotion. They became the "next new sound", and true to the industry, all the other record companies started desperately searching for something similar.

    Certainly, American music inspired the British bands.  The Beatles were doing covers of old American tunes in their pub days, and even a few on their first few albums.

    "Roll Over Beethoven" was Chuck Berry.

    "Chains" was written by Carole King.

    "Honey Don't" was Carl Perkins

    "Slow Down" Larry Williams

    "Please Mr Postman" The Marvelettes

    The list is more extensive, but you can see that The Beatles definitely influenced by American music.  They incorporated it into a new sound and opened the floodgates for other British bands to follow.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 3 months ago

    Most of those British artists you named stated they were greatly influenced by 50s American rock n roll,I guess they took that mixed in a bit of their culture creating a whole new sound that more and more artists imitated.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 3 months ago

    Of course American music inspired them, dummy.  Rock & roll was born in America.  That's not a little known secret or anything.

    Rock & roll didn't take over America, it took over the whole friggin world.  When the Brits heard it, they figured they'd give it a go themselves.  

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.