THE SIXTIES: THE BRITISH INVASION
A Personal Reflection by Alan Chrisman
By Alan Chrisman (All Articles ARE written BY ALAN CHRISMAN), copyright 2012-2015 (A Praveen Patel has tried to hack them and claim them).
I was privileged to grow up in the 1960’s and witness the British Invasion come to America. The CNN: THE SIXTIES episode on it brought back a lot of memories to me-50 years later.
It’s hard to articulate the effect The Beatles and other British groups had on us then. Music up until that time had been pretty tame, not since the very early days of rock ’n’ roll in the 50’s, anyway. I remember seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and not knowing quite what to make of them. Everything about them was different-their hair, their accent, their music, their humor, etc. They were, as someone said, like aliens from a strange land. They were playing American music, influenced by black music, but reflected through their own words and sound. Upon hearing their first records the songs seemed to jump off the vinyl-it was just pure energy and fun-this was their “Yeah Yeah” period. Along with them, came many other talented British groups, after The Beatles had first opened the floodgates to America-The Stones, Animals, Kinks, Zombies, The Who, The Yardbirds, and many more. It was like a tsunami, one after the other, but each a little different. What’s amazing is the quality of most of them, and all at one time, unusual in pop culture.
Soon The Beatles themselves were making great advances in their song writing and song subjects. They released 5 Lps (including two movie soundtracks) within the next two years from ’64-’66 alone, plus singles. Artists today are lucky to put out one every 2-3 years. Each album was a quantum leap from the previous one, from the folk-rock of Rubber Soul to the psychedelic electric of Revolver. They had been influenced by Dylan and he had gone from acoustic folk to electric because of them and American folk-rock groups like The Byrds were born. This was one of the greatest things to happen in the 60’s, and rare, artists of all styles were bouncing off each other. Technology had also advanced and The Beatles began experimenting in the studio. A friendly rivalry developed and as the other 60’s artists tried to keep up with the Beatles, and pop music was raised to whole new levels. For the first time, perhaps, pop music could be about more than just entertainment. When Sgt. Peppers came out in ’67, it became clear that it could be art as well. It could make social comments too, besides just “boy and girl songs” which had dominated pop up until then. It also coincided with all the political changes, the Civil Rights Movement, and The Vietnam War protests, which were also taking place in The Sixties. As a black commentator said, they were even liked in that community too, and this helped expose the races to each other. As listeners, these immense changes in the music opened us all up to new possibilities; we even believed that we could try and express ourselves too.
Rock was never the same again. Every generation probably thinks their own is unique (and in some respects, it is), but THE SIXTIES, as I said, changed so much and at one time. Rock music and THE BEATLES, especially, would have a profound influence on the whole culture, then and in the future. There would likely be few artists today, creating their own music or experimenting with sounds, if they and some of the other artists in the 60’s, hadn’t opened the creative doors first or so wide. Nobody would take rock music and culture seriously, as more than entertainment only for teenagers, without them and the advances they made. But it is the revolutionary music and possibilities they inspired, that I remember most, even a half-century later and that will live on.
“Thank God for The Beatles”, below, is a song written by Alan Chrisman about the joy of the Beatles Invasion and The Sixties Rock ’n ’Roll. Hear “Al & THE G-MEN” recording of at: http://www.rockthistownproductions.com
“Thank God for the Beatles” Song lyrics by Alan Chrisman (c. 2013)
Growing up in the 60’s
It was all Top 40
Straight middle-aged pop
And watered-down folk
Then They were on the Sullivan show
Shaking their long hair
There was nothing like it
Since Elvis had been there Chorus
Dylan went electric Thank God for The Beatles
Despite the purists’ boo And that back back beat
But he knew full well We all wanted to rock rock rock
what he must do And to dance dance dance in the street
It was never the same
We could not sit still
We had to get up
and join in the thrill
It still stands up
even till this day
and makes us want
to still get up and play
repeat last verse
Dance dance dance-2 times
She loves you, Yeah Yeah Yeah-3 times
Dance dance dance-2 times