BRITISH INVASION III: THE REST OF THE FAMILY
With whole chapters dedicated to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, much of the work of studying the British Invasion is left for this unit. The British Invasion is, after all, a thing with many sides. The Kinks, the Who, the Animals, the Dave Clark Five, Herman's Hermits, the Zombies, the Small Faces, the Hollies: this list is partial but points to the fact that the offerings are enormous, and they include bands that are remarkably different one to the next. Additionally, not all of the bands of the British Invasion survived it to become something more. The Who and the Kinks, for instance, had long careers: To think of them as British Invasion acts is worthwhile only because the Invasion was their point of entry, not their sole defining moment. Herman's Hermits and the Dave Clark Five, however, did not find a long life beyond the years of the British Invasion, no matter that they made important recordings in and around that time.
What the lessons in this chapter will attempt to do is to study the acts, like the Kinks and the Who, that left a footprint extending beyond the time frame of the British Invasion, in an effort to explore how what these bands did as popular music came to be appreciated as art, not just entertainment. The Who's Tommy is an emblem of that shift, a self-proclaimed "rock opera." How, the lessons will ask, did these groups manage amidst the dramatic changes going on around them? Groups that started in matching suits and costumes entered the later part of the 1960s looking very different than they did at the outset. Their hair grew, their musical commentary often grew sharper. But bands like Herman's Hermits, who had a boy-next-door quality, seemed out of place as the revolution unfolded.
In addition, this chapter's lessons will look hard at the question of what Britain meant to Stateside audiences. The strength of the British Invasion would have been much diminished if the audiences in the United States were not eager for what was being delivered. What was the context of the Invasion? What needs did it answer? This chapter will explore it all.
Video pages: The Who - My Generation (1965) | The Who - Substitute (1966) | The Who - The British Invasion (1966) | The Kinks - You Really Got Me (1965) | ABC News - Saga of Western Man (1964) | The Who - My Generation (Monterey Pop Festival) (1967)