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Our beautiful nation has gone through so many phases as it has grown through the years. It’s almost as if America is a living, breathing teenager trying to find its identity with the wide variety of music genres. From classical, rock, grunge, techno to hip-hop, America has seen it all and identified with the ever-changing evolution of music.
One of the most noted changes in music history is when The Beatles graced the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. These talented Brits started the chain reaction of bringing rock bands to the USA.
These eccentric bands not only brought their fashion, attitude and a piece of Britain to America, but also changed the meaning and face of rock n’ roll. Here is a stroll down memory lane of the phenomenal rock gods of Britain’s elite talent.
First and foremost, The Beatles. The band's best-known lineup consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They gave their first live US television performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, watched by approximately 73 million viewers. The adoring fans continued to support them and the rest is history, as they are in the Rock Hall of Fame. The most notable (there are many) Beatles songs are as follows, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Let it Be,” “Hey Jude,” and “Come Together.”
Another legendary band is The Rolling Stones, consisting of Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. The Rolling Stones’ origins date back to the boyhood friendship of Jagger and Richards. In 1965, the Stones discovered their individual sound with the singles “The Last Time” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” “Satisfaction” is one of the most notable rock sing-alongs. Other notable songs are “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses,” “Bitch,” and “Paint it Black.”
Oh, the infamous Led Zeppelin. Formed as the New Yardbirds in 1968, the band consisted of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham. They are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history. Led Zeppelin changed their name after signing with Atlantic records and were able to explore their artistic liberty. Their music is of a wide variety as they are able to incorporate heavy, guitar-driven blues-rock, metal, hard rock and folk music. The most popular songs are “Stairway to Heaven,” “Kashmir,” “Black Dog,” and “When the Levee Breaks.”
Black Sabbath, the name says it all. The original line-up was Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward. In 1968, Black Sabbath established itself as a heavy blues-rock band named Earth and renamed itself in 1969. The band began writing horror-inspired lyrics with tuned-down guitar. Black Sabbath also composed songs dealing with social instability, political corruption, and the dangers of drug abuse and apocalyptic prophesies of the horrors of war.
Rolling Stone said that Black Sabbath “changed music forever” and referred to them as “The Beatles of heavy metal.” Some popular songs are “Paranoid”, “War Pigs,” “N.I.B.” “Iron Man,” and “The Wizard.”
The Sex Pistols are known for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. This dynamic group consisted of Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious. The Sex Pistols were popular for the defiant band members that were constantly getting in trouble. The notorious Sid Vicious was no stranger to trouble from causing riots during performances to being accused of his girlfriend’s murder. Aside from the drama, they made a name of themselves in the airwaves. Their 1977 single "God Save the Queen," which attacked Britain’s' social conformity and deference to the Crown, created pandemonium. Some other songs that they are known for are “Anarchy in the UK,” “Pretty Vacant,” “Did You No Wrong,” and “I Wanna Be Me.”
The British Invasion was a defiant and rebellious phenomenon that changed the face of rock n’ roll and blues in America. It shaped the popular music and these bands were the founding fathers from which many major American acts of the next decade would emerge.