Monday, January 19, 2009

The British Invasion


Back when I used to do a radio show in college, one of my time slots was dedicated to British Imports. If you went to any record store back then all albums were incased in shrink wrap, but when you got to the import section the shrink wrapped albums were also placed into an open on one end plastic sleeve. I guess it was a value added thing. I collected all sorts of imports and nearly half of my collection of 1,500 albums were imports. Most were British, but there were a few from Germany and Italy.

A few years ago a collector came down from Seattle and bought half of my collection. He filled box after box of my imports. It dawned on me that there was a lot of musical talent that hailed from United Kingdom. I can’t think of any state in the USA that could boast of as much creative talent. Sure a lot of really good music people come from California, New York and Texas, but those three states together couldn’t match what was coming out of the UK. The only thing that comes close is Nashville to the Country Music creative essence.

In one generation there was the Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zep, Cream and hundreds of others. How was it possible for one region of the world, or better yet, one rather small country to produce all this talent?

I wonder if the kids in the UK have more exposure to music at an early age. The term, “British Invasion” was used back in the 60s to describe the musical movement, but I think that was an understatement. It seems that most American music other than the Beach Boys was directly influenced by the Brits. Oddly a lot of their music was influenced by American Blues.

I wish a new musical invasion would happen. There just doesn’t seem to be anything that sounds new or even clever these days.

24 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

Hey, you forgot to mention Canada in your list of where some "really good music" people come from!
I think you're on to something as to kids in the UK having more exposure to music. Most of the (young) people I know from England are music fanatics.

5:17 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Let's see, Beth. I know this may hinder my future Canadian citizenship, but...Helen Ready, Gordon Lightfoot, Feist, KD Lange, Rush, Joni Mitchell. Aside from Joni, I'm not seeing any earth shaking talent there. Better stick with Canadian comedians.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Trop said...

Perhaps it was because for so long Americans were slaves to their radio affiliates, which, like ClearChannel now, pushes but a small sliver of music.

I'm so thankful for satellite radio (though its play lists seem to have narrowed) and especially the Internet for freeing us from commercial radio bondage.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

Guy, you forgot one of the best Canadian bands ever, Rush !

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us not over look the contribution of one Lonnie Donegan as an importin' exportin' man and MAJOR influence on every stinkin' one of those invasive Brits with his seemingly effortless ability to present American folk/race songs with a voice that could do no wrong.
Lately I've been listening to the CD 'Tennessee Pusher' by The Old Crow Medicine Show, and some wigged out Miles Davis from the 70's.

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_musicians

Moose

7:31 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trop, when I had satellite radio, I was left with a cold feeling like I was in an elevator.

Auntie, they were right there between KD Lange and Joni.

Anon, My sympathies on your Miles Davis addiction.

Moose, 10,000 names of unknown musicians that no one other than local Canadians have ever heard of. We have people in this county that would make an American list, but go over the county line and no one knows of them. Except Spud. He is in every band in Clatsop and Tillamook Counties, so he has a two county recognition thong going for him.

7:47 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I heard a quote once from a musician years ago (I can't remember for the life of me who said it, tho): "In America they formed a band because they had something to say. Everywhere else they formed a band because they were good musicians."

It made sense at the time.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again good info to read.
I know so little about music, my all time favorites are Elvis, Charley Pride, Buddy Holly, Steve Miller. I seldom listen to any other music, I have gone to a few concerts at the Liberty, they all were good.
I like the local shops who offer music, yet I haven't gone.
I hear all the time, music and laughter helps with positive energy.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What?????? You mean you've never heard of Neil Young and Crazy Horse...The Band...BTO...Steppenwolf...Heart...Tragically Hip...Doug and the Slugs...April Wine...and my personal favorites the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir and of course...who could forget...Lesbians on Ecstasy

Moose

10:01 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, good one!

Anon, British music in the 60s was pretty positive, and then in the 70s it became intellectual with folks like Byrne, Eno, Fripp...

Moose, I got bored with the list when I go to the J's. Whiney Neil Young, OK I'll give you that one. The Band, Levon got that Kentucky twang in Montreal? Sorry dude. BTO, though Gearhead will be pissed, I never met anyone who will admit to buying one of their albums. Steppenwolf, yeah, they were around for 10 minutes. The Wilson sisters I thought were from Oregon, and the rest have never been of. Sorry, but sometimes the Noofs don't make a splash down here.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this from a Zappa fan. I always wondered who the other fan was besides himself! Might as well be listening to the sounds of tintamarre.

Moose

1:58 PM  
Blogger richpix said...

Your posts have a way of bringing up memories for me. I spent my last 3 years of high school in Holland. While there I listened almost exclusively to pirate radio broadcast from ships in the North Sea, most often Radio Nordsee International and sometimes Radio Veronica They went through strife, bombings and attempted hijackings in addition to constant government hassles.

Back in the States I went for the alternative radio stations which often broke FCC rules and most eventually succumbed to commercialism and pressure from The Man. In other words, they weren't worth listening to any more.

3:16 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Moose, I forgot about the Hudson Bay Throat Singers. Don't even try to Zappa bait me. I'll come up there...

Rich, There was a pirate radio ship off the East Coast about 25 years ago. And let's not forget about Border Radio from Mexico where they always went far above the 50mgw limit that the FCC had in the States. A little trivia, that's where Wolfman Jack got his start.

6:16 PM  
Blogger g said...

i miss grunge.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

>>>BTO, though Gearhead will be pissed, I never met anyone who will admit to buying one of their albums.<<<

Good point Guy!
Now that you mention it, I don't think I have met very many people that have bought just one BTO album either. :-)
One thing is certain, those 24 MILLION albums went somewhere!
:-Q

12:04 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

g, I miss some of it. Man, did that ever fade out quickly.

Gearhead, 23.9 million of them are still for sale at Good Will stores across the country.

5:21 AM  
Anonymous CB said...

Spud ... so he has a two county recognition thong going for him.

Is that like a real wide wedgie of people?

2:58 PM  
Blogger g said...

i'm trying out some newer music and have take a liking to the following (to the point i would get the next albums)

The Shins
The Killers (i really like these guys)
Death Cab For Cutie
Interpol
Coldplay

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those long haired British homosexual art rockers that recorded all those 1970's limited pressings that you couldn't dance to listened to Lonnie Donegan too. But they did it under the influence of LNG.
Furthermore I don't care what anybody says Randy Bachman is a world class guitar player.

9:46 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

CB, I meant "Thing" I need an editor.

g I've heard most of them and they are really main stream, middle of the road, playing in the plaza of NBC Today Show so as not to frighten the mid-westerners kind of groups.

Anon, no need to sign in. I knew who was writing by word 5.

5:21 AM  
Blogger dalia said...

that's funny that beth said that a lot of talent comes out of canada, because can only think of two or three people worthy of the "talented" moniker.

so much hype over people like leonard cohen... please. how is he talented? HOW? someone explain this to me!

ggggggaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!


< / rant >

6:06 PM  
Blogger g said...

i forgot about "i kissed a girl"

kinda catchy, that tune.

7:30 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Dalia, I like him, though I can't explain why. I have noticed that each year his voice gets deeper to the point where it will soon only be detectable by elephant feet.

g, now you should stop listening you your kids' CDs and pick something a little more age appropriate. ; )

5:32 AM  

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