The British Invasion helped internationalize the production of rock and roll and played a major part in the rise of a distinct genre of rock music, and cemented the primacy of the rock group, based on guitars and drums and producing their own material as singer-songwriters. 60s rock included blues-rock, folk rock, psychedelic rock, and pop rock.
Early British rock musicians focused on the rockabilly of Bill Haley and His Comets, Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly. In many respects it was the breaking free of overt imitation of these musical references and the incorporation of direct influences from African American blues and R&B that laid the foundations for the development of a uniquely British rock and roll that took Britain by storm in 1962 and 1963, and came to the shores of the United States in 1964 and 1965.
The Beatles themselves were very nervous at the idea of America. John was worried because no British groups or singers had ever got through in America before. ...But all doubts were swept away the minute they saw Kennedy Airport when they landed at one thirty-five in the afternoon. More than 10,000 screaming teenagers were choking the airport. They were all singing "We Love You Beatles, Oh Yes We Do".
The impact of the British Invasion was felt in the United States not just in terms of songs from Britain that dominated the radio airwaves, or by American bands that had their musical styles, names, or visual images shaped by the British Invasion: the British Invasion played a significant role in establishing a new paradigm for how rock groups operated. ... The prototypical British Invasion band operated differently: it was self-contained, with the instrumentalists, singers, and songwriters all being part of the group.
For an event so crucial in the history of rock music, the British Invasion produced little of enduring worth. Out of it all, only the music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks have lasted; the Searchers, Herman's Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers and all the rest today seem quainter than doo-wop - curious relics of a consumers' fever that has long since palled.
The essence of the youth culture of the '60s was the legitimization of this adolescent vision of life as a river of change - undertaken first through rock 'n' roll and later through psychedelic drugs as well. ... While as a philosophical position this belief in instability is as old as the pre-Socratics, as an attitude driving popular culture it pushed to the surface for the first time in the early 1960s. Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin' " was the song that most explicitly and obviously named it.
In some way, the blues must have spoken to us, must have delivered some of their meanings to us. And I think this is why its basic structure of sound-created feelings was absorbed wholesale into so much '60s rock, not just through covers of blues classics by white bands but also through hundreds of original compositions that we didn't even know were blues songs - from Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35" to the Beatles' "Revolution."
By 1965 the 20-year-old [Eric] Clapton was already considered a legend for his playing with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He'd introduced blues to the masses, interpreting and updating what had been a largely unknown form for the rock generation. Simultaneously, his lush, Les Paul-driven tone marked the absolute turning point in the history of rock, transforming what had been a good-time twang instrument into a vehicle for profound expression.
Around 1966 B. B. King was discovered by the white rock audience, thanks to the efforts of such influential guitarists as Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton. ... He fathered a whole generation of 60s rock guitarists from Mike Bloomfield to Eric Clapton to Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix.
Progressive rock arrived between 1965 and 1970 and its gestation can be seen in the following features: the extension of rock songs into longer pieces; the linking of these pieces into song suites and concept albums; and the increased use of the studio as an integral part of the creative process of music-making, rather than being a mechanical and ancillary part of it. For critics and advocates alike, this combination of elements demonstrated not only the individual maturity of performers such as The Beatles in the mid-1960s but also the maturing of rock as a genre.
The birth of progressive rock is frequently traced back to the release of The Beatles' 1967 album, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', for a number of different reasons. The year 1967 was the high point of both psychedelic culture and the impact of the hippie experience on both sides of the Atlantic. More specifically, 'Sgt. Pepper' was the first rock release, arguably, to weave a concept through the song-cycle that encompasses a whole album, and to make the concept integral to the cover art.