The so-called British Invasion began in December of 1962 when a song called “Telstar” performed by a British rock ‘n roll group called The Tornados, reached the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It was a time in Britain when soon-to-be famous rock groups were emerging from the shadows and releasing songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles, “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals, and “Wild Thing: by The Troggs. These songs and a host of ones like them from England made their way across the pond and became hits on the American airwaves. Groups like The Rolling Stones – one of the most famous of all British bands – The Bee Gees, The Kinks, Moody Blues, and The Who, were just a few of the bands to put out a steady stream of hits.
One of the key moments in the British Invasion was on February 9, 1964 when the Beatles were introduced on The Ed Sullivan Show. Within a month the Beatles held not just the number one spot on the charts, but all 5 top positions on the Billboard Hot 100, the U.S. music charts. The Beatles dominated the Invasion. One of the key factors that made the band so successful was adapting songs to the changing demand of the public. The 1960s were a time of change, a revolution of sorts, and “Beatlemania” was at the front lines. By 1964, the Beatles had conquered the US record market – the largest in the world. President John F. Kennedy had just died and the Beatles helped end the mourning by providing fun and excitement. An important success factor for the Beatles was their manager, Brian Epstein. When he died in 1967, the band began to decline. Within two years the Beatles had disbanded.
The only real competition in the US to the British bands was Motown. The Beach Boys, another competitor, had a sound similar to British rock ‘n roll. The British Invasion began to fade with the 1970s. But the influence on society was felt in fashion, cultural films, art, and the development of a counterculture whose effects are still experienced today.