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From WikiPedia: In the late 1950s, a flourishing culture of groups began to emerge, often out of the declining skiffle scene, in major urban centres in the UK like Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London. This was particularly true in Liverpool, where it has been estimated that there were around 350 different bands active, often playing ballrooms, concert halls and clubs. Beat bands were heavily influenced by American bands of the era, such as Buddy Holly and the Crickets (from which group the Beatles derived their name), as well as earlier British groups such as the Shadows. After the national success of the Beatles in Britain from 1962, a number of Liverpool performers were able to follow them into the charts, including Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Searchers. Among the most successful beat acts from Birmingham were the Spencer Davis Group and the Moody Blues. From London, the term Tottenham Sound was largely based around the Dave Clark Five, but other London bands that benefited from the beat boom of this era included the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and the Kinks. The first non-Liverpool, non-Brian Epstein-managed band to break through in the UK were Freddie and the Dreamers, who were based in Manchester, as were Herman's Hermits. The beat movement provided most of the groups responsible for the British Invasion of the American pop charts in the period after 1964, and furnished the model for many important developments in pop and rock music.
By the end of 1962, the British rock scene had started with beat groups like the Beatles drawing on a wide range of American influences including soul music, rhythm and blues and surf music. Initially, they reinterpreted standard American tunes, playing for dancers doing the twist, for example. These groups eventually infused their original rock compositions with increasingly complex musical ideas and a distinctive sound. In mid-1962 the Rolling Stones started as one of a number of groups increasingly showing blues influence, along with bands like the Animals and the Yardbirds. During 1963, the Beatles and other beat groups, such as the Searchers and the Hollies, achieved great popularity and commercial success in Britain itself.
British rock broke through to mainstream popularity in the United States in January 1964 with the success of the Beatles. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the band's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, starting the British Invasion of the American music charts. The song entered the chart on January 18, 1964, at No. 45 before it became the No. 1 single for 7 weeks and went on to last a total of 15 weeks in the chart. Their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show February 9 is considered a milestone in American pop culture. The broadcast drew an estimated 73 million viewers, at the time a record for an American television program. The Beatles went on to become the biggest selling rock band of all time and they were followed by numerous British bands.
During the next two years, Chad & Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, the Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, the Rolling Stones, the Troggs, and Donovan would have one or more No. 1 singles. Other acts that were part of the invasion included the Kinks and the Dave Clark Five. British Invasion acts also dominated the music charts at home in the United Kingdom.
The British Invasion helped internationalize the production of rock and roll, opening the door for subsequent British (and Irish) performers to achieve international success. In America it arguably spelled the end of instrumental surf music, vocal girl groups and (for a time) the teen idols, that had dominated the American charts in the late 1950s and 1960s. It dented the careers of established R&B acts like Fats Domino and Chubby Checker and even temporarily derailed the chart success of surviving rock and roll acts, including Elvis Presley. The British Invasion also 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.
In parallel with Beat music, in the late 1950s and early 1960s a British blues scene was developing recreating the sounds of American R&B and later particularly the sounds of bluesmen Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. It reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1960s, when it developed a distinctive and influential style dominated by electric guitar and made international stars of several proponents of the genre including the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin.
A number of these moved through blues rock to different forms of rock music and as a result British blues helped to form many of the subgenres of rock, including psychedelic rock and heavy metal music. Since then direct interest in the blues in Britain has declined, but many of the key performers have returned to it in recent years, new acts have emerged and there have been a renewed interest in the genre.
British psychedelia emerged during the mid-1960s, was influenced by psychedelic culture and attempted to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs. The movement drew on non-Western sources such as Indian music's ragas and sitars as well as studio effects and long instrumental passages and surreal lyrics. Established British artists such as Eric Burdon, the Who, Cream, Pink Floyd and the Beatles produced a number of highly psychedelic tunes during the decade. Many British psychedelia bands of the 1960s never published their music and only appeared in live concerts during that time.
The Kingston Trio, the Weavers, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Judy Collins, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Carolyn Hester, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Rush, Fred Neil, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian and Sylvia, Arlo Guthrie and several other performers were instrumental in launching the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s.
In the early part of the decade, Elvis Presley continued to score hits. For most of the 60s, Presley mostly released films. Presley decided to get away from films by 1969; his last #1 song on the charts was Suspicious Minds which was released in 1969.
By the 1960s, the scene that had developed out of the American folk music revival had grown to a major movement, utilizing traditional music and new compositions in a traditional style, usually on acoustic instruments. In America the genre was pioneered by figures such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and often identified with progressive or labour politics. In the early sixties figures such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez had come to the fore in this movement as singer-songwriters. Dylan had begun to reach a mainstream audience with hits including "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "Masters of War" (1963), which brought "protest songs" to a wider public, but, although beginning to influence each other, rock and folk music had remained largely separate genres, often with mutually exclusive audiences. Early attempts to combine elements of folk and rock included the Animals "House of the Rising Sun" (1964), which was the first commercially successful folk song to be recorded with rock and roll instrumentation. The folk rock movement is usually thought to have taken off with the Byrds' recording of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" which topped the charts in 1965. With members who had been part of the cafe-based folk scene in Los Angeles, the Byrds adopted rock instrumentation, including drums and 12-string Rickenbacker guitars, which became a major element in the sound of the genre. By the mid-'60s Bob Dylan took the lead in merging folk and rock, and in July '65, released Like a Rolling Stone, with a revolutionary rock sound, steeped in tawdry urban imagery, followed by an electric performance later that month at the Newport Folk Festival. Dylan plugged an entire generation into the milieu of the singer-songwriter, often writing from an urban point of view, with poetry punctuated by rock rhythms and electric power. By the mid to late '60s, bands and singer-songwriters began to proliferate the underground New York art/music scene.
The release of The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967, featuring singer-songwriter Lou Reed and German singer and collaborator Nico was described as "most prophetic rock album ever made" by Rolling Stone in 2003. Other New York City based singer-songwriters began to emerge, using the urban landscape as their canvass for lyrics in the confessional style of poets like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. In July, 1969, Newsweek magazine ran a feature story, "The Girls-Letting Go," describing the groundbreaking music of Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Lotti Golden and Melanie, as a new breed of female troubadour: "What is common to them are the personalized songs they write, like voyages of self discovery, brimming with keen observation and startling in the impact of their poetry." The work of these early New York based singer-songwriters, from Laura Nyro's New York Tendaberry (1969), to Lotti Golden's East Village diaries on Motor-Cycle her 1969 debut on Atlantic Records, has served as inspiration to generations of female singer-songwriters in the rock, folk and jazz traditions.Dylan's adoptation of electric instruments, much to the outrage of many folk purists, with his "Like a Rolling Stone" succeeded in creating a new genre. Folk rock particularly took off in California, where it led acts like the Mamas & the Papas and Crosby, Stills and Nash to move to electric instrumentation, and in New York, where it spawned singer-songwriters and performers including the Lovin' Spoonful and Simon and Garfunkel, with the latter's acoustic "The Sounds of Silence" being remixed with rock instruments to be the first of many hits.
Folk rock reached its peak of commercial popularity in the period 1967–68, before many acts moved off in a variety of directions, including Dylan and the Byrds, who began to develop country rock. However, the hybridization of folk and rock has been seen as having a major influence on the development of rock music, bringing in elements of psychedelia, and in particular, helping to develop the ideas of the singer-songwriter, the protest song and concepts of "authenticity".
Psychedelic music's LSD-inspired vibe began in the folk scene, with the New York-based Holy Modal Rounders using the term in their 1964 recording of "Hesitation Blues". The first group to advertise themselves as psychedelic rock were the 13th Floor Elevators from Texas, at the end of 1965; producing an album that made their direction clear, with The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators the following year.
Psychedelic rock particularly took off in California's emerging music scene as groups followed the Byrds from folk to folk rock from 1965. The Los Angeles-based group the Doors formed in 1965 after a chance meeting on Venice Beach. Although its charismatic lead singer Jim Morrison died in 1971, the band's popularity has endured to this day. The psychedelic life style had already developed in San Francisco since about 1964, and particularly prominent products of the scene were the Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, the Great Society and Jefferson Airplane.] The Byrds rapidly progressed from purely folk rock in 1966 with their single "Eight Miles High", widely taken[by whom?] to be a reference to drug use.
Psychedelic rock reached its apogee in the last years of the decade. In America the Summer of Love was prefaced by the Human Be-In event and reached its peak at the Monterey Pop Festival, the latter helping to make major American stars of Jimi Hendrix and the Who, whose single "I Can See for Miles" delved into psychedelic territory. Key recordings included Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow and the Doors' Strange Days. These trends climaxed in the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which saw performances by most of the major psychedelic acts, but by the end of the decade psychedelic rock was in retreat. The Jimi Hendrix Experience broke up before the end of the decade and many surviving acts moved away from psychedelia into more back-to-basics "roots rock", the wider experimentation of progressive rock, or riff laden heavy rock.