Hi everyone, this week we’re kicking off a month long look, at the first British Invasion, the musical era that ran roughly from February of 1964, with The Beatles first appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, through the end of May 1967.
The release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on June 1, 1967, ushered in the second, late sixties, British Invasion which can be said to have roughly ended when The Beatles disbanded in 1970. We’ll offer listener’s advisory suggestions of the music of the second British Invasion in July. In June, we’ll cover the American music that was influenced by, and came just after, that first British Invasion.
And in an attempt to streamline these weekly music postings, henceforth, the first section will include links to artists/group biographies found on the AllMusic site and not typed up brief bios.
And I love that word, henceforth, what a great word!
But I digress; I’ll get off my love of language soap-box now and back to our music posting of the week!
Now each weekly recommended music posting will feature the following sections:
I. Links to AllMusic Biographies of the Artists/Groups of the Week
II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week (streaming music)
III. CD Recommendations Of The Week
IV. Videos Of The Artists/Groups Of The Week
VI. Wild Card Print Book Recommendation Of The Week
And this week we’ll check out the music of three of the first British Invasion groups to hold sway over the American music scene of the early sixties: The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Searchers.
I. Links to AllMusic Biographies of the Artists/Groups of the Week:
The Beatles AllMusic Biography, written by Richie Unterberger:
The Gerry and The Pacemakers AllMusic Biography, also written by Richie Unterberger:
The Searchers AllMusic Biography, written by Bruce Eder:
II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week (streaming music):
August 65’ Press Conference from the album Rock N’ Roll Of The ’60s:
I suspect I don’t need to say anything more about The Beatles, then that the band consisted of John, Paul, George and Ringo, so that is all I’m going to say!
If you don’t know much about The Beatles and would like to know more – drop by the library — we’ve got books on the band! And as far as their music goes, as The Beatles are one of the most critically acclaimed, most popular and bestselling bands of all time – you really can’t go wrong listening to any of their studio albums.
Unfortunately, the Freegal Music Catalog doesn’t contain any studio albums by The Beatles – so I’ll offer links to request all/any of the Beatles albums in the CD Recommendations Section:
And even though The Freegal Music Catalog doesn’t contain any Beatles studio albums, it does contain several audio interviews with the band. And I selected one of their press conferences from 1965 to recommend as it is easier to hear what the band members are saying in this recording than it is in others that feature the sounds of screaming fans in the background.
One little note, about the album this press conference comes from — it is titled Rock N’ Roll Of The ’60s and I recommend you listen to the fourteen minute Beatles press conference and ignore the rest of the album! Truly, because all the songs featured on the LP are re-recordings by the original artists and, to say the least, those re-recorded tunes cannot hold a candle to the original songs.
Having said that, here’s a link to the August 65′ Beatles press conference:
Gerry & The Pacemakers:
Super Hits Live!
Gerry & The Pacemakers, like The Beatles, hailed from Liverpool, England. The original group featured lead singer-songwriter and guitarist Gerry Marsden, Gerry’s brother, Freddie Marsden on drums, John Chadwick on bass and Leslie Maguire on piano.
The Freegal Music Catalog does not contain any of the original sixties recordings by Gerry & The Pacemakers.
However, the catalog does contain a solidly listenable album by the band titled Super Hits Live! This LP features Gerry Marsden singing and playing with a later group of Pacemakers. The album offers a glimpse into the classic sound of the band. And despite the title, the three big hits it contains: Ferry Cross The Mersey, How Do You Do It? and I’m The One were actually recorded in the studio. The other songs were indeed, recorded live. And these newer recordings all feature a slightly older Marsden singing with a smoother, more mature sounding voice, that rather reminds me of the difference between the two versions of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do that Neil Sedaka recorded — the earlier version has the upbeat energy you’d expect of a young singer new to recording to have, and the second version is a ballad that is sung with a smoother depth, as if the singer has been around the block a few more times before he re-recorded the song.
And as with The Beatles, if you’d like to hear the original recordings of the band I recommend you skip down to the CD Recommendations section and place a request for the CD The Very Best of Gerry & The Pacemakers.
And here’s the link to stream Super Hits Live!:
Needles and Pins:
The Searchers, like The Beatles & Gerry & The Pacemakers were from Liverpool, England and were a part of the Merseybeat scene that evolved there in the early sixties. The band featured John McNally and Mike Pender on guitars and vocals, Chris Curtis on drums and Tony Jackson on bass. The Searchers were another of the first wave of British Invasion groups that became popular in the U. S. in the early sixties and their hits included: Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away, When You Walk In The Room and the smash hit Love Potion No. 9.
This collection features 30 of the songs they recorded for Pye Records between 1963 and 1969 – and contains almost all of their hits, sans their cool version of Sugar And Spice. And the original un-re-recorded version of Sugar And Spice doesn’t appear to be available in the Freegal Music Catalog; however, it is available on the Searchers Greatest Hits album listed in the CD Recommendations section.
Here’s a link to stream the excellent Searchers Needles and Pins collection:
III. CD Music Recommendations Of The Week
You can request all the Beatles albums through StarCat.
Following is a list of the original British releases.
The Early Albums:
Please Please Me (1963):
With The Beatles (1963):
A Hard Day’s Night (1964):
And we also have the movie A Hard Day’s Night on DVD:
Beatles For Sale (1964):
In doing the research for this posting, I discovered our copy of this album is assumed lost, which means it was checked out more than three months ago and has not been returned, a replacement copy has been ordered and it will appear in the StarCat soon.
The Middle Years Albums:
The movie Help! is available too:
Rubber Soul (1965)
The Later Albums:
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
The Beatles (The White Album) (1968)
Yellow Submarine (1969):
Also found in our collection is the movie Yellow Submarine:
Abbey Road (1969):
Let It Be (1970):
And the documentary/movie Let It Be is available too:
Bonus Beatles Songbook Recommendations!
Also of note, the library owns several Beatles song books and I’m listing a few of them them here in case you’d like to play along with the songs on some of their albums!
The Beatles: The First Four Albums: (Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night & Beatles For Sale)
The Beatles: The Next Three Albums (Help! Rubber Soul & Revolver):
Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road & Let It Be:
And now, without further ado, back to the suggested CDs of the week!
Gerry & The Pacemakers:
Very Best of Gerry & The Pacemakers:
A CD version of the Very Best of Gerry & The Pacemakers CD is about to be added to our collection!
This CD brings together all the ‘A’ sides from Gerry’s EMI singles from 1963 to 1966plus a selection of other recordings from the mid-Sixties and seven titles that showcase Gerry Marsden’s talents as a songwriter. It’s an infectious, good-humoured sound, a fitting reminder of one of Liverpool’s finest talents and greatest bands. The set includes 27 songs and all of the band’s most popular songs including: Ferry Cross The Mersey, You’ll Never Walk Alone, How Do You Do It? I Like It, Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying and I’m The One. — Description from the record label.
I’ll update this posting to include the request link for the album as soon as it is listed in StarCat.
And in the meantime if you’d like to request the CD, when it becomes available – you can send an email request to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
British Invasion: Gerry & The Pacemakers –
It’s Gonna Be All Right, 1963-1965:
With the exception of the Beatles themselves, no other group dominated the early years of the British Invasion like Gerry & The Pacemakers. They were the first artists to have their first three singles top the British charts, and many of their songs are now beloved classics. Gerry & The Pacemakers: It’s Gonna Be All Right 1963-1965 features 17 complete songs filmed between 1963 and 1965 and is the group’s first official DVD release. Included are the classic ‘How Do You Do It’, ‘I Like It’ and ‘I’m The One’, timeless masterpieces ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ and ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ In between the performances Gerry Marsden talks about the songs and tells the band s history in a new interview filmed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool exclusively for the DVD. Also telling the story is Bill Harry, the founder of the original Mersey Beat newspaper in Liverpool that reported the birth of British rock as it was happening. The DVD bonus section includes a new solo rendition of ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ filmed at the Cavern Club as well as a history of Liverpool’s Mersey Beat scene as told by Bill Harry. Description from the publisher.
Here’s a link to request the British Invasion: Gerry & The Pacemakers DVD:
The Searcher’s Greatest Hits is an older, but excellent, collection put out by the great oldies label Rhino Records. This 18 song set features all the Searchers hits and most of their best songs including: Sweets for My Sweet, Love Potion No. 9, Sugar and Spice, Needles and Pins, Don’t Throw Your Love Away and When You Walk in the Room.
Here’s a link to request Searchers Greatest Hits CD:
IV. Videos Of The Artists/Groups Of The Week:
The Early Years:
I Wanna Hold Your Hand: The Beatles as they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964:
Twist & Shout: From their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 23, 1964:
And one last video from their early years – the opening scene and a bit more from the film A Hard Day’s Night which gives those of us who came of age after the sixties a little taste of what Beatlemania was like:
The Middle Years:
Help! Recorded for British TV in 1965:
Rock N’ Roll Music, Baby’s In Black, I Feel Fine, Yesterday, Nowhere Man and I’m Down recorded before a studio audience in Germany in 1966:
The Later Years:
Get Back from the famous Rooftop Gig the band played in 1969:
Gerry & The Pacemakers:
Ferry Cross The Mersey – from the TV show Top of The Pops:
How Do You Do It?
Needles & Pins from The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964:
Love Potion No, 9
Bonus First British Invasion Videos:
And by the way, YouTube has hundreds if not thousands of videos by British Invasions artists/groups – you could spend all day watching them!
Here are just a few of the video gems I found while doing research for this posting:
A Summer Song by Chad & Jeremy as introduced by Dick Clark
Just One Look by The Hollies
Bits & Pieces by The Dave Clark Five
Here Comes My Baby by the Tremeloes
V. Wild Card Music Book Recommendation Of The Week
This is indeed a graphic novel style biography of the legendary Blues guitarist who, the myth says, sold his soul to the devil to be able to play incredible blues. This is a cool read!
From ‘Crossroads Blues’ to ‘Sweet Home Chicago’, ‘Hellhound on My Trail’ to ‘Come On In My Kitchen’, Robert Johnson wrote some of the most enduring and formative songs of the original blues era, songs that would go on to help shape the birth of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s. Beloved of Clapton, Dylan and the Stones, Robert Johnson remains one of the most iconic and mythologized figures in popular music (and the first of many to die at the age of 27). Born in the in the South in Mississippi, Johnson made his way to the urban North as a traveling musician, but it was only when he returned to the South that he recorded the twenty-nine songs, in two sessions, which would create his legacy.
Exploring the stories and legends that surround his life and death — his childhood, his womanizing, his pact with the devil at the crossroads — Mezzo and DuPont have produced a fittingly creative and beautiful depiction of this most extraordinary life. — from the publisher
Here’s a link to request the book:
VI. Print References:
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn (Billboard Books. New York. 2009.)
Sixties Rock: A Listener’s Guide by Robert Santelli (Contemporary Books. Chicago. 1985.)
The Beatles (official website)
The Beatles AllMusic Discography, written by Richie Unterberger
George Harrison, ‘Quiet Beatle’ And Lead Guitarist, Dies at 58, written by Allan Koxinn published in The New York Times December 1, 2001.
Gerry & the Pacemakers AllMusic Discography, written by Richie Unterberger
John Lennon Bio – Rolling Stone
Needles and Pins Album Review & Searchers Biography – iTunes
The Searchers AllMusic Discography, written by Bruce Eder
Have a great day!
P.S. If you have any questions about how to download or stream free music through the Freegal Music service to a desktop or laptop computer or how to download and use the Freegal Music app let us know! Drop by the library or give us a call at: 607-936-3713.
*You must have a library card at a Southern Tier Library System member library to enjoy the Freegal Music Service. Your card can be from any library in the system, and the system includes all public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegheny Counties and including our own Southeast Steuben Count Library in Corning, New York. Library cards are free and at our library you can obtain one by visiting the Circulation Desk and presenting staff with a form of ID that features both your name and your current address.