One of the most highly anticipated flights touched down 50 years ago this February and well, America has simply never been the same. With the arrival of Pan Am Flight 101 at New York’s then Idlewild Airport (which we all know now as JFK), the legendary Beatles took America by storm, thus beginning 50 years of not only the Beatles Invasion, but that of British rock and pop music, too.
From Paul McCartney and the boys to Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the Rolling Stones, and many more, these Brit rock and pop acts landed on American soil to the roar of excited teenagers and fearful parents. These stars would ultimately pave the way to another wave of British acts to topple our charts in the 1990s and 2000s, which of course included Oasis (we’re going to live forever, baby), Coldplay, and teen-pop sensation One Direction.
While many American artists can easily find success overseas, it’s not always easy to break out here in the states (just ask Aussie pop-tart Kylie Minogue or British singer Cheryl Cole). Yet, we’ve had a longstanding love affair with British pop music for a long time now and it doesn’t look like our taste in music is going to change anytime soon. And that’s not such a bad thing either, now is it?
Check out our slideshow of some of the most memorable bands that have invaded our radio stations and iPods over the years and tell us, were you ever a huge fan of British pop music? I mean, Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and “Candle in the Wind” pretty much did it for everyone back in the day, didn’t it? As they say, there’s only one King (well, living one at least!).
50 Years of the British Rock and Pop Invasion 1 of 11
The Beatles | 1960s 2 of 11
Nobody, and I mean nobody, will ever top the success of the Beatles. Back in the '60s and '70s my mother owned two records: one being from Tom Jones and the other from the Beatles. And she wasn't even crazy about music back then, too! The Beatles became widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania," but as their songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions.
The Rolling Stones | 1960s and ’70s 3 of 11
The Rolling Stones first entered the music world in London in 1962. They were in the vanguard of the British invasion of bands that became popular in the U.S. from 1964—1965 and an integral part of the counterculture of the 1960s. The Rolling Stones were also instrumental in making blues a major part of rock and roll and of changing the international focus of blues culture.
Pink Floyd | 1970s 4 of 11
Pink Floyd was an English rock band that achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Distinguished by their use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, and elaborate live shows, they are one of the most commercially successful and musically influential groups in the history of popular music.
Led Zeppelin | 1970s 5 of 11
True story: I had a friend in high school who was absolutely in LOVE with Led Zeppelin, even though it was thirty years after the peak of their fame. The band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The group's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues on their early albums, has drawn them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music.
Rod Stewart | 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s 6 of 11
Elton John | 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s 7 of 11
Duran Duran | 1980s 8 of 11
Duran Duran was one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the United States. Since the 1980s, they have placed 14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the Billboard Hot 100, and according to the Sunday Mercury, they have sold more than 100 million records.
Oasis | 1990s 9 of 11
If there are two things that define my heavy Anglophile lifestyle of the mid-1990s, it would be watching endless episodes of Absolutely Fabulous and being crazy in love with the band Oasis (even though I really never got into their whole "bad boy" image, but that was mostly for the British tabloids to obsess over, I guess). The band holds the Guinness World Record for being the most successful act in the UK between the years 1995 and 2005, spending 765 weeks in the Top 75 singles and albums charts. I've always dreamed of playing the guitar in the opening sequence of the song the same way the Gallagher brothers did.
The Spice Girls | 1990s 10 of 11
Oh, you guys. "Wannabe" was my theme song for 1996! The Spice Girls will forever hold a special place in my heart, along with Victoria Beckham and that wicked smirk of hers (and by "wicked" I say that as a good thing!). They have sold over 100 million records worldwide, making them the best-selling female group of all time, one of the best-selling pop groups of all time, and also making them the most successful British band since the Beatles.
Coldplay | 2000s 11 of 11
As I'm sure everyone knows, Chris Martin is more than just Gwyneth Paltrow's husband and Jay-Z's best friend. As the lead singer of Coldplay, Chris and his band have won a number of music awards throughout their career, including eight Brit Awards — winning Best British Group three times, five MTV Video Music Awards, and seven Grammy Awards — from 25 nominations. Coldplay have sold more than 60 million records worldwide. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s.
Photos via PacificCoastNews.com
Want more of Joanna’s pop culture ramblings? Follow her on Twitter!