The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, January 11, 2008

The British Beat Boom

1-11-08 British Beat Boom

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Manfred Mann, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Freddie & The Dreamers, The Dave Clark Five, The Searchers, The Kinks, The Honeycombs, The Tornados etc.

I grew up in a household with three of four kids being old enough to listen to and enjoy the British Beat Boom of the 1960’s. My sisters liked The Beatles and my brother liked The Rolling Stones. Being a bit younger than my siblings – my real introduction to “rock music” came a bit later with artists like The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. But I certainly heard (and saw) the first proponents of the original British Beat Boom.

I think a lot of these British Beat artists made very, very good singles – “It’s Gonna Be Alright” by Gerry & The Pacemakers, “5-4-3-2-1” by Manfred Mann…even “I’m Telling You Now” by Freddie & The Dreamersgreat singles all. I believe that the reason The Beatles rose to the top was because the albums that they made to go with their singles were very much better-than-average albums, even being albums that were a combination of cover versions and original songs.

So, it took me a few years to really hear nearly all of the LP’s associated with the British Beat Boom – I was able to find British (or Kiwi) original LP’s when I visited New Zealand in the 80’s – I had endless amounts of LP’s of this nature – Peter & Gordon, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Sorrows etc. These three artists in particular – good to great singles, patchy albums.

I really hit my stride with artists like The Graham Bond Organization, where two of Cream’s three members came from. I couldn’t believe how good the two GBO LP’s on EMI-Columbia were (“The Sound of ‘65” and “There’s A Bond Between Us”). I mean, there’s even a mellotron on “There’s A Bond Between Us” – in 1965!!!

Nearly forty years on – I finally heard the British jazz albums of the 1960’s – records like “Dusk Fire” by The Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet and “Black Marigolds” by Michael Garrick et al. England in the 60’s was really swingin’!

So – what are your favorite British 60’s records? Do you like The Beatles – or do you favor the psychedelic experience of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown? I will always be partial to the ‘class of ‘68’ = Procol Harum, Traffic, Family…but I remain a huge fan of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!

I even love British 60’s comedy records – from artists like Spike Milligan, Bernard Cribbins, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore etc.

And I love British 60’s films too – “The Knack (And How To Get It)”, “Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment”, “Bedazzled”…I can’t tell you how many of these kind of films I sat through when I was too young to get all of the jokes…


Blogger Brian Ware said...

My most cherished musical memories of the sixties would still be driven more by the one hit wonders - "Western Union", "Bend Me Shape Me","I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night", "Lies"," Incense and Peppermints", "Journey To The Center Of The Mind", "Time Has Come Today" etc. A highlight of last year was finally finding "The Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers on iTunes. It suddenly appeared as a stand alone single. Why? Because it was recently used in a Target commercial... hey, just glad to have it.

Of course my LP purchases were everything Beatles but not any of the other original British Beat groups. I was seriously into The Monkees as well. I still enjoy those early records. I wasn't a rabid Stones fan, but I remember I playing "Tommy" to death. Same with "Disraeli Gears". I remember digging Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" as well as "Shades Of Deep Purple". Got a little trippy with "In A Gadda Da Vida" and yes "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown"!!

Those were the days my friend...

5:56 PM  
Blogger DaViDz said...

When the 60's boom was going on, if it wasn't on AM radio, I didn't really know about it. I do have singles of "Fire" by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, "Sunshine Superman" and a bunch of others. I did love The Beatles (How could I not? Their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was on my 7th birthday!). I have the first two Herman's Hermits LPs on MGM. I liked Peter & Gordon a lot. but back then was when my love of a good 3 minute single developed. "I'm Into Something Good"! "Glad All Over"! "Needles And Pins"! I liked "Those Were The Days"..It made me sad but back then, couldn't quite figure out why. (I didn't develop my finely honed sense of nostalgia until much later!) My serious music exploration didn't really come into full bloom until '72 or so, so when I discovered Traffic it was because of "John Barleycorn". I discovered a lot of Island acts from a copy of "Bumpers" I found at a record store. I could go on.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...


Glad to hear you got a double LP of "Bumpers"! I love those Island UK sampler LP's!


I heartily agree on "one hit wonders" - just love 'em. Great stuff!

- RK

7:45 AM  

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