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The Britain Music of the 1960s


Music forms an integral part of any culture’s tradition and practices. In the 1960s, a new tradition in the music industry emerged in Liverpool and London that would transform Britain’s culture forever. The influence these two distinct regions provided the emergence of several bands and songs that became sensational outside the country. The time for such external popularity in the United States would become the British Invasion. While most of the bands of the time relied heavily on American templates, such a musical phenomenon succeeded due to young people’s determination to oppose the conservative traditions of the time and their desire to focus on the ongoing Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

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Bands from Liverpool

In Liverpool, a tradition of pop and classical music emerged in the 1950s that gave birth to different bands and artists who remain famous till this present day. During this period, Liverpool succeeded in developing a unique form of genre that was associated with numerous bands of the time (Mordden 35). This music type was known as Merseybeat or British beat. The name emerged due to the fact that most of the musicians lived near River Mersey (Whiticker 18). Historians acknowledge that American music influenced this genre. From the 1950s, many American musicians popularized the blues and rock and roll, thereby making them popular in different parts of Britain.

Young individuals of the time began to replicate such music practices and the trad jazz that had become common at the time. With the combination of the original British and the emerging American styles, the Merseybeat became a reality in Europe (Mordden 58). With the dominance of American musicians and hits in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s, very few artists managed to repeat their success. However, Cliff Richard attracted the attention of more listeners with his hits, such as “Living Doll of 1959”. Within several months, the Beatles became an instant sensation both in Europe and the United States. This band promoted backbeat that had become the unique rock and roll genre of Liverpool (Yudklin 29). Some of the famous songs associated with this band included “She Loves You” and “Love Me Do”.

The second band to have originated from Liverpool during the 1960s was the Gerry and the Pacemakers and it promoted the Merseybeat scene (Whiticker 28). The artists’ favorite genre borrowed a lot from the American pop music culture. However, they relied on guitar-guided harmonies, vocals, and 4/4 bars. This band went further to feature bass and rhythm guitars, drums, and backing vocals. Some of their famous hits that topped the UK Singles Chart during the 1960s included “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “I Like It” (Whiticker 34). They also produced the song “Ferry Cross the Mersey” to popularize the famous River Mersey.

The third band that followed in the footsteps of these famous groups was The Searchers. Having emerged as a skiffle group in 1959, the members worked tirelessly to learn the guitar and handle different voices, such as bass (Whiticker 61). Merseybeat beat was their favorite style and it borrowed a lot from American rock and roll. Some of the greatest hits included “Sugar and Spice” and “Sweets for My Sweet”. This band produced and recorded the two songs in 1961 (Yudklin 65). By 1964, most of their works had become admirable both in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Bands from London

In London, similar trends emerged whereby the majority of the emerging artists were keen to use unique American templates to produce their songs. From the 1960s, London witnessed an explosion of new bands that relied heavily on American rhythm-and-blues genres (Whiticker 34). The majority of the notable bands were common in basements and suburban regions and restaurants. Tunes and genres that revolved around rock and roll also became common during the time. This model began to replace the jazz culture that had dominated London for decades.

The Rolling Stones would emerge as a notable band or liable that promoted the rock template. Some of their famous songs that attracted the attention of rebellious young individuals in the United States included “Paint It Black” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. Additionally, this group considered the importance of assimilating diverse genres that supported their musical aims, such as reggae, dance, blues, folk, and rhythm and blues (R&B). The second band based in London during the 1960s was Pink Floyd that promoted the psychedelic pop genre. Some of the elements that emerged during the time included trippy effects, sitars, and fuzz guitars (Yudklin 82). This genre led to the production of inspirational and melodic songs that were capable of entertaining more people. The American rock genre was the primary American template the inspired this group to achieve its goals. Some of the greatest songs by this group included “Cymbaline” and “More Blues” of 1969.

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The Yardbirds was another London-based band that promoted the rock genre and borrowed the emerging American templates that had become common in Britain throughout the 1960s. Specifically, the members relied on rock and roll to produce songs that entertained many people in the United Kingdom and across the globe (Whiticker 87). Some of their famous hits associated with this band included “Over Under Sideways Down and “For Your Love.”

Personal Opinion

From the above analyses, it is evident that London and Liverpool were unique locales that transformed the music culture of Britain. The achievements of the identified bands resulted in a seminal contribution to American popular music through the famous British Invasion (Whiticker 92). From a personal opinion, I believe that music imitating American popular music from Great Britain became so popular because it challenged the existing traditions and conservative genres that existed in the United Kingdom. At the international level, this music remained entertaining since it merged different styles to deliver a new genre.

In the United States, many people were willing to associate with it since it captured their rebellious attitudes to the ongoing political events of the time, such as the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the ongoing Civil Rights Movement. After focusing on the nature of this remarkable phenomenon, it becomes quite clear that music can have a strong force to influence people’s cultural values and guide others to fight for equality (Yudklin 94). The famous British Invasion succeeded since it sought to oppose the traditions that were affecting the future of the world. The youth wanted to change the course of history and promote new thoughts that could take them closer to their goals.


The emergence of numerous bands from Liverpool and London in the 1960s as a result of the influential nature of American music culture. However, the dedication and willingness of some of these artists led to the famous British Invasion. More young people in Britain and the United States found the music inspirational since it resonated with the issues that were taking place in the world. Additionally, the musical phenomenon was a sign of resistance to the conservative ideas of the time, such as inequality and racism.


Mordden, Ethan. Open a New Window: The Broadway Musical in the 1960s. New York: St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2015.

Whiticker, Alan J. British Pop Invasion: How British Music Conquered The 1960s. Wahroonga: New Holland Publishers, 2019.

Yudklin, Jeremy. Music in Medieval Europe, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989.

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