The Beatles were a game changer. Following their phenomenal success in 1963 every label and talent scout was out scouring the country for other bands. In 1962 guitar bands were dead. It was the time of Pop ballads. In 1963 the Beatles blew that notion out of the water and the charts were full of the Merseybeat sound – Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, the Searchers, Mojos, Fourmost, Freddy & the Dreamers and even Herman’s Hermits.
By 1964 they started to promote their discoveries.
Back in 1964 there were only two TV channels. The music market was restricted to a very restricted diet. We had Ready Steady Go, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Juke Box Jury – usually hosted by middle age squares. Only Ready Steady Go tried to reflect the excitement of the times with the sexy Cathy McGowan hosting and a live format that was chaotic but great. This was where the new bands were highlighted.
Radio was even worse. The Beeb were so dated and staid. They hardly played anything worth hearing. It was all patronising and safe. Tuning in to Radio Luxembourg, which faded in and out, we managed to hear some decent stuff.
But 1964/5 was a time of huge change. The country was shaken with a plethora of new bands featuring a harder R&B sound and a range of original songwriting that blew the old Tin Pan Alley songwriters away. This was the new sound; the kids music. This was the birth of the Mod era with new style, new attitude and a brash confidence.
It started with the Stones and then it seemed that every week there was a new band with a great new sound – The Who, Smallfaces, Them, Animals, Pretty Things, Downliners Sect, Yardbirds, Spencer Davies, Kinks, Hollies, Manfred Mann, Sorrows and hundreds of minor groups.
Every week seemed to produce another revelation. I thought it would go on forever. It didn’t. They established themselves and dominated the music scene for a year or two. This was the time when the great Rock Stars emerged – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ray Davies, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, Phil May, Dick Taylor, Steve Marriott, Eric Burdon, Alan Price, Stevie Winwood, Graham Nash, Keith Relf………….. I find it amazing to think that over fifty years later most of them are still around and going strong.
The next big change was to come in 1967 when the Underground exploded.
What an era to live through!
If you fancy reading some of my books on Rock Music try these: