Thursday, February 20, 2014

British Invasion

Lately, I have been into rediscovering music, esp, early rock bands. It all started when I listened to a really old version of 'We will rock you', got curious and ended up finding a treasure trove of music. Interestingly, after Queen (the "owners" of the track 'we will rock you'), I got hooked to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and more. And guess what, I realized that all these great rock bands were of British origin! And that's when I read about what is called British Invasion.



(artwork by me. Do not reproduce without permission)


Here's a snippet about all the great British bands that histroy has gifted us, mere mortals,with.

1. Queen: Listen to Bohemian Rhapsody and the song will play in your head at least for a month! What is more interesting for me, is the fact that Freddie Mercury, aka, Faruk Bulsara is originally from India. According to Wikipedia, he was inspired by Lata Mangeshkar! :) Although, the way he died is pretty tragic, given he was a rock legend with a great persona. Well, enough about the man and more about the band and it's music.
(photo credit: http://www.theriffrepeater.com/queen-and-green-day-will-be-coming-to-rocksmtih-2014/)

 It is said that to create something as great as Bohemian Rhapsody (which was one of the costliest tracks at the time), they had to actually cut tapes and join them together to give an awesome effect (which is called Splicing). More legendary tracks of Queen include We are the Champions (which has become an anthem over the years), Radio Ga Ga (which, apparently inspired Stefanie Germanotta to call herself Lady Gaga!), The March of the Black Queen, Seven Seas of Rhye and the list goes endless.

(photo credit: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/q/queen/)

2. The Beatles: I am so hooked to this legendary band these days that I have been watching so many documentaries on them. Each of the Beatles has had an interesting story to tell (except for Ringo, of course!). Look at John Lennon, whose wife, Yoko Ono who people love to hate because she allegedly, was responsible for breaking up the band! He wrote wonderful songs, made controversial statements ("more popular than Jesus" comment), married Yoko, fought for peace, lived a "lost weekend", and then got killed by an insane fan! Oh wait, I could write a whole new post about the lives of the Beatles! 
(photo credit: http://webodysseum.com/art/beatles-abbey-road-on-08-august-1969/)

They have given so many hits over the years and their music is still very relevant today. The Fathers of Rock and Roll have given the mankind such hits like Don't let me down, Yellow Submarine, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Guitar gently weeps, Love me do, I feel fine, She loves you and more. I think all of us should have a greatest hits DVD of the Beatles so that we don't miss out on miracles that music has to give us! [here is a picture of the original line up of the band with drummer Pete Best]

 (photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/the-beatles/9695499/Rejected-Beatles-audition-tape-discovered.html)

3. The Bee Gees: Who would not have listened to Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees! Watch John Travolta walkin-dancin to this track in Saturday Night Fever. This was a group that made more noise with the beautiful songs they gave rather than the lives they led. Agreed, this is definitely not a rock band! (duh! I know that), but I would still want to consider them in my list of the British Invasion because,this post is not really about the literal British Invasion, but about how British musicians have basically been the back bone of any kind of music! So, rock fans take no offence (I remember having read about an incident about something called Disco Demolition, where rock and roll fans tried to do just that, "demolish" disco. That was a pretty disturbing unfortunate incident. More here).

(photo credit: http://www.ukmix.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=98781)

Coming back to the Bee Gees, it consisted of three brothers, Maurice, Barry and Robin Gibb, (although, the original line up had 2 more members) who all sang in falsetto! Their Disco wonderfulness includes More than a Woman, You should be dancing, I have got a message for you and others. 


(photo credit: http://abcnews.go.com/topics/entertainment/music/bee-gees.htm?mediatype=Image)

3. The others: The other bands that have been responsible for Brisith Invasion includes the Who, Led Zeppelin and the Kinks along with the Animals (I recommend you to listen to this beautiful track called the House of the Rising Sun by this band), the Zombies ('She is not there' by this band is a legend of its own), Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler's Dire Straits were the real "sultans of swing"), Def Leppard (the legendary Rick Allen played drums with one hand after losing an arm in an unfortunate accident :( ) and some more.


(photo credit: http://00individual.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/the-who-early-1970s/)

 Given, I am yet to listen to more from these bands, I would want to quote an interesting piece of rock band history that happened to the Who. When they were playing at the Cow Palace in 1973, the drummer Keith Moon passed out and a fan called Scot Halpin filled in for him. The Rolling Stones magazine recognised him for this act and presented him with an award. You can read more about it here.
LED ZEPPELIN (Photo credit:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/6830233/Led-Zeppelin-dismissed-as-derivative-by-BBC.html)

I will be back with more on this subject in a while. For now, this is it, as there is more soul searching to do...
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