Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Britain Rocks America- Again"

On January 23, 1984, Newsweek magazine featured a cover with Boy George and Annie Lennox, and a big article about the colorful wave of new British music groups which were invading America with help the help of the new cutting edge music channel, MTV. According to Newsweek:

"The British are coming -again. Twenty Years after the Beatles first appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan show,' conquering America. with their long hair, cheeky wit and pell mell rock and roll, a new wave of British bands is exciting a new generation of American fans."

Newsweek described the style of the new groups:

"Irony abounds. The mood is sardonic. Singers sometimes border on catatonic. And the look of the new  bands is something else again. Some of them sport clothes and haircuts that recall 'Brideshead Revisited.' Others evoke 'Blade Runner' or 'the Road warrior.' Still others recall Marlon Brando in 'The Wild One.' Lined up, they would form an improbable parade of ghouls, transvestites, bikers with spiked dog collars, mercenaries in battle fatigues, tie-dyed tramps and dapper young squires."
I think the description is a bit much, but it shows how mainstream culture viewed this colorful new, varied musical style, with its odd styles and quirky videos. But for many of us growing up at the time, its was all fun and exciting and new.

The article goes on to describe the American attraction to the new British musical invasion:

"America is welcoming the new wave with open arms -- and wallets. The extent of the new British beachhead was revealed on July 16, 1983, when 18 singles of British origin appeared in the American Top 40, eclipsing the previous record, set on June 19, 1965. Heading the list of last summer's top British groups was the Police. Close behind were other such familiar stars as David Bowie, the 37 year old godfather to many of the new British groups, and the Kinks, veterans of the first British invasion, enjoying their biggest hit in years. But the brightest names were Culture Club and Eurythmics - two new groups that continue to dominate American airwaves six months later. Culture Club is currently enjoying its fifth straight Top 40 single and Eurythmics has just released and striking new album, "Touch," that contains some of the strongest electronic pop yet. Meanwhile the bland but best selling Duran Duran, with its glamorous video clips, is preparing a North American tour that some insiders predict will be one of the top grosses of the spring season."

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