The British Invasion: The History of British Rock

Britain’s early rockers were pallid American wannabes, stiff-upper-lip slaves to sounds they couldn’t really feel. In 1963, however, the cultural tide turned, and the sceptered isle suddenly became ground zero for a musical explosion, sending a torrent of imaginative young bands across the Atlantic. Containing 180 songs and a photo book, this gargantuan box (also available on nine individual CDs or cassettes) is a nearly definitive survey of the music — the enduring and the overlooked, as well as the rightly forgotten — that made England swing in the ’60s. Besides such usual suspects as the Hollies, Kinks, Zombies, Troggs, Tom Jones, and Donovan (but not, due to licensing problems, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Dave Clark Five, or Herman’s Hermits), The British Invasion unearths enough obscurities to satisfy even serious Anglophiles. The audio fidelity is revelatory, the track selection first-rate, and from the polite guitar pop of Merseybeat stars like Gerry & the Pacemakers to the crashing art-rock frenzy of the Creation, from Lulu’s wild Scottish soul to the nostalgic nonsense of ”Winchester Cathedral,” the songs continually evoke a time of boundless promise when magic came through an AM radio pressed against your ear. A+

The British Invasion: The History of British Rock
  • Music