5 Underrated Bands From The British Invasion You Don’t Often See On Any List
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The musical landscape of the 1960s British Invasion, several iconic bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks achieved international acclaim, leaving an indelible mark on the music scene. However, amidst these legends, a handful of equally talented British bands remained overlooked in the United States. Let’s dive into the stories of these underrated musical treasures, highlighting their contributions to the era.
1. The Shadows
A band that often flies under the radar in discussions of the British Invasion is The Shadows. Originally the backing band for Cliff Richard, known as “the English Elvis,” they introduced a new sound characterized by the electric guitar, a pivotal instrument for many British beat groups. Even The Beatles admired their talent, showcasing the guitar’s potential as the defining texture of the era.
2. The Big Three
The Big Three, formed in 1959, were pioneers in the skiffle movement, an essential part of British folk roots. Brian Casser, a member of The Big Three, was once in a skiffle band with Bill Wyman from The Rolling Stones. Johnny Hutchinson, their drummer, was The Beatles’ initial choice before Ringo Starr. Their influence on the Beatles’ early sound remains significant, making them a noteworthy yet overlooked band of the era.
3. The Merseybeats
Originating from Liverpool, The Merseybeats quickly rose to prominence on the British charts in 1963. Although their records leaned towards pop, their rawer sound hinted at a deeper musical potential. Renaming themselves The Merseys, they released the classic “Sorrow,” later covered by David Bowie, showcasing their versatility and impact on the evolving British music scene.
4. The Pretty Things
Lead guitarist Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things began his musical journey as the bassist for The Rolling Stones. Their unique ability to transition from British beat to psychedelia set them apart. Their album S.F. Sorrow, considered one of the first rock operas, revealed their experimental side, influencing bands like The Who and paving the way for the concept album genre.
5. Chris Farlowe
Among the hidden gems of the British Invasion was Chris Farlowe, a soulful singer inspired by the legendary Lonnie Donegan. Farlowe’s distinctive voice, rich and reminiscent of African American blues, brought a unique depth to his Rolling Stones covers. Despite not gaining widespread recognition, he possessed a talent that could rival even Rod Stewart, making him a standout artist of his time.