British Invasionrock and roll performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States in 1964 and the years immediately afterward.
Following the successful export of Elvis Presley and other rock 'n' roll acts in the late 1950s, kids formed bands all over Britain to emulate their American heroes. While some, like Cliff Richard and The Shadows, saw great success in the UK, very few British acts had hits on the USA record charts (exceptions included The Tornados, with "Telstar" and Mr. Acker Bilk with "Stranger on the Shore", both instrumentals that made #1 on the charts) until Capitol records released The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" late in 1963 with a huge public relations campaign.
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" zoomed to the top of the USA charts just as The Beatles came to America for the first time; their historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show the night of February 9, 1964, watched by what was then the largest television audience in history, usually marks the start of the British Invasion.
The Beatles quickly came to dominate the charts, and on April 4 of that year they occupied the top five spots on the Billboard magazine Hot 100 music survey, a feat unmatched before or since. Their success opened the floodgates for other British acts to market their music in the United States, including the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and many others.
A period known as the Second British Invasion began in 1983 and peaked in 1986. Largely spawned by MTV, which brought to the attention of American audiences various British acts, such as The Fixx, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and others, British acts came to dominate American charts to an even greater degree than in the first British invasion. See New Wave.
First British Invasion artists