The American Beatles | The Huffington Post
The American Beatles
This year there have been more events to celebrate the rock music of the 1960s than in any previous one, and it’s still only April. The Victoria & Albert’s You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 closed in March. This month San Francisco’s de Young Museum opened The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. And in May Capitol Records will promote the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with an extensive $125 box set.These celebrations have eclipsed an odd cultural trend from the same period: American rock bands of the sixties were so desperate to succeed in the wake of The Beatles, they discarded their natural identities to concoct ones that approximated The Beatles. It was daft, it was crazy, but there was a certain logic to it, and it worked.The sound of The Beatles and the other British artists—The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks, The Zombies—that followed them into the charts in 1964 was so appealing, many American teenagers felt that they had to assume similar, alien identities, whether or not they felt comfortable wearing long hair and risking being called a girl. The notion was emboldened after witnessing the effect the Beatles had on their fans in A Hard Day’s Night, and of the joy they exuded. This identity swap was made less difficult owing to British singers being so enamored of American rockers like Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers that they strove to sing like them.The first Beatles-like American group to have a hit were San Francisco’s The Beau Brummels, who named themselves after the 19th century English dandy. Their managers decked them out in suits and told people they were English. Their first single, “Laugh Laugh,” released in January 1965, became a Top Twenty hit. Their second record, “Just A Little,” made the Top Ten.