Studying the members of BRITISH ROCK music I constantly read stories whereby as children the likes of ERIC CLAPTON, members of  THE WHO,THE BEATLES, etc were confronted with the harsh reality of growing up either during or immediately after WORLD WAR II.Great Britain survived the war, victorious but bankrupt. The Empire would never be the same as WWII and its aftermath transformed Great Britain into something completely different and something very new. London especially, for it was bombed out during the onslaught of the German BLITZKRIEG (Lightning War). September 7,1940 was DAY ONE, the first night of 57 consecutive nights of bombings over the city of London. Three hundred (300) German bombers dropped 337 tons of explosives on the first night and as the fires spread throughout the city 448 civilians were killed.  Terror was the weapon of choice employed by the Germans.

The British government imposed mandatory blackouts, therefore all television broadcasts were banned during the evening.Radio once again was in the forefront as the cheap alternative for entertainment. It was during this time that many more British radio listeners became familiar with American music.

We ,The Brits and The Yanks have a common language, had a common cause being allies during the war. Post War England had exposure to our soldiers and sailors and LIVERPOOL a port city found many US Navy men along with the American records they carried.


On British radio Traditional Jazz (Trad jazz )with its influences coming from boogie-woogie and the blues was very popular as was SKIFFLE ,especially Lonnie Donegan who rehashed American Folk tunes and was an inspiration to so many British youths, “Hey,I can do that”.

BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955) and ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (1955) two movies that showed teen rebellion set a post war generation off on a different path than their parents took to adulthood. During the late 50’s and early 60’s the radio was playing “new music” ,#1 hits mostly describing teenage desires.  ELVIS, LIL RICHARD, BUDDY HOLLY, etc were heard on the radio and seen on many teen oriented tv shows especially OH BOY! . This show in particular promoted rock n roll. JACK GOOD its producer would later will be part of (American TV) ABC’s SHINDIG.

Homegrown BRIT HITS: August 1958: CLIFF RICHARD and THE SHADOWS with an original written by guitarist IAN SAMWELL, inspired by CHUCK BERRY,  “Move It”  is #2 on the UK charts.

1960: JOHNNY KIDD and THE PIRATES “Shakin’ All Over” is #1 in UK , this being a self penned tune by (Frederick Heath) JOHNNY KIDD and today it is a RnR standard.

1960: The British Blues scene develops with ALEXIS KORNER and CYRIL DAVIES, those artists influenced by MUDDY WATERS, HOWLIN’ WOLF, and ROBERT JOHNSON. And 1960’s  we find the arrival of Beat Music.

This new RnR  as seen in the movies and television, as heard on the radio, influenced the teens in lifestyle choices, fashion, attitudes, cars, motorcycles,and a distinct language of their own.

But what was so cool about the US to the Brit kids?

In America late 1940’s we had RnB, Blues, Jump Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Western Swing, Country (and Western). Bands had members rocking out on piano, sax, electric guitar, and an electric bass. Southern urban centers  like Memphis, Nashville, Etc. became hot beds for music. Northern migration trends brought musicians from the south to the cities of Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, each city within close proximity of the other. However, radio was mainly narrow, that is, race music was played on traditional black stations. Later, there was a hybrid of styles.

See you next time….Chapter13: A CHANGE IS GONNA COME (1965) Comments?