British Beat Groups of the 1960s

Book Review: Beat Merchants

August 1997

The Origins, History, Impact and Rock Legacy of the 1960s British Pop Groups. By Adam Clayson.

As the first Making Time book review we have picked Beat Merchants as it covers exactly the same area as this Web site. There is little argument that this was the decade when British music ruled the world. It wasn't just the Beatles and the Stones though. They may have been the spearhead but many other bands were in their wake, often producing highly original and innovative music. Nowadays, the influence of music from these years remains stringer than ever and is oft cited by today's young acts who may not even have been born when the Beatles split up. Many of the bands are still playing, other artists have successful solo careers and the launch of the CD has invigorated the market.

Beat Merchants is a detailed account of the rise of British music during the 1960s, tracing the origins of the bands and their evolution. While it covers the better-known bands, it also features the less well-known and those who went nowhere, but were keen anyway. There's more than Merseybeat. Learn about the Sheffield sound, the Birmingham sound and the inter-relationships of the bands. One notable omissions is the Prefab Four, the Rutles, who undoubtedly had a major influence on the era and spawned a number of copycat groups like the Beatles.

The book is a remarkable insight into the music scene during those important years. It shows the evolution from the early experiments with cheap guitars you had to persuade your payments to buy, through the formation of the first skiffle bands, to the first gigs, the record contract, the endless touring and the final split. Alan continues to follow the careers though, and we know what a lot of the artists are doing now. 

mp, July 1997



ISBN: 0-7137-2464-1

First published 1995 by Blandford.


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Last Updated: 31 July 1997

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