Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Other British Invasion

Today marks the 250th anniversary of the French capitulation to British troops in Montreal. We won't be seeing any Union Jack flying about, (we barely see any Canadian ones).

Capitulation of Montreal
Unlike the fall of Québec City the previous year, there was no battle. France didn't send troops to help the colonists so the surrender was accomplished without gunfire.  New France ended with a whimper, not a bang.
Louis XV evidently preferred sugar from the West Indies to maple syrup.  Not accounting for taste.

This post, however, is about the other British invasion.  The one of 1964. Where parents surrendered their teenagers to an army of mop topped musicians. I was just entering my teens when Beatlemania hit the airwaves and all things British were instantly "fab!".

I was barely keeping up with all the revolutionary dance crazes: The Fly, The Hully Gully, The Peppermint Twist, the Mash Potato.  Now I had to grow my hair (fast), find me some Beatles boots, Pea jacket and John Lennon cap - and adopt an English accent.  You could be ugly as a hat full of arseholes but say something in Liverpudlian and you have a seat at the cool cafeteria table.

Like the rest of the world, Moncton was immersed in all things British. Eaton's carried the latest Carnaby Street Fashions, British flags were everywhere. Even our TV Dance Show host; The Little General was sporting a very thin version of a Beatle - do.

People picked their favourite Beatle. I was a Paul guy (of course). My cool friends claimed John as the true artist.  My older brother liked George.  I couldn't remember anyone else preferring George but then again, he was very much into guitars at the time.

It was an exciting time to be a teen.  The music, the fashion and the rebellion gave us a feeling of solidarity.  Lining up around the block to see "A Hard Day's Night" at the Capital Theatre was a bonding experience.

I remember seeing the T.A.M.I (Teen Age Music International.) show at the Paramount.  It was one of the first filmed concerts and the first to market itself to teens. The movie featured The Supremes, Rolling Stones, a stunning and scary (for me) performance by James Brown, Gerry & the Pacemakers and dancers! (A very young Toni Basil was assistant choreographer)  It was our movie, our music.

When I listen to those songs today, I appreciate their artistry and bask in the nostalgia for a time when all seemed possible.  Even perhaps being Mrs. Paul McCartney one day.

Here are a couple of my favourite songs from the period.  (I excluded The Beatles because it's impossible to list them all. But if you want to check out a fab Beatles video site click here.)

The Hollies -Look Through Any Window

Hermans Hermits - Mrs. Brown you've got a lovely daughter 1965

What are your favourite British Invasion songs?

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