1965, The British Invasion & The Coronavirus Pandemic

1965 was a great year for Rock and Roll.  The Beatles had begun the British Invasion the previous year, and groups like The Rolling Stones were joining the party. There were still some great American musicians, and groups like the Supremes, the Temptations, and the Byrds  changing the face of American music.

So, what was the best selling song of 1965…IN THE UNITED KINGDOM?  I’ll give you a spoiler alert…it was not an American song.  While The Beach Boys were always well thought of in the U.K., Help Me Rhonda, their top hit in 1965 was not that song!

Let’s look at their home grown music.  The top song in the United States in 1965 was Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. Alas, not the correct answer.  What about some other Stones songs from 1965…Get Off of My Cloud also hit number one during the year, but this is not what we are looking for.  Some other big U.K. groups with massive number one hits were Herman’s Hermits (Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter and I’m Henry the Eighth I Am), Freddie and the Dreamers (I’m Telling You Now), the Dave Clark Five (Over and Over), and Petula Clark (Downtown).   The last song had a young studio musician playing the guitar.  Jimmy Page eventually was part of the extended British Invasion with The Yardbirds, and founded his own group Led Zeppelin.

But no, none of those songs were the top seller in the U.K. in 1965.  Of course, I have been sandbagging by not going with a Beatles song, right?  After all, they had Eight Days a Week, Ticket to Ride, Help!, and Yesterday all topping the charts. Certainly one of those had to be the best seller! Right?

Nope.  The best selling record was by a group from Australia.  Surprisingly the song was not even their top song, chart wise, on Billboard.  This song only hit number 4 while their biggest hit, Georgy Girl, hit number 2 in 1966.  A greatly underrated song, I’ll Never Find Another You was the top selling record in the U.K. in 1965.  How could that happen?

Just as there was a British Invasion, the U.K. often also looked elsewhere for favorite songs.  The previous year, Roy Orbison ruled the U.K. chart with Pretty Woman. As I stated earlier, The Beach Boys always charted well. But with all of those great songs I listed, how could a group like The Seekers outsell all the others?

I think one of the points of this little trivia tidbit (courtesy of Dave Hoeffel and Sirius 60s on 6 Satellite Survey) is that the grass always seems greener on the other side.  Biblically, Luke 4:24 tells us “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” I think American musicians in the mid 60’s certainly felt that from the listening audience. I guess a little of that also happened in the U.K. In 1965.

I think we can use this lesson in our everyday life, especially with the challenges we have with the stay at home orders due to Covid 19. Sure, it looks nice to go out there, do stuff and be active.  People think that, “Those people running to the store are certainly better off than I am, and are MOST CERTAINLY happier than I am. I’m stuck here, can’t get out, and I am bored stiff!”

But, these are different times.  The story that just broke in my community was about a party of 25-50 people, held well after the 10 person guidelines were issued. Isn’t the need to party verses isolating at home the perfect example of the grass being greener over there?

So, we are being asked to stay home as much as possible.  Our lives are disrupted. What can we do?  For those of us over 60 (now referred to as high risk and/or the elderly), crack out some of those old albums and 45s if you still have a turntable and let’s reintroduce ourselves to the deeper cuts that we haven’t heard in 20, 30, 40 years. Take a favorite record and listen to the B side.  If you don’t have a turntable, you can find almost any song on YouTube. Watch a live (lip sync for sure if on American Bandstand) version and see the artists.  Those of us who lived through the 60s and 70s music scene know that nothing was better.  My kids even appreciate the music (I certainly did NOT appreciate my parents’ music).

Take some time to relax, enjoy some music, and pray for this pandemic to pass.  Stay home, wash your hands and rock and roll. Because if we get sick, we know our family will be lamenting that they, “…will never find another you.”

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