Of course I can still thrill to a remastered “She Loves You” as much as the next boomer, and glimpsing out-takes of Hendrix backstage with Keith inside that Get Yer Ya-Ya’s anniversary bundle will always raise a grin or two. But surely, surely there must have been something going on during those scant weeks between 1963 and 1969 when Lennon, McCartney, Jagger and/or Richard(s) compositions weren’t sitting atop the world’s hit parades.
Well, finally, someone – namely those utterly fab folk over at Reelin’ In The Years – have seen fit to shed light upon some of the other mop-tops whose sounds and styles filled our six-transistors and Sunday evening Ed Sullivan shows. Yes, the first four editions of what’s promised to be an entire British Invasion series of DVD’s are, you bet, here at last, spotlighting Dusty Springfield, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Small Faces.
Wherever to start then? How about Gerry Marsden fondly recalling the very birth of the Liverpool Sound in the kind of detailed – sometimes most candidly so – way no Beatles Anthology would ever dare to. Or a self-admittedly “numb” Dusty Springfield deplaning into Australia only to be accused of being “kooky” and a spokesperson for “the hippie philosophy”?
Elsewhere, we discover the hitherto-unknown connection between Lord Buckley’s spiritual “Nazz” and the Small Faces’ ritual Methedrine, plus learn that it was in fact Peter Noone’s seemingly innocent rhythm section who schooled Keith Moon in the fine art of Holiday Inn “redecorating.”
Above and possibly even beyond all that, however, are literally hours of vintage performance clips, immaculately reproduced and shown complete and uncut, with nary a single word of needless graphic or narration dubbed over the guitar solos for once. Personally, I was most pleasantly shocked to witness downright incendiary footage of the Small Faces’ Marquee Club debut, March of 1966: While for all the world looking, dressing, and acting like little more than a Cockney Monkees with cooler hair, trapped from the get-go inside these lads was apparently a solid, fighting-tough beat ‘n’ soul combo whose only Caucasian rivals at the time would have been those Young Rascals themselves. Who knew?
“None of us knew how good and how ahead of our time we were,” Small Face Kenney Jones admits herein, and that statement could rightfully serve as the modus operandi behind this entire series. Because, you see, The British Invasion, for the very first time ever, delves so very deeply into the hitherto-unexplored “second tier” of mid-Sixties U.K. talent, and in doing so paints most vividly an indelible picture of the era’s myriad musical and social upheavals.
Dusty Springfield: Once Upon a Time, Herman’s Hermits: Listen People, Gerry and the Pacemakers: It’s Gonna Be All Right and Small Faces: All Or Nothing are available separately or, even better, housed together with two and a half full hours of additional Bonus Disc interview and performance footage as a five-DVD collector’s set. Either way you take them, each deserve to be seen and heard repeatedly by any Merseybeating fan or serious student of rock ‘n’ roll …or even for someone who just needs to know the correct way to toss a cherry bomb down a Holiday Inn toilet.
Gerry & The Pacemakers - British Invasion 'It's Gonna Be All Right 1963-1965' Trailer