The 1960s were a time of creativity and innovation and many new styles of popular music developed in the aftermath of rock 'n' roll.
British beat music Many British pop groups in the 1960s were heavily influenced by American blues and R&B. These included The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
R&B stands for rhythm and blues – a style of black American music combining jazz and blues which emerged in the 1940s - not to be confused with today's R&B.
The Beatles helped to reshape Western pop music and were the most successful band ever. Every album was a huge hit from the early material on Please Please Me (1963) to the hugely innovative Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
They helped to create a distinctly British sound which used:
British (rather than American) accents
standard song forms
distinctive chord sequences and vocal harmonies
rhythmic guitar work
George Martin was their imaginative producer. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote most of their own material.
British beat music
The Beatles had a huge influence and pop groups sprang up all over the UK usually writing their own songs.
The Kinks were a four-piece band who had a string of hits during the 1960s including Waterloo Sunset, and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion.
Their songs were short and punchy with thought-provoking lyrics and elements of music hall. Songwriter Ray Davies' lyrics often used images of everyday British life.
Groups such as The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Who helped to establish a British tradition of:
guitar-driven pop groups
a classic line-up of lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals
verse and chorus songs, rich in hooks and melodic interest
conventional chord sequences
sets the refrain of the lyrics and often contains the title words
usually returns several times, always with the same words
is normally the 'catchiest' part of the song
The verse usually has different words with each repetition.
a riff is a short, repeated melodic pattern, often forming the background to a solo or vocal line. It is usually one to four bars long.
a hook is a short catchy melodic idea designed to be instantly memorable
guitar licks are short solo phrases that can be heard at the ends of some of the vocal phrases
fills are short flourishes used to fill a gap between phrases and are often played on drums
1960s soul music
1960s soul music was a style of black American music characterised by:
gospel influenced vocals
lyrical soulful melodies
an emphasis on the rhythm section
large horn sections (trumpets, saxophones and trombones)
The most famous record labels were Tamla Motown, Stax and Atlantic. Tamla Motown was an all black record company set up by Berry Gordy in Detroit. Artists included The Four Tops and The Jackson Five. Stax was based in Memphis. Artists included Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett.
Listen to this sample from My Lover's Prayer by Otis Redding. Notice the soulful gospel-influenced singing and the prominent horn section.