How Much Do You Know About The 1960s British Invasion?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

These days, Americans can scarcely ponder life without cultural icons like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. But before the British Invasion, English bands were rare in the States. Then, seemingly overnight, everything changed -- how much do you know about the '60s Invasion?

What happened during the British Invasion of the 1960s?

In the '60s, British pop music suddenly seized the attention of Americans. The "invasion" of British music quickly -- and permanently -- changed U.S. music culture.


Which band is often credited with igniting the British Invasion?

With their shaggy hair and irresistibly catchy tunes, The Beatles became a worldwide phenomenon that opened the floodgates of the British Invasion. America and the rest of the world would never again be the same.


What was the first Beatles song to appear on America's Top 40 music chart?

The British Invasion officially started with an innocent song called "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." It created a flash fire that consumed America's youth -- some say that if you listen closely, you can still hear the excited screaming of female fans echoing around the globe.


How did Marsha Albert of Silver Springs, Maryland, play into the history of the British Invasion?

Marsha Albert was 14 years old when she saw a news clip about The Beatles on the CBS Evening News. She called a local radio station and requested a Beatles song … and inadvertently helped to spark the British Invasion.


Which British act was the first to follow the chart success of The Beatles?

As The Beatles were sparking excitement about British acts, soul singer Dusty Springfield's song "I Only Want to be with You" entered the Billboard charts. Her good timing helped her score several other big hits during the Invasion era.


How did the U.S. media respond to the popularity of British bands?

In some circles, there was despair at America's youth becoming so entranced by British influences. But by and large, American media hailed British bands as welcome cultural conquerors.


Which band was NOT part of the British Invasion?

Aerosmith is from Boston. The British Invasion was spearheaded by groups like The Kinks, the Dave Clark Five and the Rolling Stones, among others.


Other than The Beatles, what was the other hugely successful band that emerged from the Invasion?

The Beatles corned the market on family-friend pop. The Rolling Stones were a more dangerous side of the Invasion, appealing more to the kids who had an outsider status.


Which TV show is often credited with launching the British Invasion?

In January 1964, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" hit the top of the U.S. charts. In February, The Beatles performed live on "The Ed Sullivan Show," forever altering the fabric of America.


By some estimates, about ____ of Americans watched The Beatles' performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

The Beatles appeared on the "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964 and drew huge ratings -- some pundits claim that about 45% of Americans saw the highly anticipated performance. That was about 70 million people.


Which Invasion band created so much excitement that "mania" spread throughout fans of the group?

When the Invasion truly took hold in America, "Beatlemania" gripped fans and sent them into borderline scary hysteria. The band eventually gave up touring in part because fans were screaming so loudly that they drowned out the music.


True or false: The British Invasion was only about music.

The British Invasion started with the songs of The Beatles, but it was by no means constrained to just music. It affected fashion and political elements, among many other cultural factors.


Before the Invasion, many popular American acts had what sort of look onstage?

Before the Invasion, many American bands were stuck in the '50s, with clean, family-friendly images. Then came The Beatles with their long(ish) hair and the gates of Hell opened and conservative Americans everywhere believed the world was coming to a godless end.


Before landing in America, how many number-one hits had The Beatles scored in England?

The Beatles were fantastically popular in Britain before they ever landed on U.S. soil. They'd already produced two top hits --"Please Please Me" and "From Me to You."


Which Invasion band was responsible for a hit song called "The House of the Rising Sun"?

The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" became a number one hit in both America and Britain, and it wasn’t their last taste of success. They also scored big with “I’m Crying,” “We Gotta Get out of This Place,” and “It’s My Life.”


True or false: The Beatles' popularity in America was totally organic and NOT fueled by any marketing campaign.

British promoters knew they had a fabulous opportunity to exploit the U.S. market. They dumped tons of money into The Beatles, and the gamble paid off handsomely.


Which Invasion band scored a major hit in 1965 with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"?

The Rolling Stones were a few months late to the Invasion party. But when they finally gained traction, it was with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which became the band's first number one hit in the States.


At one of the first Beatles press conferences in America, a reporter asked the question, "Are you in favor of lunacy?" How did Paul McCartney respond?

Beatlemania was already gripping America, which is why the reporter launched a question about lunacy. The Beatles were all for it. McCartney simply said, "Yes, it's healthy."


Which English act scored 15 big hits during the Invasion?

Petula Clark was one of several female solo artists whose careers blossomed in the wake of the Invasion. She scored 15 hits, including number one singles "My Love" and "Downtown."


True or false: The music of the British Invasion was completely and radically different from all American bands of the time.

Prior to the Invasion, it wasn't as though Britain existed in some unknown vacuum totally isolated from the rest of the world. American bands traded sounds with English bands before Invasion started … but once the assault began, a lot of people totally forgot about any American influences that were a part of the era.


What was "A Hard Day's Night"?

In 1964, The Beatles released "A Hard Day's Night," a funny musical film that followed the lives of the band for several days. It was silly and hilarious and immediately fanned the flames of Beatlemania.


In the wake of The Beatles' success, how did The Dave Clark Five fare in America?

The Dave Clark Five rode the Invasion to incredible success. The group had 17 Top 40 hits between '64 and '67, far more than other Invasion acts.


Which Invasion band became known for a ferocious stage show that sometimes ended with the destruction of instruments?

The Who combined savvy songwriting with savagery. They didn't appear until the end of the Invasion, but when they did, they arrived with broken guitars galore.


"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the first Beatles song to go to number one in America. For how long was it the top hit?

For 7 weeks, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" ruled the charts. Then came "Can't Buy Me Love," which turned the world inside out all over again.


Which musician was NOT a part of the '60s Invasion?

Pete Townshend (The Who) and Van Morrison (Them) were both major parts of the Invasion. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) didn't make his musical presence known in America until the '70s.


In April of 1964, Beatlemania was in full swing. How many of the band's songs were in the Top 5?

In a testament to just how ridiculous Beatlemania really was, in April 1964, the band's songs took every slot of the Top 5. If you were anti-Beatles, you were booking a flight out of the country.


True or false: The phenomenon of the Invasion didn't occur anywhere other than the U.S.

The Beatles and their accompanying mania affected a lot of places outside America. In Australia, for example, a British band called the Easybeats found amazing success and pushed the sounds of the Invasion into the forefront of music culture.


When did the British Invasion end?

The British Invasion opened the floodgates of music culture, particularly between the U.S. and England. Since the '60s, bands and artists of all kinds have borrowed heavily from their counterparts across the Atlantic. But British musicians definitely are not as popular on American charts as they were in the '60s and '70s.


When did the Second British Invasion occur?

Thanks largely to MTV and the music video revolution, another major round of British influence emerged in the '80s. Bands like The Human League, Duran Duran, Def Leppard and Bananarama all found major success in America thanks in part due to funky videos and catchy songs.


The Invasion started in the '60s. When was the next time no British band failed to crack Billboard's Hot 100 chart?

Once the floodgates opened, wave after wave of British bands made the Hot 100 chart. But in 2002, the tide finally receded -- no English artists at all managed to crack the Hot 100.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!