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American counterparts of British bands

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Hombre, Aug 27, 2020.

  1. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    First of all, I want to clarify that these are loose comparisons and they are not strictly based on musical styles nor follow a unique criterion. Other comparisons and criteria you'd like to contribute are welcome in this thread.


    When the Byrds appeared on the musical scene in 1965, they were presented as "America's answer to the Beatles". Although the comparison wasn't fair and, indeed, the group from Los Angeles never accepted that label, there are reasons to say that there was a time when they were at the level of the Fab Four. In my opinion, the most creative and innovative period of both bands was 1965-67, when they actually influenced each other. Of course, the Byrds started their career being heavily inspired by the Beatles (apart from Bob Dylan); and it's well known that Roger McGuinn adopted the electric 12-string guitar after watching it in hands of George Harrison in the movie A Hard Day's Night (1964). But then the Byrds defined the folk rock genre with their debut album (Mr. Tambourine Man, 1965), touching the artistic senses of the Beatles and being a major influence for the creation of one of the best albums by the Liverpool's band: Rubber Soul (1965). The Byrds later continued on the innovative path, especially when they recorded "Eight Miles High", song considered as a founder of psychedelia; and the Beatles redoubled the avant-garde bet with "Tomorrow Never Knows", included in the fabulous Revolver (1966). The next year, each band released a new masterpiece: first, the Byrds with the multi-faceted Younger Than Yesterday (1967); and then the Beatles with the famous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Afterwards, the Byrds were fragmented by internal disputes (McGuinn kept leading different lineups until the end), while the Beatles continued at the top until their separation. But in terms of innovation, I think no other rock/pop band rivaled the Beatles as the Byrds did, at least on American soil.


    Another comparison that isn't new, since the Doors have been seen as an "American reflect" of the Rolling Stones back in the '60s. Even though both bands had blues roots, I understand that the comparison is arguable because the Doors were more focused on psychedelic rock at the beginning, with a very distinctive, keyboard-based sound. But both bands certainly had a very strong figure as lead singer, backed by not less important (though not as visible) musicians. On the artistic aspect, the first two Doors albums (released in 1967) were characterized by dark lyrics and long epic closers, which can be related to previous songs by the Stones such as "Paint It Black" and "Going Home" from Aftermath (1966). Moreover, both groups capitalized a transgressive image, as a contrast to the "good modals" showed by other acts of the time. Coincidentally, in 1967 the Stones and the Doors were invited to play at the Ed Sullivan Show, and they both were asked to change some lyrics using less suggestive words: "let's spend some time together" instead of "let's spend the night together" in the former case; and "girl, we couldn't get much better" instead of "girl, we couldn't get much higher" in the latter case. Reluctantly, Mick Jagger sang the modified part as it was requested; but Jim Morrison did sing (or forgot to change) the original lyric, and the band was never invited again to the show. Eventually, the Doors adopted a definitive blues rock sound in Morrison Hotel (1970) and L.A. Woman (1971), while the Stones returned to their roots and released their four greatest studio albums between 1968 and 1972.


    Perhaps in this case the parallelism is even more forced, but let me explain my point. It is true that the sounds of these great bands were quite different: the Who started as (by nowadays definitions) a proto-punk rock group that derived into hard rock; while Jefferson Airplane started as a folk rock group that derived into acid rock. But the main coincidence I find between them is that both bands shone due to their instrumental virtuosity and were acknowledged because of their live performances. In fact, both groups were key acts in the two great musical festivals of the '60s: Monterey '67 and Woodstock '69. In those events, both the Who and Jefferson Airplane exhibited their technical skills, serving as launching pads to acquire wider fame.


    Once again, here the comparison is not exactly funded on the sound, which certainly was rawer on the side of the Kinks and more refined on the side of the Beach Boys. In this case, the equivalence is related to the idiosyncrasy of both bands. I mean that each group was a faithful reflect of their respective countries: the Kinks showed themes and forms strongly linked to the British culture; and the Beach Boys represented the American culture in a cheerful and natural way. It should be noted, though, that the Kinks presented a more critical attitude, appealing to "social satire"; while the Beach Boys sang from the "American pride", usually referring to their beloved California. Another curious coincidence is the fact that both bands had the special condiment of a "family project", since the Kinks counted with Ray Davies and his brother Dave; and even Ray's wife (Rasa) contributed backing vocals in some songs. The family concept was even stronger in the case of the Beach Boys, with the Wilson brothers (Brian, Carl and Dennis) plus their cousin (Mike Love).


    Two bands that were criminally ignored in their respective home places, but somehow had better luck on the other side of the Atlantic. Both groups managed to create a timeless masterpiece: Forever Changes (1967) by Love; and Odessey And Oracle (1968) by the Zombies. The former album reached the lowest position in the US charts among the first four LPs by Love, peaking at #154; but it had a decent performance in the UK charts, where it reached #24. Meanwhile, the Zombies swan song was not even noticed in UK neither did very well in US (#95); but one track from the album, "Time Of The Season", became a great hit in US, reaching #3 in 1969 (their third and last Top 10 hit in that country) when the band no longer existed. Indeed, the Zombies and Love were soon forgotten after the end of the '60s; but time was good with them and their legacy was restored, especially since the '90s when new generations of music fans were able to appreciate their works.
  2. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Cincinnati, OH
    Interesting post.
    Good points, nice read.
    Adam9, Mr.Sean and Hombre like this.
  3. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    Also, don't forget the way George kept firing the members of the Beatles. By the time of Abbey Road, it was George plus three entirely new guys. The similarities to the Byrds are striking.
  4. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    John Mayall - Paul Butterfield
  5. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
    Fleetwood Mac = Fleetwood Mac

    Although the sound is quite different, some of band members are actually the same.
    But the striking similarity of the name is more of the reason they are both on here.
    Matt292, ARK, Penny24 and 10 others like this.
  6. mbd40

    mbd40 Steely Dan Fan

    Hope, Ar
    I'd go with the Beach Boys being the American version of the Hollies because of both being pop bands known for their vocal harmonies. But you could also make a case for Beach Boys being the American rival of the Beatles in terms of importance and influence, and both being "boy bands" that matured artistically.

    There are some similarities between the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
    ooan, VH3FAN, oldsurferdude and 14 others like this.
  7. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, in terms of musical style and success, those are suitable comparisons.

    Another good comparison, with a parallelism found in the '70s.
  8. Syscrusher

    Syscrusher Forum Resident

    The Velvet Underground — Pink Floyd

    Probably the most experimental groups in each country. They were running parallel through much of 1965 and 1966.
  9. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    They even did an ep together back then.
    mschrist, Crawdad and Hombre like this.
  10. MilesTrane

    MilesTrane Forum Resident

    Moon PA USA
    Queen and Styx. Multiple songwriters, multiple lead singers. Ballads and hard rock songs.
  11. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Rolling Stones
  12. lucan_g

    lucan_g Forum Resident

    Dylan - Donovan

    (I couldn’t resist. ;))
    Aftermath, Adam9, danielbravo and 5 others like this.
  13. Hallogallo

    Hallogallo Forum Resident

    Behind you
    Smiths - REM
    Timos, notesfrom, 905 and 15 others like this.
  14. Mark B.

    Mark B. Forum Resident

    Concord, NC
    This was the first thing that came to mind for me.
    Hombre likes this.
  15. mbd40

    mbd40 Steely Dan Fan

    Hope, Ar
    Just replace the LSD with heroin. I've never given it much thought, but they may have been the most experimental 60s band that didn't seem to have anything to do with psychedelia. Never thought of them as a psychedelic band.

    Even Frank Zappa did stuff mocking or influenced by psychedelia and hippie culture such as Who Are The Brain Police even though he avoided drugs.
    Hombre likes this.
  16. mike_mike

    mike_mike neurodiverse

    NY Dolls = Sex Pistols

    Van Halen = Public Image Ltd
    Hombre likes this.
  17. FredV

    FredV Forum Resident

    Fleetwood Mac - The Mamas & The Papas

    Even though they were popular during their respective decades, both bands have great similarities in regards to not only the quality of their music and vocal harmonies, but also with inter-band relationship intrigues. They were almost like a mirror image of each other when it came to the issues of personal relationships amongst the band members which inspired their best songs.
    dumangl and Hombre like this.
  18. bRETT

    bRETT Senior Member

    Boston MA
    JoeF., zither and Hombre like this.
  19. bRETT

    bRETT Senior Member

    Boston MA
    The Pogues/Los Lobos

    And this seems to fit, they even toured together: Oasis/Black Crowes.
    Hombre likes this.
  20. mbd40

    mbd40 Steely Dan Fan

    Hope, Ar
    Cliff Richard is supposed to be the British Elvis, right? I'm not that familiar with him.
    Mr.Sean and Hombre like this.
  21. mbd40

    mbd40 Steely Dan Fan

    Hope, Ar
    An obvious one, Alexander Skip Spence was the American Syd Barrett. The parallels are pretty creepy.
    moheganer2, ooan, Crawdad and 5 others like this.
  22. onionmaster

    onionmaster Tropical new waver from the future

    I would say Tom Jones is the British Elvis. He has an extremely distinctive voice, and he's been around forever. Cliff did start off in rock and roll but he's long been associated with easy listening, to the point where he's pretty much the definition of uncool.
  23. Moshe

    Moshe Forum Resident

    The Pogues - Tom Waits
    notesfrom and Hombre like this.
  24. Moshe

    Moshe Forum Resident

    Public Image LTD. - Pere Ubu
    danielbravo, bRETT and Hombre like this.
  25. Mumdad

    Mumdad Forum Resident

    Wire - Mission of Burma
    danielbravo, Hombre and mr. steak like this.

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