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Readers’ Poll: Your Favorite British Invasion Songs

Selections include ‘My Generation,’ ‘She’s Not There’ and ‘You Really Got Me’

british invasion

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Five decades ago, the Beatles landed at New York's JFK airport just as their single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was exploding all across America. It was a kind of mania not since in America since Elvis Presley a decade earlier, and the success of the Beatles led to a ton of other British bands crossing the Atlantic to dominate America. Within months, the Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, the Dave Clark 5 and many other groups were huge in the States. Last week, we asked you to vote for your favorite songs of the British Invasion. Here are the results. 

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3. The Who – ‘My Generation’

"My Generation" established Pete Townshend as one of the finest songwriters of his era. "That song was written under pressure," the guitarist told Rolling Stone in 1968. "Someone came to me and said, 'Make a statement, make a statement, make a statement, make a statement, make a statement,' and I’m going 'Oh, okay, okay, okay,' and I get 'My Generation' together very quickly, like in a night – it feels like that. It’s a very blustering kind of blurting thing. A lot of our early records were."

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2. The Beatles – ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the first Beatles song to break big in America. "I remember when we got the chord that made that song," John Lennon said. "We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time.  And we had, 'Oh you-uu . . . got that something . . .' And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that – both playing into each other's nose. We spent hours and hours and hours . . . We wrote in the back of vans together . . . The cooperation was functional as well as musical." They played the song on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 16th, 1964. About 10,000 rock bands formed the next day. 

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1. The Rolling Stones – “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

When the Rolling Stones released "Satisfaction" in the summer of 1965, they went from being just another British rock group to one of the biggest bands in the world. They haven't let go of that title to this day. "People get very blasé about their big hit," Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1995.  "It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones. You always need one song. We weren't American, and America was a big thing, and we always wanted to make it here. It was very impressive the way that song and the popularity of the band became a worldwide thing. You know, we went to playing Singapore. The Beatles really opened all that up. But to do that you needed the song; otherwise you were just a picture in the newspaper, and you had these little hits…It's a signature tune, really, rather than a great, classic painting, 'cause it's only like one thing – a kind of signature that everyone knows."

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