British invasion is synonymous with colonial conquests, but in the wake of the 20th century it stands for something very different. British invasions are actually the various instances when British musicians have dominated the US music charts. The very first invasion took place in the 1960s where the movement was spearheaded by a string of legendary rock bands- The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to name a few. The first British invasion’s impact on the world music scenario was so potent that the ripples from that era are still felt in the musical choices of today’s generation. The rise of Motown however led to its subsequent decline. The next invasion was in the 1980s by the new age rock bands like REM and the Police, led by the mercurial vocalist Sting. The impact of the second British invasion was, however, smaller than the first, and it was wiped off by the pop culture tunes of legendary American artists- Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson, to name a few. Since then a few British acts have consistently raked in the fan-ship of the American audiences like Wham!, Elton John and Take That, but there wasn’t a whole scale invasion as seen in the previous two instances. The present world music scenario has seen the rise of many British acts who have dominated the US music charts and the present age can be rightly called the 3rd British Invasion.
The invasion can be divided conveniently on the basis of genres.
Rock and Metal- The earlier portion of the 3rd British invasion was spearheaded by a string of rock bands. The first major band to have an impact was The Verve with their breakthrough album Urban Hymns and their catastrophically successful single Bitter Sweet Symphony which not only won the Grammy for the Best rock song in 1999, the song was also included in the Rolling Stones list of 500 Greatest Songs of all time at number 392. The other British rock bands to have a popular impact in the 2000s were Radiohead, Travis and Catatonia. The 2000s saw the rise of the alternative rock scenario, wherein several extremely popular acts rose to dominance. The Snow Patrol rose to stardom with their breakthrough label, Final Straw in 2003 which was certified 5X Platinum in the UK. Their American fame came with their hit single Chasing Cars from their album Eyes Open in 2006, which charted in the Billboards Year end chart at 29. The most commercially successful of all these bands is the band Coldplay which came to prominence with their very first album Prominence in 2000. Since then the band has released six albums with the latest being Ghost Stories which came out in 2014 and has won numerous awards including eight Brits and seven Grammys. Their most successful year was in 2009 when they were nominated for seven grammys including record of the year, song of the year and album of the year. Viva La Vida eventually won the Song of the Year which established Coldplay as one of the best musical acts in the world. The latter half of the 2000s saw the rise of many new bands like the Arctic Monkeys, the Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Rudimentals and Bastille. The metal scenario remained largely dominated by bands like The Bullet For My Valentine. Another great band which ruled most of the 2000s was the legendary Irish band U2.
Soul- The 3rd British Invasion saw the rejuvenation of the British Soul music with artists like Natasha Bedingfield, Amy Winehouse, Emily Sande, Sam Smith, John Newman and Adele coming into the fray. The year 2007 saw the rise of Amy Winehouse who enthralled critics and audiences everywhere with her dark unsettling debut album Back to Black. She went on to win the Best New Artist, Record of the Year and the Song of the Year for her song Rehab in the 50th Grammy Awards. Her untimely demise on 23rd July 2011 led to the tragic end of a vociferously talented lady. However the greatest contributor to the British Invasion was Adele. Having risen to prominence in 2008 with her debut album 19, she went on to break numerous records with her sophomore effort 21. Adele won the best new Artist and the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her single Chasing Pavements from her album 19. She won six grammy awards in 2012 sweeping all the major categories and cementing her place as one the best vocalists and song writers of all time. Someone Like You is the second highest sold single in the UK and the second most downloaded song of all time. 21 remained on top of the Billboards Top 200 for nearly two years and Rolling in the Deep topped the 2012 Billboards year end chart. She eventually went on to win the Oscar for her song Skyfall for the James Bond movie by the same name. She was named the Billboard artist of the year twice in a row in the years 2011 and 2012.
Pop- The popular music scenario was dominated by several of the Simon Cowel produced talent show winners like Leona Lewis, Olly Murs and One Direction. One Direction and The Wanted are two boy bands with unmatched popularities, while Little Mix is probably the biggest all female band after Destiny’s Child. Leona Lewis’s debut single Bleeding love ended the 2008 Billboard year End chart at number 2 and remains one the high selling singles in the UK of all time. The other singers in the genre are Jessie J, Labyrinth, Lilly Allen and Ellie Goulding.
Indie Artists and Singer-Songwriters- Indie music is something which has come up greatly in the recent years. Some of the best Indie artists are from the UK, who have been dominating the billboard charts. Ed Sheeran, Dido, Florence and the Machines and Ellie Goulding are some the artists who have been creating waves with their unique sounds.
Hip-Hop- Taio Cruz, Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah, Roll Deep and Plan B are some of the artists who have been a major part of the 3rd Birtish Invasion.
The 3rd British Invasion is the current wave of immensely talented artists who are ruling the US charts in the recent years. Ghost Stories is doing well, U2 have released their new album and Adele’s new album is due this year. It’s an exciting time for a music enthusiast.