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Arts and Entertainment

Did the British Invasion Begin With a "Stranger On the Shore"?

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The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. The Kinks. The bands we know as being part of music's British Invasion onto US charts, airwaves, jukeboxes and record players are bands whose names are known around the world. But on this day in 1962, that same invasion had what History calls "an odd beginning," which, 49 years later, is inspiring your video lunch.

Enter Mr. Acker Blick and his clarinet, and the single "Stranger on the Shore."

History explains: Mr. Acker Bilk was a jazz clarinetist dressed in the throwback garb of an Edwardian dance hall player—hardly the stuff that trends are made of, but the pleasing sound of his Stranger On The Shore fit very neatly within the spectrum of non-threatening pop that dominated in America prior to the arrival of the Beatles. In fact, while harder-edged American R&B artists of the time enjoyed far greater popularity in the UK than they did in the United States, easy-listening instrumentalists like Mr. Acker Bilk and orchestra leaders like Bert Kaempfert, Percy Faith and Henry Mancini thrived on the U.S. side of the Atlantic.
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However, there is no record of screaming girls or panty-tossing from crowded theatre floors when it comes to Blick. He was, though, the very first British artist to top the American pop charts...but Blickmania never took off.