The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States from 1964 through 1966. The rebellious tone and image of American rock & roll and blues musicians had become popular with British youth in the late 1950s. While early commercial attempts to replicate American rock and roll mostly failed, the trad jazz-inspired skiffle craze, with its "do it yourself" attitude, was the starting point of several British acts that would later be part of the "invasion". Lonnie Donegan, who is credited with singlehandedly popularizing skiffle in the UK, had a top 20 US hit with "Rock Island Line" during the 1950s and a top ten US hit with "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On the Bedpost Overnight?)" in 1961, both re-recordings of songs already known in the U.S. for several decades at the time. Young British groups started to combine various British and American styles. This coalesced in Liverpool during 1962 in what became known as Merseybeat, hence the "beat boom". In 1962 "Telstar", an instrumental by The Tornados, became the first U.S. number 1 single by a British rock act. Also that year the folk trio The Springfields featuring Dusty Springfield cracked the U.S. top 20.
On December 10, 1963, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite ran a story about the Beatlemania phenomenon in the United Kingdom. After seeing the report, 15-year-old Marsha Albert of Silver Spring, Maryland, wrote a letter the following day to disc jockey Carroll James at radio station WWDC asking "why can't we have music like that here in America?". On December 17 James had Albert introduce "I Want to Hold Your Hand" live on the air, the first airing of a Beatles song in the United States. WWDC's phones lit up and Washington, D.C. area record stores were flooded with requests for a record they did not have in stock. On December 26 Capitol Records released the record three weeks ahead of schedule. The release of the record during a time when teenagers were on vacation helped spread Beatlemania in America. On January 18, 1964, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" reached number one on the Cash Box chart; the following week it did the same on Billboard. On February 7, the CBS Evening News ran a story about the Beatles' United States arrival that afternoon in which the correspondent said "The British Invasion this time goes by the code name Beatlemania". Two days later (Sunday, February 9) they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. Nielsen Ratings estimated that 45 percent of Americans watching television that night viewed their appearance. On April 4, the Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the only time to date that any act has accomplished this. The group's massive chart success continued until they broke up in 1970.
Dusty Springfield, having launched a solo career, became the first non-Beatle act during the invasion to have a major U.S. hit, with "I Only Want to Be With You". She soon followed up with several other hits, becoming what Allmusic described as "the finest white soul singer of her era." During the next two years, Chad & Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, The Animals, Manfred Mann, Petula Clark, Freddie and the Dreamers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones, The Troggs, and Donovan would have one or more number one singles. Other acts that were part of the invasion included The Kinks and The Dave Clark Five. British Invasion acts also dominated the music charts at home in the United Kingdom. (Wikipedia)