1964 was an amazing year for popular music as the Beatles came to America and performed their first of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9. An onslaught of British rock bands and solo performers soon followed.
UK artists who came to New York City would often head to Harlem’s Apollo Theatre to see their idols up close. They would then incorporate what they saw in the States and put their own spin on it.
And it didn’t take long for American R&B stars to see what their British co-horts were doing and turnaround was fair play. Soon Otis Redding was recording the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction, and the Supremes were crafting an album called A Bit of Liverpool.
But this musical give and take didn’t stop in the ’60’s… it kept on going to this very day. Now over half a century after the birth of the British Invasion, an American R&B veteran has come forth with a CD that celebrates this cross fertilisation.
Billy Valentine‘s Brit Eyed Soul, released today, is sort of a reverse take on the popular musical term “blue eyed soul.” The entertainer does twelve British hits from the last fifty years, covering favourites originally recorded by a plethora of British hitmakers including Elton (with I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues); Culture Club; Cat Stevens, Elvis Costello; Stevie Winwood and more.
Valentine has enjoyed a long career as a singer, songwriter and performer. He began as a solo artist and then, with his brother John, formed the Valentine Brothers, touring and producing four albums from 1975-1989. He’s also been a frequent presence singing in films (The Five Heartbeats) and on TV (regular gigs with Boston Legal and Sons of Anarchy).