FIRST BROADCAST: Thu 8 Feb 2007
Soul Britannia is a music series that examines the dynamic impact of black American and Caribbean sounds on British music -- and on the very fabric of our society. From the 1950s to the present day, Soul Britannia investigates vinyl obsessions, Soul dancing, imitation, innovation -- and much more.
With soul as its guiding light, the first film tracks the extraordinary musical changes that post-war Britain experienced. After the staid, uptight 1950s, the UK blossomed into an all-night, neon-lit soul-athon. From groovy Soho basements to "Ready Steady Go" TV specials, the music rocked the nation through the 1960s...
The first film in the series examines how these sounds seeped into our culture via imported US vinyl, the music West Indian immigrants brought with them and the electric performances of touring American soul bands. Our traditional reserve was soon broken down. In fact, the impact on the British -- from London night spots to Welsh valleys, Newcastle music halls to the Belfast docks -- was quite devastating. And it made bright young things like Georgie Fame, Eric Burdon and Van Morrison feel extremely good, permeating their own musical output.
The growing mass of Sixties Mods also embraced black music and helped popularize transatlantic sounds in the UK. They championed former American GI, Geno Washington, and Jamaican expatriate, Jimmy James, who became our very own soul stars. Dusty Springfield, too, dominated the charts and disseminated her love of Motown across the UK via TV specials.
As the Sixties progressed, soul moved from the British underground into mainstream society, becoming a meeting point for black and white, a catalyst for cultural and sexual exchanges. This passion for Afro-American and Caribbean music -- and our interpretation of them -- created a fertile bed out of which an original British soul sound would grow in the 1970s and beyond.
I Feel Good
Soul BritanniaEpisode 1 of 3
Series that examines the dynamic impact of black American and Caribbean sounds on British music and society. A generation of young white music fans fell in love with black music in the 60s and sold it back to America while a generation of immigrants from the Caribbean helped introduce soul and ska to Britain and helped launch a new youth culture. Featuring rare archive performances and interviews with Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Solomon Burke, Elton John, Sam Moore, Georgie Fame and many others.