Piano and Keyboard lessons from Glenn Sutton in Poway and San Diego

Easy British Invasion Songs for Piano and Keyboard

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Learning easy songs by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and more

In 1964, four men from Liverpool arrived in the United States and started a musical and cultural revolution. What set The Beatles apart from earlier rock acts was that, in addition to being great musicians with an indelible image, they also wrote most of their own music. Most of the British bands that followed also shared this talent. Although many of these bands would go on to create rather complex compositions, the early years of the British Invasion bands (roughly 1962-66) brought us songs as simply crafted as they were memorable. Today, we will review several songs from this era that are easy and fun to play on piano.

Love Me Do — The Beatles

Let’s start with the first single by the Fab Four. This was a “Lennon/McCartney” composition that, unlike most of their songs, was in fact written by both of them. There were three versions recorded of this song throughout 1962, each featuring a different drummer (Pete Best, Ringo Starr, and session drummer Andy White). The hit single was the version with White. (Ringo was relegated to tambourine on this version.) It hit number 17 on the charts in the UK in 1962. It fared better in the States, hitting number one when released at the height of Beatlemania in 1964.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsMlVLLyMfM

The House of the Rising Sun — The Animals

Unlike the other songs in this lesson, “House of the Rising Sun” was not an original band composition. Alan Price’s keyboard arrangement, however, ensured that this version of an old folk song would be the one everyone remembered. Price received composition credit for this song, which would be a bone of contention within the band later on. This song remains the band’s signature song to this day, and it hit number one on both sides of the Atlantic in 1964. (Note: the version in this video is much simpler than the Animals’ version.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib8ETXwJDt0

Angie — The Rolling Stones

One of the most harrowing and beautiful ballads recorded by the Stones, this 1973 song is about a breakup. There has been speculation that this was about the breakup of David Bowie and his wife Angela, but primary composer Keith Richards says this was not the case. Although this song came out after the time period focused upon in this lesson, it is included both because of its piano-based sound and its relative ease to play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZTWcrk1ibA

You Really Got Me — The Kinks

This song topped the UK charts in 1964, and hit number 7 in the US later that year. Ray and Dave Davies set the template for hard rock with this recording. Although Ray would go on to write some of the most complex, beautiful, and quintessentially British rock songs of the era, this song, along with “All Day and All of the Night,” “I Need You,” and other early songs, are influencing rock bands to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=32&v=WzRddyj6604

Try Them Out!

Almost any song can be reduced to an “easy piano” format. Check with your piano instructor or your local music store for other examples.

For keyboard and piano lessons contact Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664.

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