Hit Parade

The British Are Charting Edition

What did the British Invasion of the ’60s and the Second British Invasion of the ’80s have in common?


Episode Notes

Before 1964, British bands couldn’t get anywhere on the U.S. charts. Then suddenly, after a certain Fab Four broke, they were everywhere. By 1965, they had locked down our Top 10.

In 1981, a new generation of U.K. acts armed with synthesizers were largely shut out of the Hot 100 once again. But then a new video channel called MTV changed the game—helped by some very pretty men in dapper suits. By 1983, half of the U.S. Top 40 had a British accent.

What did these two movements have in common, besides screaming fans and impressive hair? Join Chris Molanphy as he dissects these two bloodless coups that rebooted our hit parade. These Invasions were about as easy as a nuclear war.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.


About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.