DVD series revisits British Invasion of '60s

Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:21pm EDT
 
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By Gail Mitchell

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The '60s British Invasion goes deeper than just the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who. Illustrating that point to full effect is the "British Invasion" DVD series.

The first four volumes in the documentary series focus on Dusty Springfield ("Once Upon a Time 1964-1969"), Small Faces ("All or Nothing 1965-1968"), Gerry & the Pacemakers ("It's Gonna Be All Right 1963-1965") and Herman's Hermits ("Listen People 1964-1969"). Set for release Tuesday (March 30) through Reelin' in the Years Productions and Naxos of America, the four DVDs are available separately ($19.99) or as a boxed set ($79,99) packaged with a fifth disc of bonus material. The series originally was released last September in the United Kingdom.

Each DVD features a host of vintage TV performances in their entirety, punctuated by reflections on the acts' careers and music by producers, songwriters, backing singers and the artists themselves. Accompanying each disc is a 24-page booklet of insights and essays by well-known rock historians complemented by previously unseen photos and other memorabilia. "Our goal," Reelin' CEO David Peck says, "is to paint a broader and deeper picture of one of the truly great eras in music."

One of the more intriguing chapters is Springfield's. Her distinctive, melodramatic brand of blue-eyed soul powered a string of 17 hits in the '60s including "Wishin' and Hopin'" and "Son of a Preacher Man." A hands-on artist and songwriter, she produced her own records before it was the accepted norm for females. But Springfield didn't take the credit because she was "conditioned into thinking as a woman ... that it would take away from my credibility as an innocent little singer." More than 40 years later, her enduring legacy can be heard in the retro-soul of Duffy, Adele and Amy Winehouse.

Springfield's former manager Vicki Wickham, Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan and Herman's Hermits guitarist Keith Hopwood will be among the guests attending the "British Invasion" launch party April 8 at the British Consulate in New York. Along with Peck, they'll reveal a few details about a second boxed set due in the fall and a third slated for 2011.