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The Best Lyrics To Come Out of the British Invasion

Six decades ago, the United States was swept up in a musical movement from across the pond. Mop-topped, guitar-wielding Brits had suddenly descended upon America, ushering in a fresh rock ’n’ roll sound along with a groovy new counterculture that spread like wildfire. Dubbed the “British Invasion,” it had at its forefront one clear leader: the Beatles.

The Fab Four released their first U.S. single, “Please Please Me,” in 1963, and soon the Beatlemania that had already gripped the U.K. took the states by storm. Then, in February 1964, the Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, an appearance that catapulted them into the cultural stratosphere. By April 4 of the same year, they had the top five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart — an achievement yet to be equaled.

Beatlemania opened the doors for the ensuing tsunami of hits that made their way across the Atlantic from the U.K. The charts were flooded by acts such as the Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, the Animals, and Petula Clark. This craze reached its peak on June 18, 1965, when no fewer than 14 British songs occupied the U.S. Top 40.

In terms of lyrics, the songs of the British Invasion were … eclectic. We had Manfred Mann singing, “Do wah diddy, diddy, dum diddy do,” alongside Donovan singing something about an “electrical banana.”

But this British mania produced plenty of catchy and even profound lyrics as well. Here are 14 of the best, from acts such as the Troggs, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and, of course, the Beatles.

Say you don't need no diamond rings / And I'll be satisfied / Tell me that you want the kind of things / That money just can't buy / I don’t care too much for money / Money can’t buy me love.
“Can’t Buy Me Love,” The Beatles, 1964

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Whoa, can't you see that she's mine? / We've been together for a long, long time / And yet they're tryin' so very hard to pull us apart / But we don't care what they say / We're gonna keep on lovin' this way.
“Can’t You See That She’s Mine,” The Dave Clark Five, 1964

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I told her that I was a flop with chicks / I'd been this way since 1956 / She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign / She said, “What you need is Love Potion No. 9.”
“Love Potion No. 9,” The Searchers, 1964

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I walked her home and she held my hand / I knew it couldn't be just a one-night stand / So I asked to see her next week and she told me I could / Something tells me I'm into something good.
“I’m Into Something Good,” Herman’s Hermits, 1964

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Listen to the bird who sings it to the tree / And then when you've heard him see if you agree / Nobody I know could love you more than me.
“Nobody I Know,” Peter and Gordon, 1964

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Well, there is a house in New Orleans / They call the Rising Sun / And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy / And God, I know I'm one.
“The House of the Rising Sun,” The Animals, 1964

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The nighttime shadows disappear / And with them go all your tears / For the morning will bring joy / For every girl and boy / So don't let the sun catch you cryin’.
“Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying,” Gerry and the Pacemakers, 1964

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They say that all good things must end some day / Autumn leaves must fall / But don't you know that it hurts me so / To say goodbye to you.
“A Summer Song,” Chad & Jeremy, 1964

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Cars and girls are easy to come by in this day and age / Laughing, joking, drinking, smoking till I've spent my wage / When I was young, people spoke of immorality / All the things they said were wrong are what I want to be.
“Over Under Sideways Down,” The Yardbirds, 1966

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I long to wake up in the morning / And find everything has changed / And all the people that I meet don't wear a frown / But every day is just the same / I'm chasing rainbows in the rain.
“Who Am I,” Petula Clark, 1966

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Don’t you see that now you’ve gone / And I’m left here on my own / That I have to follow you / And beg you to come home? / You don't have to say you love me / Just be close at hand / You don't have to stay forever / I will understand.
“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” Dusty Springfield, 1966

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Bus stop, wet day / She's there, I say / Please share my umbrella / Bus stops, bus goes / She stays, love grows / Under my umbrella / All that summer we enjoyed it / Wind and rain and shine / That umbrella, we employed it / By August she was mine.
“Bus Stop,” The Hollies, 1966

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No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue / I could not foresee this thing happening to you / If I look hard enough into the setting sun / My love will laugh with me before the morning comes.
“Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones, 1966

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I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes / Well, love is all around me and so the feeling grows / It's written on the wind, it's everywhere I go / So if you really love me, come on and let it show.
“Love Is All Around,” The Troggs, 1967

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Featured image credit: Bettmann via Getty Images

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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