Political History

America in the British Imagination: 1945 to the Present by John F. Lyons (auth.)

By John F. Lyons (auth.)

How was once American tradition disseminated into Britain? Why did many British voters include American customs? And what photo did they type of American society and politics? This attractive and wide-ranging heritage explores those and different questions about the U.S.'s cultural and political impact on British society within the post-World conflict II period.

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The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” the theme song of both the television show and the film, became a hit in the UK for Bill Hayes and Tennessee Ernie Ford. 100 Children, brought up on a diet of Wild West films and television series, acted out their fantasies in their homes and in the streets. “Cowboy films were popular viewing on the new televisions that everyone had started to acquire, and us kids would charge out next day to re-enact an exciting episode of Rawhide, or Wagon 28 AMERICA IN THE BRITISH IMAGINATION: 1945 TO THE PRESENT Train, right down to the last blood-curdling yell,” remembered Jules Evans of her youth in 1950s’ Hertfordshire.

122 French actress Brigitte Bardot was as admired and as influential as any American star, while actress Audrey Hepburn, originally from Belgium, and French actresses Leslie Caron and Juliette Greco were major fashion influences on young Britons. When asked to name their favorite actresses in early 1963, the four members of the Beatles revealed the extent of European influence. 125 The fact that British football clubs were starting to participate in Europe-wide competition in the 1950s was symbolic of the increased influence of Europe on Britain.

Cliff Richard’s “Move It,” Vince Taylor and His Playboys’ “Brand New Cadillac,” both of which charted in 1958, and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates 1960 hit “Shakin’ All Over” became rock ‘n’ roll standards. In the late 1950s, some youngsters gravitated to American blues music, as the stars of rock ‘n’ roll left the scene, once again leaving the pop music charts full of tepid music. Elvis Presley joined the Army, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis found their careers waning because of personal problems and scandals, Little Richard abandoned rock ‘n’ roll to devote his life to religion, and Buddy Holly tragically died in a plane crash.

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