Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter says the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds have done American musicians a huge service

During a recent interview with Guitar World, former Steely Dan guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter said bands like the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds have helped American music go back to its roots immensely.

Both rolling stones and the yard birds contributed greatly to the massive influence of British bands on the American rock scene in the mid-1960s, a period also known as the The British Invasion. As the Beatles led the way, several British Invading acts refreshed American music with their signature sound and helped rock and roll develop to look and sound as we know it today.

While discussing his opinions on British music in a recent chat, Jeff Baxter said he finds it very interesting because it’s open to interacting with many other forms of music. Then, referring to some notable British artists like Jeff Beck, Eric Claptonand Hank Marvin, the guitarist, said they all listen to American music, taking some elements of it and incorporating it into their own sound.

Additionally, Baxter recalled an old conversation with famous American singer Jerry Lee Lewis. Lewis criticized the period in American music when names like Bobby Rydell, Bobby Vinton and Bobby Vee, along with many others, dominated the scene as teen idols in the early 1960s. The singer of “Great Balls of Fire” thought these names weren’t very interested in the quality of the music. According to Jeff Baxter, the appearance of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds on the scene revive american music by reminding him of his rhythm roots and blueswhich he finds truly valuable.

by Jeff Baxter thoughts on the impact of the British sound on the American music scene:

“I think British music is interesting. As they say, the child is the father of the man. These guys – Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and even Hank Marvin, who I have enormous respect for – were students. They listened to American music in many different forms and synthesizing this into their own game.

I remember Jerry Lee Lewis once saying to me, ‘You know, there was this terrible period in American music.’ He called it “The Bobbys” – with Bobby Rydell, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby. He said, ‘Everything was going to hell.’ I understood what he was talking about; he meant that pop music was getting a little too pop and a little less music.

And the Brits turned around and said, “Wait, have you ever heard of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters?” The rolling stones, garden birdsand all these bands said, ‘Hey, let us reintroduce you to your roots.’ I think they made American musicians a huge favor.”

Early rock and roll, blues, R&B, country and even folk artists also influenced British bands Invasion to form their own sound. Almost all of the Invasion bands paid homage to American music by including many songs from it in their live performances.

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