(Speaking of famous people you’ve never heard of…)
When the market switched from individual singers to groups (in part because groups give you multiple components to market — “Who is YOUR favorite Beatle?” etc., but those English accents were a big part of it, too.
(Although that didn’t help Billy Fury, Marty Wilde et al — whose accents weren’t exotic back home but for some reason didn’t give them any new cache in the states — mostly because they sang with semi-American ones.)
“We were basically pawns to people like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were record producers and were older than us and had record deals with Atlantic and with United Artists. Basically they would find some songs or write some songs and they would produce these records for us that became hits. It was a different thing where the Beatles actually went into the studio and played this stuff and wrote this stuff. So they were so far ahead of where we were.
“We were the opening act for the Stones at Carnegie Hall and we met with them in the dressing room. The Stones went on and then Murray the K, the disc jockey running the show said, ‘You guys gotta close the second show or there’s gonna be a riot.’ We said, ‘We can’t follow these guys.’ He said, ‘You gotta.’ So the Stones go on and the girls are screaming and jumping and going crazy and then Murray the K says, ‘Right now from Brooklyn, New York, Jay and the Americans!’ And we come out and we’re doing these ridiculous steps, wearing alpaca sweaters and dickeys. And we’re singing ‘Only in America’ and the audience is getting up and running out of Carnegie Hall. We finished the song and we had cleared it. It was empty. I went home and I thought, ‘S—, I’d better get a guitar.'”