As a final tie-in from our 1966 party two weeks ago, and on the eve of a local reading and discussion I’m participating in about the British Invasion this very weekend, I’ve put together a ROCK 66! Mix at 8tracks.com. But this mix is not just British rock bands of the era; it’s about American acts too. If it’s a given that the British were more advanced in their development of the rock form in 1966 (and I would argue that they were), there was still no shortage of enthusiastic competition in the States, where a tradition built on folk-rock, surf music and garage bands was about to coalesce into the psychedelic explosion of 1967. So while on the British side, you have your Who, Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Creation, Animals, Hollies etc, on the American side it seems somewhat more disparate: this mix includes tracks by the Beach Boys, Seeds, Lovin’ Spoonful, Fugs, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Buffalo Springfield and the Velvet Underground, among others. First time you play this mix – just hit the play button on the bottom left of the picture – you’ll hear American and British acts alternating with each other, and the whole mix concluding with Bob Dylan playing electric at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1966, which rather conveniently brings my own head back round to the Smiths biography I am otherwise working on. Second time and onwards, the 8tracks mixes play the tracks randomly. Enjoy! And happy 4th of July: where would we be without each other?