Thank you very much for the comments on recent posts which are helping my writing considerably. With respect to the matter of originals v covers I need to add the Small Faces and also the Move (Roy Wood) who played the Birdcage regularly in 1966. They covered stuff by Bobby Parker, Gladys Knight etc but were soon producing their own stuff. Despite organist Ian MacLagan, most of the writing bands (the Who, Cream etc) were guitar-based as opposed to the earlier soul/blues bands
Some of those were guitar-based too (the Stones, Pretty Things, Yardbirds) and they started writing quite early on, whereas bands like the Vagabonds, Geno, Steam Packet, Alan Bown Set and before them (Rendezvous days) Graham Bond Organisation, John Mayall, Moody Blues, Georgie Fame & BFs, LJB & Hoochie Coochie Men etc were mostly doing covers of black music – post-war blues, jazz, R&B and soul.
The Beatles led the way in legitimising British musicians as writers/performers and by 1965/6 those bands like the Who, Small Faces, Move, Cream etc were following suit – and as I’ve said before this was partly economic. The writers earned more from sales and the managers could sign the artists to publishing deals and take a bigger cut.
I’m not sure that always resulted in the greatest works but it rapidly became prevalent. In 1968 in Harlem Speakeasy I was in a pop/soul covers band that got a record/agency deal. 18 months later (mid-1969) in Rosemary, our hopes of success lay in the fact that we wrote every song in our set and signed those songs to (Warner) Chappells with a single recorded and the hope of a label deal (no luck there). But they wouldn’t have looked twice at a covers band, however good.
Through 1964/5 the finest of the British clubs acts were playing the music of black Americans. By the late 1960s it became possible for young white British musicians to find ways of saying and playing their own things about their world. But as Mr Greedy points out (and Mr Tench has noted previously), the great soul stuff wasn’t suddenly rubbish – quite the opposite. From 1968-1971 I probably had a hand in writing about 40 songs. Some weren’t bad (some were!). But not one touched on the great works of Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, Porter & Hayes, William Bell, Holland-Dozier-Holland etc.
Please keep those comments coming!