Merseybeat was the original sound of the British Invasion -- a driving, melodic sound that was hybrid of American rock & roll and R&B, and British skiffle. The Beatles' early records, like "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do," were the prototypes of the genre, and soon other Liverpudlian bands like Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer, and the Searchers were following the same style. Called Merseybeat because of the Mersey River in Liverpool, the sound flourished throughout 1963 and the first half of 1964. Shortly afterward, R&B-oriented bands like the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Yardbirds appeared, as did pop groups like the Hollies and Freddie & the Dreamers. While these pop groups were influenced by Merseybeat, the style itself was losing ground, especially since the Beatles had begun to expand their stylistic reach.