The influence of afro-american musical cultures on british / continental-european youth cultures is and was tremendous. It seems to be an iron law of history that european kids pick up and appropriate contemporary afro-american music styles. Of course, american mass media has almost supernatural powers on the rest of the world, but this does not explain, why so many kids are much more attracted by the styles of black cultures than by styles of the predominant white culture. A recent series on the sixties on the french / german TV channel ARTE sheds a light on the origins of this phenomenon, among other things, of course, but for us, as house and disco informed individuals, this seems to be point of matter.
The rise of disco music in Europe was by no means the first major invasion of afro-american music culture into european discotheques, teenage bedrooms, rehearsal rooms and music studios. Earlier examples where certainly even more tremendous. The impact of jazz music goes far ahead of the sixties. The term Mod, naming the famous british youth culture emerging in the late fifties, was referring to modernist, or Modern Jazz. Not only listening to jazz music, but also copying the modern fashion styles of jazz musicians, these european white kids where certainly deeply moved by black styles. The early sixties in Britain brought up a musical and thereby a cultural revolution. Young people with working class and lower middle class backgrounds started picking up american rhythm and blues music, copying it, and then to transform it into a new and unique form of british rhythm and blues music that electrified kids all over the globe to suggest new ways of being. Whereas most european efforts to imitate or to evolve afro-american music fell hopelessly short of their american role models, think of shitty UK house music, of euro dance, of german hip hop and disco music etc., this bands of the sixties really stated a difference, not forgetting the italians who really mastered their own form of disco music, but never really had a greater cultural impact. It may sound stupid, they are such an established part of our public awareness, of education, of delusion of the public, but The Beatles and even more The Rolling Stones had a incomparable revolutionary impact on global culture and global thinking. I'm not necessarily a fan of the music of The Rolling Stones, but on any account, they where the most revolutionary effective of all bands that touched the planet.
You can watch the films of the TV series for a few days after TV broadcasting. So be quick seeing it.
'British Blues Explosion' is a documentary on the appropriation of rhythm and blues music in the early sixties.
'Mods & Rockers' is a documentary on the myth of the hassle between mods and rockers. It's also giving an introduction into the mod culture.
I would like to especially recommend 'One Plus One', a film collage by Jean Luc Godard, encompassing very interesting footage of The Rolling Stones working out their song 'Sympathy for the Devil'.