to the Flytheflag Music section.
there's one area of modern life where the English
excel it's got to be music, particularly pop music.
England has probably produced more top quality
pop groups, bands and singers per head of population
than virtually any other country in the world.
The Americans may have started it all off with
greats like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Chuck
Berry but once the Beatles came along pop music
was changed for ever.
section is intended to be a quick reference point
for English music over the last forty or so years.
The A-Z guide printed below is limited to pop,
blues and rock music and there is no intention
to snub the influence of English musicians in
other areas of music, for example, classical and
jazz. Indeed, if anybody wishes to submit a guide
relating to these or other areas of music then
we will be only too pleased to consider them for
publication. Our guide is purely subjective and
clearly we have been unable to feature all the
greats. If you wish to submit your own list of,
for example, the top ten English (or British)
groups or singers of all time get writing and
send in your email to email@example.com.
here is the FlytheFlag A-Z of English music...
The Animals. A sixties band from
Newcastle featuring the distinctive vocals of
The Beatles. Who else? More superlatives
have been written about the Fab Four from Liverpool
than any other band in the history of music. The
music of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
and Ringo Starr quite simply changed the world.
Even, if you were not one of their biggest fans
the chances are you could still reel off at least
ten of their song titles and recognise a hundred
others. The Beatles were a worldwide musical and
social phenomenon and the band members (particularly
Lennon and McCartney) became the spokesmen of
Clapton. Eric Clapton that is, although
we could have chosen his old band Cream also featuring
Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. Old Slow Hand as
Clapton is known is widely regarded as one of
the greatest blues guitarists of his generation.
He's not a bad singer-songwriter either.
Doves. A classy contemporary outfit
from the north west of England proving that not
all great bands came from the sixties. Their last
couple of albums are in danger of becoming classics.
Electric Light Orchestra. A prolific
seventies band that owed its existence to the
sixties band the Move featuring Jeff Lynne, Bev
Bevan and Roy Wood although the latter only lasted
a year before going on to form Wizard. Jeff Lynne
went on to become one of the great influences
of contemporary English music and even found time
to join the Travelling Wilburys along with his
pals George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and
Fleetwood Mac - in their first incarnation
that is. Featuring the genius of Peter Green,
undoubtedly one of the great exponents of the
blues guitar. Featuring also Mick Fleetwood and
John and Christine McVie who demonstrated remarkable
longevity and adaptability when the band underwent
its metamorphosis in the seventies.
Genesis. One of the greats of stadium
rock and part of the aristocracy of English music.
Much loved by students in the seventies and equally
loved when the band became more centre stream
in the eighties and nineties. Both lead singers
- Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins- went on to achieve
significant solo success and Mike Rutherford achieved
success also with Mike and the Mechanics.
Human League. Phil Oakey and the girls,
from Sheffield hit the music scene in the early
eighties. Their star burned brightly for a few
years only but they became icons of their time.
Their most famous hit "Don't you want me?"
is even featured in a modern car commercial.
Idol, Billy Idol that is. The former
lead singer of the punk band Generation X moved
to the States and became a household name here
and there with classics like "White Wedding"
and "Rebel Yell".
The Jam. An excellent three piece
punk band featuring Paul Weller who went on to
greater things as a much respected soloist and
singer songwriter via The Style Council.
The Kinks. One of the finest bands
of the sixties and one of the greatest English
bands of all time. Purveyors of quintessentially
English pop music featuring the exquisite singing
and song writing of the great Ray Davies. Yes,
we like the Kinks!
Led Zeppelin. Now we're rocking! These
boys produced seriously powerful rock music on
a global scale. Regarded as the founding fathers
of heavy rock -later heavy metal. In Robert Plant
they had the blue print for a worldwide tribe
of long-haired screaming front men. In Jimmy Page
they had one of the greatest lead guitarists in
the world and though they were loud they could
tone it down a bit too when they felt like it.
M is for
Madness. The so-called nutty
sound, essential for parties or just as a pick
me up when you're feeling down.
New Order. One of Manchester's finest
-and there have been a few from this fine city
over the years- featuring the original singing
and song writing of Bernard Sumner. Melodic eighties
pop although the band are staging something of
a twenty first century revival.
is for Oasis. Another great Manchester band. Ignore
the hype and just listen to rock music as it was
meant to be. How many better rock albums are there
than "Definitely Maybe"? The Gallagher
brothers provide a fine blend of skilful song
writing and guitar play married to the perfect
voice of a genuine rock front man.
The Police. One of the all-time English
greats - even allowing for the fact that one of
the trio, Stewart Copeland, is American (so what,
Winston Churchill's mother was American too!).
This band had it all and though Sting got most
of the plaudits, and went on to have a brilliant
solo career, Copeland and Andy Summers certainly
did their bit in making The Police one of the
greatest bands of the seventies and eighties.
Queen. One of the biggest bands of
the seventies featuring one of music's most colourful
and charismatic lead singers, Freddy Mercury.
Innovative pop music and some anthemic rock numbers
characterised this fine band.
Rolling Stones, of course! Contemporaries
and rivals of the Beatles in the early sixties
they just kept (and keep) on going. How do they
do it? How old is Mick Jagger? How does he pull
so many beautiful women? So many classics from
a band simply referred to by many as the greatest
rock and roll band of all time.
Squeeze. Another quintessentially
English band who hit the big time in the seventies
and kept on going through the excellent song writing
skills of Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford. Great
lyricists, they never seemed to get the popular
acclaim that their exceptional talents demanded
and surprisingly appeared to make a more lasting
impression across the pond.
10cc. A hugely successful seventies
band from Manchester. Had a string of sharp and
often witty hits penned by the two singer song
writers Eric Stewart and the improbably named
UB40. A mixed-race band from Birmingham
they had a string of catchy reggae hits in the
eighties. Got their name from the old unemployment
Vicious. Sid Vicious that is, ex-guitarist
with the Sex Pistols. One of the great exponents
of punk rock and a band that said, somewhat bluntly,
what many youngsters were feeling in the seventies.
The Who. What a great band! Started
life in the sixties (was there ever a more fertile
decade for music?) as multi-talented London mods
and like the Rolling Stones seemed to get bigger
as time went by. Achieved great musical fame on
a world wide scale.
XTC. Started life in the seventies
and had a few hits in that decade and the next.
Came from the south-west and were another band
with a quintessentially English sound. Never got
the recognition that their talented song writers
Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding deserved.
Yes. Progressive rockers and like
Genesis beloved of students in the seventies.
Well served by the skilful and flamboyant skills
of Rick Wakeman on keyboards.
The Zombies. Another sixties band
featuring the skills of Rod Argent on keyboard
and the angel-like singing of Colin Blunstone
on lead vocals.
that's it. As we said earlier it's entirely subjective
and some difficult choices had to be made. Still,
we hope you enjoyed it. Don't forget, if you want
to make your own contribution then send us an
listing your favourite bands and we'll endeavour
to publish it.