The US and the UK have spent the last six decades swapping sound and cross pollinating music to give their worldwide contemporary audiences more than we could ever ask for. Until the early 1960s, the stream was mostly a one way flow with the music of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown, to name a few, watering the creative talents of such pioneers as McCartney and Lennon.
But it was the sounds of the Fab Four reaching the ears of teenagers in the United States, that started an entirely new chapter in music making. It seemed as if a floodgate was opened that had been holding back the treasures of British artists from all over the United Kingdom. It may have just been the beginning, but fortunately for us, there is no end in sight.
Delving into the depths of what was once new, but now is old, take the Waterboys for an example. The plumbing has changed with no less than 56 turnovers in band members in the past 28 years, but the Scottish band continues to overfill auditoriums when playing live. Young or old, no one can forget “Fisherman’s Blues”.
The fact that a vibrant commercial rock and pop market exists and continues to be a major player in the international music industry is daily testimonial that your grandparents were on to something when they careened into the abyss that groups like the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits and the Dave Clark Five opened up.
Carrying the torch into previously dark territory a few more of my personal old-time favorites who still mess with my mind are Cream and Pink Floyd. Watching Eric Clapton perform gave him an indelible mark in my music psyche that goes back a few decades. Then I can’t finish this thought without mentioning Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues and Black Sabbath.
The Brits delivered and are still hitting the world stage with bands like Royal Blood. Since the name Clapton came up, then we must be talking riffs – if you want riffs, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood can pull them out all night long. Like their forerunners they carry the essence of Sabbath and Zeppelin. Keeping it real, keeping it alive.
Never forgetting their roots, but emerging as the unique expression they are reminding us that not all British rock boils down to guitar rock and Beatles haircuts. A group to keep an ear on with their electropop sound is Chvrches. Lauren Mayberry brings a fire to the stage encompassed in her delivery of what some term as melancholy.
This is a band that has gotten the reputation of thinking too much and cutting the fun short when making music. This writer disagrees. Certainly a mood music, and not something I want to listen to all day long, but nonetheless, rich and deep stuff. They use their music to reach an audience that needs to hear some stark truths about the environmental condition of the world. They do it through the environmental world of moods and emotions and can get very primal and tribal in their delivery.
Mumford & Sons
Recently playing in my back yard of Red Rocks, Colorado I can’t forget to mention Mumford & Sons. During the past 10 years this British group has brought American Country/ British Pop to appreciative audiences and Mumfs wanna bees like none other. Their combination of folk revival and pop music, rock and dance has put a fresh spin on all the above. Now taking on a whiff of indie rock, we’ll listen up for what they can bring to the stage over the next 10 years.
There are so many artist left unnamed in this small article, I could go on for days and probably miss more than I write about, but for now I’ve got some music to listen to and some kicking back to do.
Who are some of your favorites – old and new British artists? Leave a comment below and tell us something we all should know.