British Music 101 – A Primer

Haven’t posted in a while.  Been busy and not feeling too well, struggling through the toothache.  Had some uncomfortable swelling over the weekend that has largely subsided.  Just waiting for a little bit more crap to drain out of me head and I’ll be good.

Anyway…as a break from the random posts and the “I’m pissed off enough to write about this” posts I’m used to doing, I’m going to present more or less a list of the bands I would cover if I taught a unit on British rock and roll.  This isn’t meant to be definitive…but it’s a good primer.  Started when I wrote “Top 10 British Rock Bands” on a piece of paper…which promptly grew to 34 names.  Figured I couldn’t leave out some of the solo artists, just because they went by their own names…and it just seemed wrong to include Priest but not Sabbath…so I shifted gears to the subject as described.  I’ll justify some of them…but here’s the short list of what I figure I’d HAVE to get to if I were to teach about it.  Of course, no one’s asking me to do that, so this is irrelevant…but I didn’t spend that much time on it, so we’re good.


  1. The Beatles — Obviously.
  2. The Who
  3. The Rolling Stones
  4. Iron Maiden – Foundational to metal.
  5. Judas Priest – Even more-so.
  6. Queen – To this day, you still hear the “boom-boom-clap” of “We Will Rock You” at sporting events—and the nonexistent kids in my nonexistent class should know why.
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. The Sex Pistols – Basically the genesis of British punk.
  9. The Kinks
  10. Led Zeppelin
  11. Black Sabbath – Pretty much the blueprint for metal to come.  I’d also briefly discuss Ozzy and Dio’s solo careers as a part of discussing Sabbath, but I think Sabbath’s impact was much more vital than either of them was on their own, so they don’t get their own listing in the syllabus.
  12. U2 — Irish, but that counts if we’re talking about BRITAIN and not just England…and we are.
  13. Yes
  14. David Bowie – Because BOWIE.
  15. Deep Purple – A lot more vital in the history of both metal and prog-rock than people give them credit for.
  16. Motorhead – Where punk marries metal, you have Motorhead.  It’s a shame how often people want to overlook their HUGE contribution to the world of rock.
  17. Def Leppard
  18. The Clash – Though I blame them for the unfortunate Reggae vibe that came into both punk and new wave, I can live with that because of the importance of that transition and also of their first record.
  19. The Police – Eeeee-oh!
  20. Elvis Costello – Way more important than he gets credit for.  Just watch any retrospective on the early years of Saturday Night Live and you’ll get an impression of the cultural impact he had, which has been somehow slightly forgotten.  Though thankfully not entirely.
  21. Madness – Seriously.  There would be no ska as we know it if not for Madness.  Blessing and a curse, there…
  22. The Pogues – And I would also mention the Chieftains as a part of it, though they’re basically just folk.  The Pogues are a HUGE influence on a lot of acts.  If there were no Pogues, there’s no Flogging Molly, no Dropkick Murphys, and no…I don’t know…Pantera.  Okay.  Not Pantera…but I needed a third.
  23. Genesis – Particularly the Peter Gabriel years, though I mean that as no disrespect to the Collins era.  (Incidentally, this is another situation where I would discuss the frontmen’s careers as a part of the discussion of the band, but they would not get their own segments.)
  24. Oasis – Not a fan…but they kinda kept Brit Rock alive in the 90s.
  25. Radiohead – See Oasis.
  26. Coldplay – See Radiohead and Oasis, but in the 2000s.
  27. Cliff Richard – Seriously.  Google him.  FOUNDATIONAL to a lot of Brit rock.
  28. The Dave Clark Five – I fully maintain that if the Beatles hadn’t been around to do what they did, then SOMEONE still would have…and that someone would’ve been the Five.
  29. Eric Clapton – Blues meets Britain.
  30. Herman’s Hermits – Somewhat of a footnote…but an important footnote.
  31. Rod Stewart – …and yes, I’d mention the Faces.
  32. Elton John – I mean…come on.
  33. Mott the Hoople – Again, a little bit of a footnote but a hugely important one, especially in the Glitter/Glam medium.
  34. Eric Burdon and the Animals – I’d put them on par with Cliff Richard and The Dave Clark Five any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

…and I’m sure there’s some GLARING omission staring me in the face.  And someone’s shouting it at their computer screen right now.  Feel free to enlighten me.  🙂

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