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Britpop
Britpop
is a UK based music and culture movement in the mid 1990s which emphasised "Britishness", and produced brighter, catchier alternative rock, partly in reaction to the popularity of the darker lyrical themes of the US-led grunge music, an alternative rock genre, and to the UK's own shoegazing music scene.[1][2][3][4] The most successful bands linked with the movement are Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp; those groups would come to be known as its "big four".[5] The timespan of Britpop
Britpop
is generally considered to be 1993-1997, with 1994-1995, and a chart battle between Blur and Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop", being the epicentre of activity.[6] While music was the main focus, fashion, art, and politics also got involved, with artists such as Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst
being involved in creating videos for Blur, and being labelled as Britart
Britart
or Britpop
Britpop
artists,[7] and Tony Blair and New Labour
New Labour
aligning themselves with the movement.[8][9] Though Britpop
Britpop
is viewed as a marketing tool, and more of a cultural moment than a musical style or genre,[10] there are musical conventions and influences the bands grouped under the Britpop
Britpop
term have in common, such as showing elements from the British pop music
British pop music
of the Sixties, glam rock and punk rock of the Seventies, and indie pop of the Eighties in their music. Britpop
Britpop
was a media driven focus on bands which emerged from the independent music scene of the early 1990s—and was associated with the British popular cultural movement of Cool Britannia which evoked the Swinging Sixties
Swinging Sixties
and the British guitar pop music of that decade.[11][12][13] In the wake of the musical invasion into the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
by American grunge bands, new British groups such as Blur and Suede launched the movement by positioning themselves as opposing musical forces, referencing British guitar music of the past and writing about uniquely British topics and concerns. These bands were soon joined by others including Oasis, Pulp, the Verve, Supergrass, Cast, Space, Sleeper and Elastica. Britpop
Britpop
groups brought British alternative rock into the mainstream and formed the backbone of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. "The Battle of Britpop" brought Britpop
Britpop
to the forefront of the British press in 1995. By 1997, however, the movement began to slow down; many acts began to falter and break up.[14] The popularity of the pop group the Spice Girls
Spice Girls
"snatched the spirit of the age from those responsible for Britpop".[15] Although its more popular bands were able to spread their commercial success overseas, especially to the United States, the movement largely fell apart by the end of the decade.

Contents

1 Style, roots and influences 2 Origins and first years 3 "The Battle of Britpop" 4 Decline 5 Post-Britpop 6 Britpop
Britpop
revival 7 Bands associated with Britpop 8 References

Style, roots and influences[edit]

A reaction to the popularity of Nirvana and grunge music was a starting point for Britpop

Though Britpop
Britpop
is seen retrospectively as a marketing tool, and more of a cultural moment than a musical style or genre,[10][16][17] there are musical conventions and influences the bands grouped under the Britpop
Britpop
term have in common. Britpop
Britpop
bands show elements from the British pop music
British pop music
of the Sixties, glam rock and punk rock of the Seventies, and indie pop of the Eighties in their music, attitude, and clothing. Specific influences vary: Blur and Oasis drew from the Kinks and the Beatles, respectively, while Elastica
Elastica
had a fondness for arty punk rock. Regardless, Britpop
Britpop
artists project a sense of reverence for British pop sounds of the past.[18] Alternative rock
Alternative rock
acts from the indie scene of the Eighties and early Nineties were the direct ancestors of the Britpop
Britpop
movement. The influence of the Smiths is common to the majority of Britpop
Britpop
artists.[13] The Madchester
Madchester
scene, fronted by the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays
Happy Mondays
and Inspiral Carpets (for whom Oasis's Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
had worked as a roadie during the Madchester
Madchester
years), was an immediate root of Britpop
Britpop
since its emphasis on good times and catchy songs provided an alternative to the British-based shoegazing and American based grunge styles of music.[19] Local identity and regional British accents are common to Britpop groups, as well as references to British places and culture in lyrics and image.[10] Stylistically, Britpop
Britpop
bands use catchy hooks and lyrics that were relevant to young British people of their own generation.[19] Britpop
Britpop
bands conversely denounced grunge as irrelevant and having nothing to say about their lives. Damon Albarn of Blur summed up the attitude in 1993 when after being asked if Blur were an "anti-grunge band" he said, "Well, that's good. If punk was about getting rid of hippies, then I'm getting rid of grunge."[20] In spite of the professed disdain for the genres, some elements of both crept into the more enduring facets of Britpop. Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
has since championed Ride and stated in a 1996 interview that Nirvana's Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
was the only songwriter he had respect for in the last ten years, and that he felt their music was similar enough that Cobain could have written "Wonderwall".[21] The imagery associated with Britpop
Britpop
was equally British and working class. A rise in unabashed maleness, exemplified by Loaded magazine and lad culture in general, would be very much part of the Britpop era. The Union Jack
Union Jack
became a prominent symbol of the movement (as it had a generation earlier with mod bands such as The Who) and its use as a symbol of pride and nationalism contrasted deeply with the controversy that erupted just a few years before when former Smiths singer Morrissey
Morrissey
performed draped in it.[22] The emphasis on British reference points made it difficult for the genre to achieve success in the US.[23] Origins and first years[edit]

Select magazine's April 1993 issue emphasised "Great British pop"

Journalist John Harris has suggested that Britpop
Britpop
began when Blur's single "Popscene" and Suede's "The Drowners" were released around the same time in the spring of 1992. He stated, "[I]f Britpop
Britpop
started anywhere, it was the deluge of acclaim that greeted Suede's first records: all of them audacious, successful and very, very British".[24] Suede were the first of the new crop of guitar-orientated bands to be embraced by the UK music media as Britain's answer to Seattle's grunge sound. Their debut album Suede became the fastest-selling debut album in the history of the UK.[25] In April 1993, Select magazine
Select magazine
featured Suede's lead singer Brett Anderson on the cover with a Union Flag in the background and the headline "Yanks go home!". The issue included features on Suede, The Auteurs, Denim, Saint Etienne and Pulp and helped start the idea of an emerging movement.[1][26] Blur were involved in a vibrant social scene in London (dubbed "The Scene That Celebrates Itself" by Melody Maker) that focused on a weekly club called Syndrome in Oxford Street; the bands that met up were a mix of music styles, some would be labelled shoegazing, while others would go on to be part of Britpop.[27] The dominant musical force of the period was the grunge invasion from the United States, which filled the void left in the indie scene by The Stone Roses' inactivity.[26] Blur, however, took on an Anglocentric aesthetic with their second album Modern Life Is Rubbish
Modern Life Is Rubbish
(1993). Their new approach was inspired by a tour of the United States in the spring of 1992. During the tour, frontman Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn
began to resent American culture and found the need to comment on that culture's influence seeping into Britain.[26] Justine Frischmann, formerly of Suede and leader of Elastica
Elastica
(and at the time in a relationship with Damon Albarn) explained, "Damon and I felt like we were in the thick of it at that point ... it occurred to us that Nirvana were out there, and people were very interested in American music, and there should be some sort of manifesto for the return of Britishness."[28] John Harris wrote in an NME
NME
article just prior to the release of Modern Life is Rubbish, "[Blur's] timing has been fortuitously perfect. Why? Because, as with baggies and shoegazers, loud, long-haired Americans have just found themselves condemned to the ignominious corner labeled 'yesterday's thing'".[20] The music press also fixated on what the NME had dubbed the New Wave of New Wave, a term applied to the more punk-derivative acts such as Elastica, S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men. While Modern Life Is Rubbish
Modern Life Is Rubbish
was a moderate success, it was Blur's third album Parklife
Parklife
that made them arguably the most popular band in the UK in 1994.[25] Parklife
Parklife
continued the fiercely British nature of its predecessor, and coupled with the death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in April of that year it seemed that British alternative rock had finally turned back the tide of grunge dominance. That same year Oasis released their debut album Definitely Maybe, which broke Suede's record for fastest-selling debut album.[25][29] The term "Britpop" arose when the media were drawing on the success of British designers and films, the Young British Artists
Young British Artists
(sometimes termed "Britart") such as Damien Hirst, and on the mood of optimism with the decline of John Major's government, and the rise of the youthful Tony Blair
Tony Blair
as leader of the Labour Party.[30] The term had been used in the late 1980s in Sounds magazine by journalist John Robb to refer to bands such as The La's, The Stone Roses, and Inspiral Carpets.[citation needed] However, it would be 1994 before Britpop started to be used by the UK media in relation to contemporary music and events.[31] Bands emerged aligned with the new movement. At the start of 1995 bands including Sleeper, Supergrass, and Menswear scored pop hits.[32] Elastica
Elastica
released their debut album Elastica
Elastica
that March; its first week sales surpassed the record set by Definitely Maybe
Definitely Maybe
the previous year.[33] The music press viewed the scene around Camden Town as a musical centre; frequented by groups like Blur, Elastica, and Menswear; Melody Maker
Melody Maker
declared "Camden is to 1995 what Seattle
Seattle
was to 1992, what Manchester
Manchester
was to 1989, and what Mr Blobby
Mr Blobby
was to 1993."[34] "The Battle of Britpop"[edit]

The UK media were excited by the chart battle between Oasis and Blur

A chart battle between Blur and Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop" brought Britpop
Britpop
to the forefront of the British press in 1995. The bands had initially praised each other but over the course of the year antagonisms between the two increased.[35] Spurred on by the media, the groups became engaged in what the NME
NME
dubbed on the cover of its 12 August issue the "British Heavyweight Championship" with the pending release of Oasis' single "Roll with It", and Blur's "Country House" on the same day. The battle pitted the two bands against each other, with the conflict as much about British class and regional divisions as it was about music.[36] Oasis were taken as representing the North of England, while Blur represented the South.[26] The event caught the public's imagination and gained mass media attention in national newspapers, tabloids, and even the BBC
BBC
News. The NME
NME
wrote about the phenomenon, "Yes, in a week where news leaked that Saddam Hussein was preparing nuclear weapons, everyday folks were still getting slaughtered in Bosnia and Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson
was making his comeback, tabloids and broadsheets alike went Britpop
Britpop
crazy."[37] Blur won the battle of the bands, selling 274,000 copies to Oasis' 216,000 - the songs charting at number one and number two respectively.[38] However, in the long run Oasis became more commercially successful than Blur. Unlike Blur, Oasis were able to achieve sustained sales in the United States thanks to the singles "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova".[39] Oasis's second album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) eventually sold over four million copies in the UK, becoming the third best-selling album in British history.[40] These subsequent successes led some members of the press to state in later years that Oasis "lost the battle but won the war." By the summer of 1996 Oasis's prominence was such that NME
NME
termed a number of Britpop
Britpop
bands (including The Boo Radleys, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as "Noelrock", citing Gallagher's influence on their success.[41] John Harris typified this wave of Britpop
Britpop
bands, and Gallagher, of sharing "a dewy-eyed love of the 1960s, a spurning of much beyond rock's most basic ingredients, and a belief in the supremacy of 'real music'".[42] Starting on 10 August 1996, Oasis played a two-night set at Knebworth to a combined audience of 250,000 people, with one journalist commenting; "(Knebworth) could be seen as the last great Britpop
Britpop
performance; nothing after would match its scale."[43][44] The demand for these gigs was and still is the largest ever for a concert on British soil; over 2.6 million people had applied for tickets.[44] Decline[edit]

Oasis playing live

Oasis' third album Be Here Now (1997) was highly anticipated. Despite initially attracting positive reviews and selling strongly, the record was soon subjected to strong criticism from music critics, record-buyers and even Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
himself for its overproduced and bloated sound. Music critic Jon Savage pinpointed Be Here Now as the moment where Britpop
Britpop
ended; Savage said that while the album "isn't the great disaster that everybody says," he noted that "[i]t was supposed to be the big, big triumphal record" of the period.[26] At the same time, Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn
sought to distance Blur from Britpop
Britpop
with the band's self-titled fifth album, Blur (1997).[45] On guitarist Graham Coxon's suggestion, Blur moved away from their Parklife-era sound, and their music began to assimilate American lo-fi influences, particularly that of Pavement. Albarn explained to the NME
NME
in January 1997 that "We created a movement: as far as the lineage of British bands goes, there'll always be a place for us", but added, "We genuinely started to see that world in a slightly different way."[46] As the movement began to slow down, many acts began to falter and broke up.[14] The popularity of the pop group the Spice Girls
Spice Girls
has been seen as having "snatched the spirit of the age from those responsible for Britpop."[15] While established acts struggled, attention began to turn to the likes of Radiohead
Radiohead
and The Verve, who had been previously overlooked by the British media. These two bands—in particular Radiohead—showed considerably more esoteric influences from the 1960s and 1970s that were uncommon among earlier Britpop
Britpop
acts. In 1997, Radiohead
Radiohead
and The Verve
The Verve
released their respective efforts OK Computer and Urban Hymns, both of which were widely acclaimed.[14] Post-Britpop
Post-Britpop
bands like Travis, Stereophonics
Stereophonics
and Coldplay, influenced by Britpop
Britpop
acts, particularly Oasis, with more introspective lyrics, were some of the most successful rock acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s.[47] Post-Britpop[edit] Main article: Post-Britpop

This section should include only a brief summary of Post-Britpop. See Wikipedia:Summary style for information on how to properly incorporate it into this article's main text. (January 2018)

Coldplay, the most commercially successful post- Britpop
Britpop
band to date, on stage in 2008.[48]

After Britpop
Britpop
the media focused on bands that may have been established acts, but had been over-looked due to focus on the Britpop movement. Bands such as Radiohead
Radiohead
and The Verve, and new acts such as Travis, Stereophonics, Feeder and particularly Coldplay, achieved wider international success than most of the Britpop
Britpop
groups that had preceded them, and were some of the most commercially successful acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s.[49][50][51][52] These bands avoided the Britpop
Britpop
label while still producing music derived from it.[49][53] Bands that had enjoyed some success during the mid-1990s, but were not really part of the Britpop
Britpop
scene, included The Verve
The Verve
and Radiohead.[49] The music of most bands was guitar based,[54][55] often mixing elements of British traditional rock (or British trad rock),[56] particularly the Beatles, Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
and Small Faces[57] with American influences. Post-Britpop
Post-Britpop
bands also utilized specific elements from 1970s British rock and pop music.[55] Drawn from across the United Kingdom, the themes of their music tended to be less parochially centred on British, English and London life, and more introspective than had been the case with Britpop
Britpop
at its height.[55][58][59][60] This, beside a greater willingness to woo the American press and fans, may have helped a number of them in achieving international success.[50] They have been seen as presenting the image of the rock star as an ordinary person, or "boy-next-door"[54] and their increasingly melodic music was criticised for being bland or derivative.[61] The cultural and musical scene in Scotland, dubbed "Cool Caledonia" by some elements of the press,[62] produced a number of successful alternative acts, including The Supernaturals from Glasgow.[63] Travis, also from Glasgow, were one of the first major rock bands to emerge in the post- Britpop
Britpop
era,[49][64] and have been credited with a major role in disseminating and even creating the subgenre of post-Britpop.[65][66] From Edinburgh Idlewild, more influenced by post-grunge, produced 3 top 20 albums, peaking with The Remote Part (2002).[67] The first major band to breakthrough from the post-Britpop Welsh rock scene, dubbed "Cool Cymru",[62] were Catatonia, whose single "Mulder and Scully" (1998) reached the top ten in the UK, and whose album International Velvet (1998) reached number one, but they were unable to make much impact in the US and, after personal problems, broke up at the end of the century.[52][68] Other Welsh bands were Stereophonics,[69][70] and Feeder.[71][72] These acts were followed by a number of bands who shared aspects of their music, including Snow Patrol, from Scotland and Elbow, Embrace, Starsailor, Doves, Electric Pyramid and Keane from England.[49][73] The most commercially successful band in the milieu were Coldplay, whose debut album Parachutes (2000) went multi-platinum and helped make them one of the most popular acts in the world by the time of their second album A Rush of Blood to the Head
A Rush of Blood to the Head
(2002).[48][74] Bands like Coldplay, Starsailor and Elbow, with introspective lyrics and even tempos, began to be criticised at the beginning of the new millennium as bland and sterile[75] and the wave of garage rock or post-punk revival bands, like the Hives, the Vines, the Libertines, the Strokes, the Black Keys and the White Stripes, that sprang up in that period were welcomed by the musical press as "the saviours of rock and roll".[76] However, a number of the bands of this era, particularly Travis, Stereophonics
Stereophonics
and Coldplay, continued to record and enjoy commercial success into the new millennium.[48][70][77] The idea of post- Britpop
Britpop
has been extended to include bands originating in the new millennium, including Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party,[78] seen as a "second wave" of Britpop".[50] These bands have been seen as looking less to music of the 1960s and more to 1970s punk and post-punk, while still being influenced by Britpop.[78] Retrospective documentaries on the movement include The Britpop
Britpop
Story – a BBC
BBC
programme presented by John Harris on BBC
BBC
Four in August 2005 as part of Britpop
Britpop
Night, ten years after Blur and Oasis went head-to-head in the charts,[79][80] and Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop, a 2003 documentary film written and directed by John Dower. Both documentaries include mention of Tony Blair
Tony Blair
and New Labour's efforts to align themselves with the distinctly British cultural resurgence that was underway, as well Britpop
Britpop
artists such as Damien Hirst.[81] Britpop
Britpop
revival[edit] Britpop
Britpop
revival or Britpop
Britpop
revivalists[82] is an alternative rock subgenre and is the period following Britpop
Britpop
in the early 2010s, when the media were identifying a "new generation" of guitar bands influenced by acts like Oasis and Blur. With the disappearance of bands like Oasis and Blur in the 2000s, the beginning and middle of the 2010s saw the emergence of the first bands of the Britpop
Britpop
revival. The band Viva Brother (formerly called Brother) which formed in 2010, was named by magazines like NME
NME
and The Guardian as the first band of the Britpop
Britpop
revival.[83] In 2011, they released their first LP Famous First Words.[84] Other bands that appeared were All the Young,[85] Superfood,[86] Peace,[87] DMA's,[82] and The Creasers.[88] Bands associated with Britpop[edit]

This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this section to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (February 2016)

Main article: List of Britpop
Britpop
musicians

Ash[3][89] Black Grape[89] Blur[89] The Boo Radleys[89] Cast[89] The Divine Comedy Elastica[89] Kula Shaker[89] Oasis[89] Ocean Colour Scene[89] Pulp[89] Shed Seven[89] Sleeper[89] Suede[89] Supergrass[89]

Timeline

References[edit]

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Sources

Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X. Harris, John. "Modern Life is Brilliant!" NME. 7 January 1995. Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures, 2004. Till, Rupert. "In my beautiful neighbourhood: local cults of popular music". Pop Cult. London: Continuum, 2010.

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