It’s 20 years since Britpop exploded into our consciousness, like an Indie WMD. Tied in with a time when Britain was seen as ultra cool, these bands combined effortless guitar based pop, with a super charged vibe of hipness.
We all remember Blur and Oasis – but there were some other class acts you may well have forgotten about. Here are 15 of them, and when you hear the songs, you’ll love to revisit their albums too.
A brilliant, brilliant punk inspired band from the North East – who had a pretty decent hit single “Punka”. Eagle eyed readers will notice their lead singer was Lauren Laverne, who is now a journalist and radio presenter. They were a great band that should have lasted a bit longer than they did.
They had one fairly major album and a few decent hit singles off it, including this one – Tattva – probably their best known. Fascinating factoid is that lead singer Crispian Mills is the son of famous actress Hayley Mills and grandson of the late Sir John Mills.
One of the very great forgotten acts – they had a brilliant debut album “The Sun is often Out” a few singles, then disappeared without trace. This is the best song from the album and well worth a revisit
In their heyday during the mid 90’s Macclesfield based band Marion had a barnstorming hit single called “Sleep”, featured here. It was so good, it got featured on a Citroen car advert and the band raked in the money. Their debut album, “This World and Body” is 20 years old this year. Sadly, lead singer Jaime Harding’s drug addiction overshadowed any future work – but this year they’re reuniting again for a short tour.
Liverpool based Space were a band you’ll probably not remember until you hear the opening bars of the above track, then it’ll all come flooding back like a glorious technicolour dream. “Female of the Species” was a big hit for them, and justifiably so.
This song, by Babybird, did end up a bit overplayed (like Supergrasses “Alright”) but it’s worth revisiting now as it’s stood the test of time. Lots of people think they were a one hit wonder, but they’d had a great career before this big hit.
OK, so slightly stretching the Britpop thing – as this was very early 90s, but it’s worth including as they were a supergroup featuring Johnny Marr, Barney Sumner and in this song Neil Tennant on backing vocals. One of the great 90s hits that everyone forgets about!
“What on earth is that dreadful racket?” said everyone’s Dad when Bis made their debut on TOTP in 1996 with their hit “KandyPop”. They had a glorious moment of stardom and then seemingly disappeared. One of the coolest acts to come out of Scotland during the Britpop era.
Sticking with the Scottish theme – Urusei Yatsura were a great Glaswegian band that should have been much bigger than they were. Kewpies was a smashing track and – another interesting Factoid, they were managed by Alex Kapranos who is now in Franz Ferdinand
Oh, how we loved Mansun. From Chester, they were one of the best best best Britpop bands that made it big, but should have made it bigger. Wide Open Space is still a classic and fans will be glad to know lead singer Paul Draper is now embarking on a solo career!
Something of a one hit wonder – Geneva’s songs were punctuated by ethereal vocals and had a real charm about them, pity they get sadly overlooked as they were a gem of a band.
The very definition of a one hit wonder – White Town released this one EP and then never bothered the charts ever again. It made number one though, which was a great feat. Factoid for indie fans – the trumpet sample throughout the song comes from an Al Bowlly number from the 1930s called “My Woman”.
Republica – they were ready to go and then they went. After a pretty successful run of chart hits and a lead singer with a killer bob haircut, they sank without trace. They’re now back together and can often be seen headlining Indie Weekenders and festivals IN A TOWN NEAR YOU.
They wanted to do great things. They did. Diminutive lead singer Sonya Madan was a style icon for many Britpop chicks during the mid 90s and Echobelly were an underrated band!