Birmingham, The Music Capital

By Kanyi M

What do all these English cities have in common; Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, Southampton, Leeds, Birmingham, Leicester, and Swansea? They all have famous football clubs that are constantly vying for the title of Premier League champion: And they have famous musicians and bands.

John Lennon was born in Liverpool, Elton John is from Pinner, Mick jagger from Dartford, Ozzy Osbourne from Aston. And let’s not forget the other two trio members, Ian Brown and Nick McCabe.

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As we know, Birmingham, Brummies is the most storied city in all of England (but is nowhere on the world map). It has a powerful musical history. The names you hear in your ears or on your lips or TV or radio are Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Osbourn, Black Sabbath, UB40, The Charlatans, and Duran Duran.

Birmingham’s music scene is not entirely dominated by heavy rock bands. There is a distinctive Brummie sound of blues and soul, but rock rules the roost in Birmingham; The city that produced such bands as Muse, Ocean Colour Scene, and The Verve.

The perhaps most famous and influential band to emerge from Birmingham is the mighty Black Sabbath, who had their headquarters on Broad Street in the center of Birmingham in their early days. They soon moved on to London and Sid Vicious, but what happened in their former premises is a story for another day.

The ’60s were a turbulent and revolutionary time for young people worldwide, especially in England, where the decade started with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and a cultural shift towards social change. The music scene was decisively changing; African Americans’ psychedelic sound and soul grooves came over to England. An epic and memorable number to come out of this decade is “I feel Good” by James Brown. It was released in 1965 and is an essential part of the soundtrack to the ’60s.

The ’70s continued with blues and soul mixed with English psychedelic rock by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and T-Rex, who are now legends of the Birmingham music scene.

The ’80s saw a new wave of bands emerging from Birmingham; Duran Duran, UB40, Fine Young Cannibals, and The Human League made their marks on British popular music.

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The ’90s and ’00s were dominated by soul and funk bands such as Jamiroquai, Slaid Cleaves, The Roots, and the Fun Boy Three. They have to be heard to be believed!

The music capital of England; Birmingham. It is just one of the many cities of England that celebrates its musical heritage with pride.

How can it not? Its music scene is rich in every era, from blues and rock to soul and funk. Its musicians are at the top of their game; its bands are world-renowned known worldwide.