Famous Birmingham Bands

Famous Birmingham Bands

Birmingham has produced some of the biggest bands the world has ever seen, emanating from one of the UK's most vibrant music scenes. Here at Guitar Lessons Solihull, we love inspiring our students with stories of those artists who have made it massive after starting here in Birmingham, the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest,  Duran Duran, Ocean Colour Scene, The Streets and The Twang all having done so. We have compiled a little bit about some of Birmingham's most successful artists, enjoy!

Black Sabbath formed in 1968 are the fathers of heavy metal, ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Band of All Time". Having sold over 70 million records worldwide the band originally took their name from 1963 Boris Karloff horror film Black Sabbath and were inspired to write music, as a backlash against the flowery 60s hippy music, laid end with evil and horror. Releasing a self-titled debut album in 1970 reaching number 8 in the UK album charts it was the band's second album that stole the limelight. Paranoid was a UK sensation, reaching no. 1 in the UK album charts and confirming the emergence of a new bread of rock. A massive sixteen more studio albums have recorded since, with Black Sabbath touring the world several times over during the last forty years. Perhaps one of the most significant bands of all time, they stand for what is great about Birmingham's awesome music scene.

UB40 started their gigging life in Birmingham's Hare and Hounds music venue, going on to sell over 70 million records. Formed in 1978 the band's mixture of reggae, ska and pop have entertained audiences worldwide. UB40 have also managed to register over 50 entries on the UK singles chart making the band one the UK's most successful reggae groups of all time. Hits including Red Red Wine and Can't Help Falling in Love help build the bands international reputation bring the members millions of pounds worth of income, nonetheless despite the international fame four of the band we declared bankrupt in 2011 damaging the bands reputation. 

Duran Duran, formed in Birmingham in 1978 rapidly grew to become one of the biggest bands worldwide in the 80s with the hit albums Duran Duran (1981), Rio (1982) and Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983). Their sharp MTV video image combined with the new romantic musical style to produce a distinct sound and movement that captivated audiences in the UK and America. Selling over 100 million records, with multiple top ten hits, the original Birmingham band reformed in 2000 to the excitement of many fans. The subsequent world tour saw the band play to sold-out audiences of thousands across America and Australia and as of early 2013, the Duran Duran plans to re-enter the studio for their fourteenth studio album.

The Streets, fronted by Mike Skinner were one of the UK foremost hip-hop and garage bands between 1994 and 2011. Formed by Skinner in the mid-90s The Streets worked with several artists, including Jonny Drum Machine and Kevin Mark Trail, to produce the sound that fans of The Streets instantly recognize. Original Pirate Material (2000), The Streets debut album won widespread critical acclaim selling 1 million records worldwide and being dubbed by the NME as the 46 best albums of all time. Let's Push Things Forward the albums most popular track encapsulated the albums ideology, moving UK garage back into the mainstream. The Streets 2004 release, A Grand Don't Come For Free confirmed The Streets as international musicians selling 3 million albums worldwide and reaching no. 1 in the UK album charts. The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living (2006), The Streets second UK no. 1 album and one of the shortest no. 1 album in history at just 37 minutes 12 seconds was supported by a sold-out world tour. Yet the album marked the start of a gradual decline of The Streets from the international stage, with their two next albums only scoring negligible sales - in 2011 the Streets played their final gig closing a chapter on one of the most successful UK garage bands in history. Perhaps we will see them again in the coming years, who knows.    

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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