The 90s era was a golden period for the music industry. Each day witnessed a new band or solo artist jumping into the scene with new music and talent. Even though much of it was going in different parts of the world such as America but Britain was not far behind either. It produced and introduced some of the most famous bands that are even popular today. Their hits not only topped charts but also remain relevant today. So let’s take a look at some of the top British bands of the 90s that gave the fans what they had wanted.
Arguably, the Oasis was one of the biggest bands of all time. Infact, they were the king of the Britpop scene. While their rivals Blur were considered “middle class”, Oasis was termed as a “working class” band. This was due to their overall personality along with lyrics and music. Although this list features a lot of popular Britpop bands from the 90s, but none were bigger than Oasis.
Their album “Definitely Maybe” was the fastest-selling album of all time. Following the album, another was released titled “What’s the Story, Morning Glory?” In total, the band has managed to sell over 75 million records worldwide and is termed one of the most successful bands of all time.
The band was run by the Gallagher brothers who were also the driving force behind the band’s immense success. The two brothers were always known to have a contentious relationship. The rivalry between the brothers resulted in their split.
In 2009, the band had canceled their performance at the Rock en Seine festival. Noel claimed that Liam was hungover but in reality, Liam was diagnosed with laryngitis. Noel eventually apologized but it was too late since the band had already broken up.
Back in the 90s, the Britpop scene involved the battle between the top two bands. Formed in 1989, Blur was one of the biggest bands of the 90s across the world. However, the initial years were a bit difficult for them. The band was in a debt of 60,000 pounds, which forced them to tour America.
The band often got involved in altercations and also suffered from homesickness. As a result, the band wrote songs inspired by England. In addition to that, the inspiration also provided them their Britpop sound and identity. The years between 1992 and 1995 saw the band releasing hit after hit including “Country House”, “Park Life” and “Girls and Boy’s”.
The songs were such a hit that they became direct rivals to the Oasis to see who is the king of the Britpop scene. Amid their success, Blur used American Indie Rock as inspiration and released the classic “Song Number 2” in 1997. The song helped them achieve immense popularity and fame in America.
Manic Street Preachers
The Manic Street Preachers were formed in 1986 and are also the only non-English band featured in the list. Even though they were non-English, the band was a huge success during the Britpop era. Due to their lyrics, music, and videos, etc., the band was often controversial.
Originally, the band was headed by James Dean Bradfield as a trio. Later, Richey Edwards joined the band to make it a four-member group. The story of Edwards is an interesting one. He disappeared in 1995 and according to many, he had committed suicide. There were many reports of him being sighted around the world but the band with Edward’s permission continued their career.
Even though Edwards was no longer present, the band still set up a microphone for him and donated 25% of their royalties to Edward’s family. Having sold 10 million records worldwide, the band offered a different element and vibe to the Britpop scene of the 90s.
The Stone Roses
Although The Stone Roses were formed in the 80s but it burst into the limelight in the 90s with the release of their debut album “The Stone Roses”. Not only did it receive immense critical acclaim but also termed as one of the best British albums ever recorded.
However, soon after the release of their hit album, the band experienced some complications with their recording company. They were not impressed by the payment offered by the Silverstone Records and wanted to sign with Geffen Records. The protracted legal battle meant that the band could not produce and release music for years. As a result, many bands jumped into the scene while The Stone Roses remained halted.
Upon signing with Geffen Records, the band failed to remain active and spent most of their time watching football. Therefore, the company demanded that the band finish their second album. The band was not a big hit and acrimonious relationships within the band led to its split in 1996.
The year 2010 saw the band reforming and touring the world. Even though a third album was released but the band decided to break up for good in 2017.
The Pulp were known for their iconic Britpop song ‘Common People’ but many argue that the band was something much beyond the one-hit single everyone is familiar with. The band was formed in 1978, making them one of the oldest Britpop bands. Throughout the 80s, the band struggled with commercial success until finally achieving during the mid-90s.
The band’s singles ‘Common People’, ‘Sorted for E’s’ and Whizz reached number two on the charts. A major event that helped them add to their success was when they stepped in at the last minute at Glastonbury when The Stone Roses had called out.
The band broke up and reformed multiple times during their career. However, it was in 2012 that the band last performed and had no plans to either reform or record again.
The Verve were one of the most controversial and chaotic Britpop bands of the 90s. They were involved in multiple breakups and a long-standing plagiarism case. The Verve was formed in 1990 and featured an element of psychedelic rock in their music.
The band took off well at the start with the release of three singles landing number 1 on the UK indie charts. At the time, New York was experiencing a thriving psych-rock scene, offering plenty of support to the band as well. In 1997, the band released “Bitter Sweet Symphony” and by that time, it was the biggest band that year. The band had sought permission from Rolling Stone to use four bars of an orchestral version of their song “The Last Time”.
Although the band had no issues with The Verve but the recording company went after them. There were rumors about the band reforming in 2009 but until today, no concerts, tours, or songs have been released.
Each of the top British bands mentioned above played a crucial role in the Britpop scene of the 90s. However, their success did not come easy. While some had issues within the band, others were dealing with legal problems. As a result, most of them failed to survive. But overall, the splendid music era of the 90s wouldn’t be possible with these bands offering their fans something to listen to forever.