In honor of London hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 200th Anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth (okay so technically it was back in February), below is a mix honoring the music of the last quarter century that blasted through the City Dickens and The Empire made famous. (In addition, some weeks (perhaps months, oops) back, I promised a friend a mix detailing the evolution and diversity of Brit-Pop. Better late than never right?)
Before, I provide a link to the mix a couple of quick notes and observations:
- Despite the aggressive title, not all the artists are from London. A large number hail from that Northern Industrial town of Manchester. One is of Irish descent. Guess who?
- Some choices may seem oddly placed given the focus is on “pop.” Let me defend my inclusion of Elvis Costello, The Clash, and Joy Division as essential bands in tracing the evolution from the British Rock of the Beatles and the Stones into the Brit Pop made famous by bands like the Smiths, the Cure, James, etc. The Clash were a crazy forward thinking “punk” band not tied to a limited conception of what “punk rock” could be. Elvis Costello’s rockabilly flair and soulful numbers inspired bands to look back to Rock’s roots for hip-shaking dance tunes. Joy Division was a band so ahead of its time, they gave rise to many different strains of British music and artists that would help redefine both popular and eventually dance music in the UK (see New Order and the Happy Mondays).
- The mix starts in a historical/evolutionary fashion but quickly (d)evolves into a traditional mix, songs chosen for their mood, tempo, and relationship to each other.
- I have generally attempted to steer toward the more “upbeat” and less introspective tracks of the Brit-Pop canon.
- Sarcasm, irony, wit, cheekiness and double entendre run rampant throughout these songs.
- The Smiths and New Order figure quite extensively in this mix. To me, there is no question they were (next to Joy Division) the most important bands that came out of the UK in the 1980s.
- Any compilation is always going have gaps. Feel free to suggest additional bands and songs I’ve omitted.
I hope you enjoy.
In honor of London and the beautiful misery and mayhem composed by the some of the finest tunesmiths and songwriters of the British Isles!
What are you waiting for?
Listen here to Relegate* London!
from the boy with the thorn in his side,
*N.B. For the non-football (aka soccer) fans in the crowd, “relegation” is the term used when the worst ranked teams in the English Premier League are “demoted” to the division below. (Conversely, “promotion” is the term for the top ranked teams being moved to a higher division.)
Those who feel the breath of sadness, Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness, Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous, Sit down next to me
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears,. . . in sympathy