An A to Z of Britpop

Writing in The Guardian in 2014, columnist Michael Han dismissed Britpop as “A cultural abomination that set music back”, reasoning that it’s downfall was “a slavish devotion to a set of signifiers that included 60s music, mod fashion, football, and intoxication.”

Well, two fingers up to him, we’re sticking our Fred Perry on, reaching for a bottle or three of Hooch and cranking up the tunes as we discover the best bits of Britpop, from A to Z.

A is for The Auteurs – frontman Luke Haines wrote two incredibly funny novels based on his experiences whilst fronting a band widely credited with unwittingly helping to create Britpop itself. Their album New Wave is a minor classic.

B is for Blur – If Modern Life is Rubbish started it, Parklife made it, before The Great Escape finished it.

C is for Creation Records – Alan McGee’s label discovered Oasis after bringing us Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub and The Jesus & Mary Chain.

D is for Denim – Formed by Lawrence of Felt, Denim were decidedly anti-Britpop, whilst being sort of really good at it.

E is for Elastica – Justine Frischmann went out with both you-know-who and then you-know-who, but Elastica’s self-titled debut album was a bona fide classic of its own.

F is for Super Furry Animals – the Welsh quartet reckoned they were never really a part of it – but still managed to make of the period’s best albums with their debut Fuzzy Logic.

G is for Gene – Once named by Morrissey as his new favourite band when that was still a thing you wanted, both Gene’s debut Olympian and it’s hugely underrated (We reckon) follow up Drawn To The Deep End are well worth some of your time.

H is for Heavy Stereo – released their solitary album with Déjà Voodoo, and guitarist Gem Archer would go on to join Oasis.

I is for I Should Coco – Supergrass burst onto the scene (well, sort of, they’d also been called the Jennifers before that) and Caught By The Fuzz and Man Size Rooster brought everyone to the yard.

J is for James – James have never fitted into anyone’s box, have they? But they bookended things with 1993’s Laid and then 1997’s She’s A Star, both exercises in band redemption and reinvention.

K is for Knebworth – A coronation held over two nights in summer 1996, Oasis played live to quarter of a million people in what was the outdoor musical event of the decade.

L is for Longpigs – From Sheffield not Shoreditch, the Longpigs featured the one and only Richard Hawley on guitar and in She Said, wrote a track you could scream your alcopops out onto the dancefloor to.

M is for Menswear – Suited, booted, recruited, and then quickly muted, the Camden scenester’s only album was good, but nowhere near good enough to sustain the hype.

N is for Northern Uproar – Four oiks from Stockport, their first single Rollercoaster was co-produced by James Dean Bradfield. That’s it, really.

O is for – Oasis Who else? Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory were two of the definitive albums of the time, the latter selling like hot cakes on release and going on to be the fourth best selling album in British chart history.

P is for Pulp – If Britpop was a moment, it was Jarvis Cocker leading the Glastonbury crowd of 1995 through an ecstatic, joyous version of Common People, from their wonderful album Different Class.

R is for Rockfield Studios – The Welsh recording venue played host to some of the era’s most famous acts, including Oasis, Lush, The Boo Radleys, The Bluetones and Teenage Fanclub.

S is for Suede – Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler were arguably the writing partnership of their generation and the former’s Bowie-esque polysexuality also made him a hit with the boys who did girls who did girls like their boys.

T is for These Animal Men – Initially in the New Wave of New Wave gang, the Brighton quartet made some good early noise with Speed King, from the thrills n’ pills of their first EP Too Sussed.

U is for Underworld – and if Britpop was a film, it was Trainspotting. With its “Lager, lager lager” refrain, Born Slippy was the track you could rave and yob to simultaneously.

V is for Vauxhall and I – In amongst all the madness, Morrissey learned himself some new tricks and made the solo album of his career.

W is for Wake Up Boo! – There were so many great songs, but the Boo Radley’s Wake Up Boo! Had the intro, the chorus, the brass and the sunshine we all loved at the time.

X is for XFM, the radio station which began broadcasting as an alternative to nighttime British Radio 1 in the early 90’s from founder Sammy Jacob’s bedroom in Hackney.

Y is for Yanks Go Home – Made In Britain, the article in September 1993’s Select which first put down the movement’s ethos into the printed word for all to see and featured Suede, St. Etienne, The Auteurs, Pulp and Denim.

Z is for Gorkis Zygotic Mynci - Cool Cymru pioneers (As opposed to the popular strapline of the time Cool Britannia) their 1992 EP Patio was recorded when the band were teenagers and was once described by John Cale as his favourite ever album. Phew!

Well we got there at last. Sure as Eggs we will have missed some Gems, let us know about your Britpop Gems in the comments below!


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