Music in Britain from 1920s to the Present Day

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In Music
  • Young people listened to ragtime and jazz.

    Young people listened to ragtime and jazz.
  • Swing became popular.

    Swing became popular.
    Benny Goodman and his Orchestra were the 'King of the Swing', as were Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. The music was fast and frantically paced and led to dances being banned from dance halls, as the young women being flung into the air by their partners showed their stocking tops and underwear. Jazz continued to be popular.
  • The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) dance music - boogie-woogie or jitterbug.

    The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) dance music - boogie-woogie or jitterbug.
    Dances were held in church halls, village halls, clubs, Air Force bases - everywhere! But slower, romantic songs were also popular as loved ones went away to fight, such as Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again' and the song about coming home again, 'The 'White Cliffs of Dover'.
  • Rock and Roll became very popular.

    Rock and Roll became very popular.
  • The Beatles began their career.

    The Beatles began their career.
    The Beatles moved through the late 1960s as favourites of the 'flower power' generation - many young people enjoyed 'hippie' music. Other teenagers preferred the music of the 'Mods' - ska music and The Who.
  • The first big new sound of the 1970s was “Glam Rock”.

    The first big new sound of the 1970s was “Glam Rock”.
    The main figures of this were David Bowie, Elton John and of course Gary Glitter. In the bleak political backdrop, these larger that life British bands and characters brought a welcome relief with their platform boots, sequins, nail varnish and colourful hair.
  • Punk

    Punk
    The punk movement of the late 1970s began in England. Great British bands of this scene were The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The Punk style was Mohicans, bondage clothes, safety pins, piercings and bovver boots.
  • The 1980s saw the rise of hip hop and rap music.

    The 1980s saw the rise of hip hop and rap music.
    With American influences powerful once again in the form of such groups as Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It also saw the rise and fall of the 'New Romantics', typified by groups like Adam and the Ants, who dressed as pirates and highway men and wore huge amounts of makeup.
  • Britpop

    Britpop
    This was the general name given in the 1990s to a new wave of successful British bands who made a big impact in the United States and Europe, as well as in England. The most successful have been Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Massive Attack and The Spice Girls.
  • Post-Britpop

    Post-Britpop
    Post-Britpop bands such as The Verve, Radiohead, and Travis were followed in the 2000s by acts including Snow Patrol, from Northern Ireland and Elbow, Doves and Keane from England. The most commercially successful band in the milieu were Coldplay, whose début album Parachutes (2000) went multi-platinum and helped make them one of the most popular acts in the world by the time of their second album A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002).
  • Heavy metal

    Heavy metal
    The term "retro-metal" has been applied to such bands as The Darkness, whose unique mix of glam rock and heavy riffs earned them a string of singles hits and a quintuple platinum album.Bullet for My Valentine, from Wales, broke into the top 5 in both the U.S. and British charts. Asking Alexandria's third studio album, From Death to Destiny, also debuted in the top five of the Billboard 200 during the week it was released.
  • Pop

    Pop
    In the early 2010s, the British boy and girl bands, The Wanted, One Direction, and Little Mix have experienced worldwide success, charting highly in Britain as well as North America.