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Not to be confused with Bitpop.


Alternative rock, Madchester,Baggy, glam


rock, power pop,punk rock, baroque pop,mod



Early 1990s, United Kingdom



Vocals, electric guitar, electric bass, drums,







New wave of new wave

Regional scenes

England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland

Other topics

Bands - Cool Britannia -Timeline of alternative rock

Britpop is a subgenre of rock and pop music that originated in the United Kingdom. Britpop
emerged from the Britishindependent music scene of the early 1990s and was
characterised by bands influenced by British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s and
indie rock from the 1980s, notably The Smiths.[1] Britpop focused on bands, singing in
regional British accents and making references to British places and culture, particularly
working class culture. The movement developed as a reaction against various musical and
cultural trends in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly the grunge phenomenon from
the United States.
In the wake of the musical invasion into the United Kingdom of American grunge bands,
new British groups such asSuede and Blur launched the movement by positioning
themselves as opposing musical forces, referencing British guitar music of the past and

writing about uniquely British topics and concerns. These bands were soon joined by others
including Oasis, The Verve, Pulp, Placebo, Supergrass, Cast, Space, Sleeper and Elastica.
Britpop groups brought British alternative rock into the mainstream and formed the
backbone of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. A chart battle
between Blur and Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop" brought Britpop to the forefront of
the British press in 1995. By 1997, however, the movement began to slow down, many acts
began to falter and broke up.[2] The popularity of the pop group the Spice Girls captured the
"spirit of the age from those responsible for Britpop."[3] Although its more popular bands
were able to spread their commercial success overseas, especially to the United States,
the movement largely fell apart by the end of the decade.

1 Style, roots and influences

2 History
o 2.1 Origins and first years
o 2.2 Peak of success
o 2.3 Decline
3 See also
4 References
5 Footnotes
6 External links

Style, roots and influences[edit]

The Stone Roses playing live.

Britpop bands were influenced by British guitar music of the past, particularly movements
and genres such as the British Invasion, glam rock, and punk rock. Specific influences
varied: Blur and Oasis drew from The Kinks and The Beatles, respectively, while Elastica
had a fondness for arty punk rock. Regardless, all Britpop artists projected a sense of
reverence for the sounds of the past.[4]
Alternative rock acts from the 1980s and early 1990s indie scene were the direct ancestors
of the Britpop movement. The influence of The Smiths was common to the majority of
Britpop artists.[5] The Madchester scene, fronted by The Stone Roses,Happy
Mondays and Inspiral Carpets (for whom Oasis's Noel Gallagher had worked as a roadie
during the Madchester years), was the immediate root of Britpop since its emphasis on
good times and catchy songs provided an alternative to the alternative rock style known
as shoegazing.[6]
Britpop groups were defined by being focused on bands rather than solo artists; having
drums/bass/guitar/vocals (and sometimes keyboards) line-ups; writing original material and
playing instruments themselves; singing in regional British accents; references to British
places and culture in lyrics and image; and fashion consciousness.[7] Stylistically, Britpop
bands relied on catchy hooks and wrote lyrics that were meant to be relevant to British

young people of their own generation.[6] Britpop bands conversely denounced grunge as
irrelevant and having nothing to say about their lives. Damon Albarn of Blur summed up the
attitude in 1993 when after being asked if Blur were an "anti-grunge band" he said, "Well,
that's good. If punk was about getting rid of hippies, then I'm getting rid of grunge."[8] In spite
of the professed disdain for the genres, some elements of both crept into the more
enduring facets of Britpop. Noel Gallagher has since championed Ride. Noel Gallagher
stated in a 1996 interview that Nirvana's Kurt Cobain was the only songwriter he had
respect for in the last ten years, and that he felt their music was similar enough that Cobain
could have written "Wonderwall".[9]
The imagery associated with Britpop was equally British and working class. Music critic Jon
Savage asserted that Britpop was "an outer-suburban, middle-class fantasy of central
London streetlife, with exclusively metropolitan models."[10] A rise in unabashed maleness,
exemplified by Loaded magazine and lad culture in general, would be very much part of the
Britpop era. The Union Jack also became a prominent symbol of the movement (as it had a
generation earlier with modbands such as The Who) and its use as a symbol of pride and
nationalism contrasted deeply with the controversy that erupted just a few years before
when former Smiths singer Morrissey performed draped in it.[11] The emphasis on British
reference points made it difficult for the genre to achieve success in the US.[12]

Origins and first years[edit]
The origins of Britpop lie primarily in the indie scene of the early 1990s, and in particular
around a group of bands involved in a vibrant social scene focused in theCamden
Town area of London. This scene was dubbed "The Scene That Celebrates Itself"
by Melody Maker.[13] Some members of this scene (Blur, Lush, Suede) would go on to play
a leading part in Britpop. Others such as Kingmaker, Slowdive, Spitfire and Ride would not.
The dominant musical force of the period was the grunge invasion from the United States,
which filled the void left in the indie scene by The Stone Roses' inactivity.[14]
Journalist John Harris has suggested that Britpop began when Blur's single "Popscene"
and Suede's "The Drowners" were released around the same time in the spring of 1992. He
stated, "[I]f Britpop started anywhere, it was the deluge of acclaim that greeted Suede's first
records: all of them audacious, successful and very, very British".[15] Suede were the first of
the new crop of guitar-orientated bands to be embraced by the UK music media as Britain's
answer to Seattle's grunge sound. Their debut album Suede became the fastest-selling
debut album in the history of the UK.[16] In April 1993, Select magazine featured Suede's
lead singer Brett Anderson on the cover with a Union Flag in the background and the
headline "Yanks go home!". The issue included features on Suede, The
Auteurs, Denim, Saint Etienne and Pulp and helped foment the idea of an emerging
Blur, a group that formerly mixed elements of shoegazing and baggy, took on an
Anglocentric aesthetic with their second album Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993). Blur's new
approach was inspired by their tour of the United States in the spring of 1992. During the
tour, frontman Damon Albarn began to resent American culture and found the need to
comment on that culture's influence seeping into Britain.[14] Justine Frischmann, formerly of
Suede and leader of Elastica (and at the time in a relationship with Damon Albarn)
explained, "Damon and I felt like we were in the thick of it at that point [. . .] it occurred to us
that Nirvana were out there, and people were very interested in American music, and there
should be some sort of manifesto for the return of Britishness."[17] John Harris wrote in
an NME article just prior to the release of Modern Life is Rubbish, "[Blur's] timing has been
fortuitously perfect. Why? Because, as with baggies and shoegazers, loud, long-haired
Americans have just found themselves condemned to the ignominious corner labeled
'yesterday's thing'".[8] The music press also fixated on what the NME had dubbed the New
Wave of New Wave, a term applied to the more punk-derivative acts such as
Elastica, S*M*A*S*H and These Animal Men.

While Modern Life Is Rubbish was a moderate success, it was Blur's third
album Parklife that made them arguably the most popular band in the UK in
1994.[16]Parklife continued the fiercely British nature of its predecessor, and coupled with
the death of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in April of that year it seemed that British alternative
rock had finally turned back the tide of grunge dominance. That same year Oasis released
their debut album Definitely Maybe, which broke Suede's record for fastest-selling debut
The movement was soon dubbed Britpop. The term "Britpop" had been used in the late
1980s (in Sounds magazine by journalist, Goldblade frontman and TV punditJohn
Robb referring to bands such as The La's, The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and The
Bridewell Taxis). "Britpop" arose around the same time as the term "Britart" (which referred
to the work of British modern artists such as Damien Hirst). However, it would not be until
1994 when the term entered the popular consciousness, being used extensively by the
music press and radio DJs.[19] A rash of bands emerged aligned with the new movement. At
the start of 1995 Britpop bands including Sleeper, Supergrass, and Menswear scored pop
hits.[20] Elastica released their debut album Elastica that March; its first week sales
surpassed the record set by Definitely Maybe the previous year.[21] The music press viewed
the scene around Camden Town as a musical centre; frequented by Britpop groups like
Blur, Elastica, and Menswear, Melody Maker declared "Camden is to 1995
what Seattle was to 1992, what Manchester was to 1989, and what Mr Blobby was to

Peak of success[edit]

Cover of the 12 August 1995 issue of NME advertising the "British Heavyweight Championship" battle
between Oasis and Blur

A chart battle between Blur and Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop" brought Britpop to the
forefront of the British press in 1995. The bands had initially praised each other but over the
course of the year antagonisms between the two increased.[23]Spurred on by the media, the
groups became engaged in what the NME dubbed on the cover of its 12 August issue the
"British Heavyweight Championship" with the pending release of Oasis' single "Roll With It",
and Blur's "Country House" on the same day. The battle pitted the two bands against each
other, with the conflict as much about British class and regional divisions as it was about
music.[24] Oasis were taken as representing the North of England, while Blur represented
the South.[14] The event caught the public's imagination and gained mass media attention in
national newspapers, tabloids, and even the BBC News. The NME wrote about the
phenomenon, "Yes, in a week where news leaked that Saddam Hussein was preparing
nuclear weapons, everyday folks were still getting slaughtered in Bosnia and Mike

Tyson was making his comeback, tabloids and broadsheets alike went Britpop
crazy."[25] Blur won the battle of the bands, selling 274,000 copies to Oasis' 216,000 - the
songs charting at number one and number two respectively.[26] However, in the long run
Oasis became more commercially successful than Blur. Unlike Blur, Oasis were able to
achieve sustained sales in the United States thanks to the singles "Wonderwall" and
"Champagne Supernova".[27] Oasis's second album (What's the Story) Morning
Glory?(1995) eventually sold over four million copies in the UK, becoming the third bestselling album in British history.[28]
By the summer of 1996 Oasis's prominence was such that NME termed a number of
Britpop bands (including The Boo Radleys, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as "Noelrock",
citing Gallagher's influence on their success.[29] John Harris typified this wave of Britpop
bands, and Gallagher, of sharing "a dewy-eyed love of the 1960s, a spurning of much
beyond rock's most basic ingredients, and a belief in the supremacy of 'real
music'".[30] Starting on 10 August 1996, Oasis played a two-night set at Knebworth to a
combined audience of 250,000 people, with one journalist commenting; "(Knebworth) could
be seen as the last great Britpop performance; nothing after would match its
scale."[31][32] The demand for these gigs was and still is the largest ever for a concert on
British soil; over 2.6 million people had applied for tickets.[32]


Oasis playing live.

Oasis' third album Be Here Now (1997) was highly anticipated. Despite initially attracting
positive reviews and selling strongly, the record was soon subjected to strong criticism from
music critics, record-buyers and even Noel Gallagher himself for its overproduced and
bloated sound. Music critic Jon Savage pinpointed Be Here Now as the moment where
Britpop ended; Savage said that while the album "isn't the great disaster that everybody
says," he noted that "[i]t was supposed to be the big, big triumphal record" of the
period.[14] At the same time, Damon Albarn sought to distance Blur from Britpop with the
band's fifth album, Blur (1997).[33] On guitarist Graham Coxon's suggestion, Blur moved
away from their Parklife-era sound, and their music began to assimilate American lofi influences, particularly that of Pavement. Albarn explained to the NME in January 1997
that "We created a movement: as far as the lineage of British bands goes, there'll always
be a place for us", but added, "We genuinely started to see that world in a slightly different
As the movement began to slow down, many acts began to falter and broke up.[2] The
popularity of the pop group the Spice Girls has been seen as having "snatched the spirit of
the age from those responsible for Britpop."[35] While established acts struggled, attention
began to turn to the likes of Radiohead and The Verve, who had been previously
overlooked by the British media. These two bandsin particular Radioheadshowed
considerably more esoteric influences from the 1960s and 1970s, influences that were
uncommon among earlier Britpop acts. In 1997, Radiohead and The Verve released their
respective efforts OK Computerand Urban Hymns, both of which were widely
acclaimed.[2] Post-Britpop bands like Travis, Stereophonics and Coldplay, influenced by
Britpop acts, particularly Oasis, with more introspective lyrics, were some of the most
successful rock acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s.[36]
September 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the Britpop genre. Several news outlets,
from within Britain and across the shores saw fit to celebrate with a plethora of
commemorative articles and playlists. On 8 September 2013, Otis Hart penned one such
article, published NPR Music, entitled Britpop At 20: The Eras Best Songs, And The
Stories From The Artists Who Wrote Them.[37] Though the article ranks The

Drowners by Suede, For Tomorrow by Blur, Live Forever byOasis, One to Another by The
Charlatans, and Daydreamer by Menswear amongst the most influential tracks from the
Britpop era, a 500-track Britpop mix, covering artists from Happy Mondays,
to James, Pulp and The Verve was published as a companion to the Britpop at 20 article.[38]
BBC Radio 6 Music held a celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of Britpop in April 2014,
coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the release of Oasis's debut single Supersonic.
Listeners were invited to vote for the top 40 best Britpop anthems, with Common People by
Pulp finishing as number one, ahead of The Verve'sBitter Sweet Symphony and Don't Look
Back in Anger by Oasis.[39]

See also[edit]
1990s portal

List of Britpop musicians

The Britpop Story
Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop
Cool Britannia


Cavanagh, David. The Creation Records Story: My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry for the
Prize. 2001.
Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da
Capo Press, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X.
Harris, John. "Modern Life is Brilliant!" NME. 7 January 1995.
Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures, 2004.
Till, Rupert. "In my beautiful neighbourhood: local cults of popular music". Pop Cult.
London: Continuum, 2010.



Jump up^ Harris, pg. 385.

^ Jump up to:a b c Harris, pg. 354.
Jump up^ Harris, p. 347-48.
Jump up^ Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of
English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. Pg. 202. ISBN 0-306-81367-X.
Jump up^ Harris, pg. 385.
^ Jump up to:a b Explore: Britpop. Allmusic.com. Retrieved on 21 January 2011.
Jump up^ Till, R. "In my beautiful neighbourhood: local cults of popular music". Pop
Cult. London: Continuum. 2010. Pg. 90.
^ Jump up to:a b Harris, John. "A shite sports car and a punk reincarnation". NME. 10
April 1993.
Jump up^ Caws, Matthew. "Top of the Pops". Guitar World. May 1996.
Jump up^ Savage, Jon. "Letere From London: Britpop". Artforum. October 1995.
Jump up^ Harris, pg. 295.
Jump up^ Reynolds, Simon. "RECORDINGS VIEW; Battle of the Bands: Old Turf,
New Combatants". The New York Times. 22 October 1995. Retrieved on 30 March
Jump up^ Harris, pg. 57.
^ Jump up to:a b c d e Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop. Passion Pictures.

15. Jump up^ The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock; John Harris;
Harper Perennial; 2003.
16. ^ Jump up to:a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "British Alternative Rock". Allmusic.
Retrieved on 21 January 2011. Archived from the original on 9 December 2010.
17. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 79.
18. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 178.
19. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 201.
20. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 203-04.
21. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 210-11.
22. Jump up^ Parkes, Taylor. "It's An NW1-derful Life". Melody Maker. 17 June 1995.
23. Jump up^ Richardson, Andy. "The Battle of Britpop". NME. 12 August 1995.
24. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 230.
25. Jump up^ "Roll with the presses". NME. 26 August 1995.
26. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 235.
27. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 261.
28. Jump up^ "Queen head all-time sales chart". BBC.co.uk. 16 November 2006.
Retrieved on 3 January 2007.
29. Jump up^ Kessler, Ted. "Noelrock!" NME. 8 June 1996.
30. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 296.
31. Jump up^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/sevenages/events/indie/oasis-at-knebworth
32. ^ Jump up to:a b Harris, pg. 298.
33. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 321-22.
34. Jump up^ Mulvey, John. "We created a movement...there'll always be a place for
us".NME. 11 January 1997.
35. Jump up^ Harris, p. 347-48.
36. Jump up^ Harris, pg. 369-70.
37. Jump up^ Hart, Otis. "Britpop at 20: The Era's Best Songs, And The Stories From The
Artists Who Wrote Them". NPR Music. National Public Radio. Retrieved8
September 2013.
38. Jump up^ Hart, Otis. "Britpop at 20: The Eras Best Songs, And The Stories From The
Artists Who Wrote Them". NPR Music. National Public Radio. Retrieved8
September 2013.
39. Jump up^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26990999