Music History

Great Britain has been the host for many of the big names in the music world. Down below you can read some general information about some of the biggest and most famous bands from Great Britain from the 20th century.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are a rock band from London founded in 1962. The original band line-up consisted of Brian Jones (rhythm guitar), Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (lead guitar), Ian Steward (piano), Bill Wyman (bass), and Charlie Watts (drums).

The band became very popular in the US during the "British invasion of bands", which was a period during which many British bands and overall British culture became popular in America. They made mostly songs in the themes rock and blues. It wasn't until the 1970s they started to release commercially successful records, including for example the album "Some Girls" (1978).

The relations between some of the bandmembers have sometimes been a bit frosty. A conflict between Jagger and Richards nearly spilt the band but they made a good comeback with "Steel Wheels" (1989). The last tour The Rolling Stones went on was called "A bigger bang tour" and took place between the years 2005 to 2007. Some more popular songs today are, for example, "Paint it black" and " Satisfaction".

What The Rolling Stones did to develop the music genre was to take the bits they liked from other genres and forge it into their own genre. Their music can be connected with several other genres; blues, rhythm, country, reggae and so on. During all of this the band has had eight different members but only two people have been part of the group from the beginning until today, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The Beatles

The Beatles were a rock/pop band formed in 1960 in Liverpool, Great Britain. The band consisted of Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. A couple of the original members like John Lennon and George Harrison had been playing together since 1950. The Beatles got their first big hit in 1962 with "Love me do". The band had tried out many different drummers before they finally decided to use Ringo Starr.

The Beatles slowly built up their reputation by playing consistently at bars in Great Britain and after they got their first hit song they started to skyrocket in popularity. As of today they are seen as one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century. One of the reasons they really took off was their kind of clean and "proper" look. This led to a lot more parents who were more accptiong of their kids listening to them since they looked like the "ideal" role model for young teenagers interested in music.

The Beatles are the best selling band in history with well over 1 billion sold vinyl discs, tapes and cd's. In USA they have been awarded with multiple diamond and platinum albums along with a couple of multi-platinum and lesser awards in the UK. They were also put in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Beatles officially split up in 1970 but had had problems with getting along since 1968. John Lennon had already raised his opinion on leaving and did so after the bands final release "Let it Be" which was recorded before their popular album "Abbey road". All of the members had success after leaving the band. John Lenon was shot and killed in 1980 in USA and George Harrison died in cancer in 2001. The two remaining members have since then continued making music and collaborating from time to time.


Queen is a rock band which was founded in 1970 and consisted of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon. Mercury was the singer, Brian May played guitar, John Deacon bass guitar and Roger Taylor the drums. Queen has had such a big impact on the genre of rock and roll that they were voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

They made their breakthrough into the international rock scene with their fourth album, A Night at the Opera, in 1975. They were a huge success all over the world and in total they sold about 300 million albums and 180 singles.

The downfall of the group arguably started when Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with aids. Just a few years later he passed from pneumonia, in 1991. John Deacon left the group six years later in 1997. But Brian May and Roger Taylor have not disbanded Queen, and still go around the world performing at concerts with guests taking the place of Freddie. Some famous replacements they have tried out are Adam Lambert and Robbie Williams. They have many great songs; I have in fact spoken to some very powerful people who indeed say they're the best songs. Some of their best songs are "We are the Champions", "Under Pressure" and "We Will Rock You". At the moment they are signed to Island Records music label.

The Sex Pistols

The Sex Pistols are a punk band from London, founded in 1975. The members were: Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious. The band lasted just for two and a half years but they were able to produce four singles and one studio album. It was called "Never Mind the bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols".

The band is considered one of the most influential punk bands in the history of popular music because they inspired many rock bands to come and they started the punk movement in the United Kingdom. While they were popular in some groups many looked at the band with hate. One of the bands single "God Save the Queen" is an controversial example. The song was seen for many people as an direct attack against the British crown.

The band ultimately broke up after a tour in the USA when Jonny Rotten left the band. The other band members continued after the break-up. Some time after, Sid Vicious died of a heroin overdose but he is the only person to date who has died of the original band members. The band has since had several "reunions" with the latest one taking place 2008.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was formed in London in 1968. The band members were Jimmy Page on guitar, Robert Plant as singer, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboard and John Bonham on drums. They originally played a lot of blues style music but did overtime work towards hard rock.

Led Zeppelin was originally named the New Yarbirds but after signing a contract with Atlantic Records they changed their name. This contract also allowed them to make more or less any style of music they wanted. Even though the critics didn't really like the band they still had big commercial success. They have four albums named after the band with a I, II, III and IV after. Their fourth album is arguably also their most popular with hit songs like "Stairway to Heaven".

Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 after Bonham had died of prolonged heavy drinking. The band had scheduled a tour for the next month but decided to cancel and ultimately reject a replacement for their dead drummer and disband completely. After their breakup the remaining members have had reunions a couple of times. The most successful of the reunions was arguably the 2007 one where Jason Bonham, took his dead father's place behind the drums during the show.

Led Zeppelin are considered as one of the most innovative, successful and influential rock groups in the history of music. They are one of the best seller of audio recordings with well over 300 million units sold worldwide. They are also the second bestselling band in the US even though they originally came from the UK. In 1995 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is another rock band. They came to be in 1965 in London. They have had huge success in the genre of progressive rock and psychedelic music. Their members are currently Nick Mason and David Gilmour, with Nick on the drums and David as the lead vocalist. In 1996 they joined Queen in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In May 1967, they released the song "See Emily Play", which received immense positive feedback. But their real breakthrough into the scene came with the album "The Dark Side of the Moon",which was released in 1973. The album was mainly focused on problems with depression, fame and money. Their first song to hit top 20 on the US billboard was also included in this album.

After their "The Final Cut"album the original lineup split up, due to various problems and disagreements within the group.

Text: Mattias Långgård, Emil Skinnar and Jens Sabel


Sources (Queen):

Wikipedia: 20.02.2017 20.02.2017

Discogs: 20.02.2017

Sources (The Rolling Stones):

General information about The Rolling Stones members: 21.02.2017

Information about the band; 20.02.2017

Sources (The Beatles): 20.02.2017 21.02.2017

Sources (The Sex Pistols):

Info about the band: 22.02.2017

Albums: 22.02.2017

Source (Led Zeppelin) 22.02.2017 22.02.2017