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Perfect 10: Indie Bands Of The 90’s That Defined Britpop

Garbage

If Dodgy, Shed Seven and Supergrass were Britpop’s happy-go-lucky bands then Garbage were very much its dark underbelly.

Fronted by Shirley Manson they carved out a cynical and tough Indie sound that bordered on Industrial Rock in places, thanks in no small part to guitarist and producer Butch Vig.

Their lyrics dealt with darker issues and their videos were darkly erotic and more akin to those seen for grunge bands like Soundgarden.

Garbage had massive success with their self-titled debut album, which spawned five big hit singles including “I’m Only Happy When It Rains”, “Stupid Girl”, “Vow”, “Queer” and “Milk” Which featured Massive Attack’s Tricky.

Their follow up “Version 2.0” gave them even more success before Britpop died down in the year 2000.

Garbage became so big that they even did the theme song for 1999’s James Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough”.

They stayed the course despite the end of Britpop and continue to tour the world and release albums with their latest release coming out in 2017.

Pulp

Jarvis Cocker has become a true English Legend. In many ways he was the true face of Britpop and Pulp’s discography shows that they really are among the greats.

Intelligent writing and a sneering social commentary made them totally relevant for the Britpop era and beyond.

Whilst they had been around since 1978 they really came to prominence in 1994 with the release of the album “His ‘n’ Hers” which featured their first big singles “Lipgloss” and “Do You Remember The First Time?”.

This would be nothing compared to the success they would achieve in 1995 however as “Different Class” propelled them into the big leagues.

The Singles “Common People”, “Sorted For E’s And Whizz”, “Mis-Shapes”, “Disco 2000” and “Something Changed” all hit the top 10.

Pulp have gone on to become ambassadors for UK music and rightfully so.

Blur

Blur are still one of the UK’s biggest acts so they need little introduction.

Their place on the list was inevitable such was their impact on the Britpop sound. They helped to take it international and dominated the charts throughout the entire era.

With huge hits like “Girls & Boys”, “Parklife”, “The Universal”, “Charmless Man”, “Country House” and “Song 2” they changed with every album and with them the entire scene.

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Damon Albarn became a figurehead and a hero to teenagers and young adults at the time with everyone wanting to copy his look and attitude, well almost everyone (More on that next).

Oasis

Obviously, Oasis had to top this list.

That’s not to say they were the most talented of the bands but they were certainly the biggest as far as chart success and media outreach went.

The Gallagher Brothers could do no wrong in the mid 90’s and their bad boys of Britpop image became an entire culture of its own.

Lads in town were swaggering all over the place, flicking the V’s and getting smashed on cheap lager and Alcopops.

So, it’s not all positive but hey they released some awesome music which is just as good now as it was groundbreaking back then.

As soon as they hit the charts with 1995’s “Live Forever” there was no stopping them until their split in 2009.

Huge hits like “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, “Wonderwall”, “Roll With It” and “D’You Know What I Mean?” were all over the radio and TV and their faces were in every paper and magazine on a daily basis.

They were the archetypal British Rock band and we loved them for it.

We can’t talk about Britpop without at least mentioning the Blur Vs Oasis singles war of the 17th August 1995.

The media had hyped up tensions between the two biggest Indie bands for ages and the clever people at the record companies decided they should both release their singles on the same day.

Now, Singles mattered back then and Blur’s “Country House” and Oasis’s “Roll With It” were set to be the biggest singles of the year.

The tabloids had a field day with it and ultimately Blur won selling 270,000 copies to Oasis’s 220,000.

Just read those numbers, nothing sells like that anymore.

Feeling nostalgic?

We hope you enjoyed our trip down Britpop lane, who were your favourite Indie bands of the time?

There are plenty of great bands we haven’t mentioned so why not let us know who you think should be on here in the comments.

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