by Ed Biggs Given that their 1970 swansong Bridge Over Troubled Water is one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Simon & Garfunkel’s career started inauspiciously to say the least. Having started life as the squeaky clean teen harmony duo Tom & Jerry, their 1964 debut under their own names, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, disappeared without trace.
by Ed Biggs Though Bob Dylan’s reputation and power is inextricably bound up with the 1960s, the middle of the next decade saw him briefly recapture his peak form with back-to-back classics. 1975’s Blood On The Tracks is regarded by more than a few Dylan fans as his very best album, but that record’s reputation often overshadows that of its successor. While neither as special nor as iconic as …Tracks, Desire
by Ed Biggs 1965 proved to be the making of The Beatles as a long-term artistic force. In an era where careers could be over within months, never mind years, the band had enjoyed a dazzling run of creativity and bagged a shedload of hit singles in the first three years of their career, but by 1965 were at risk of being outflanked by newcomers. The Who and The Rolling Stones
by Ed Biggs Transforming from awkward underdogs to the biggest indie band in the country in the space of just two years, Happy Mondays’ third LP Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches encapsulates the short-lived media obsession with ‘Madchester’ at the start of the ‘90s more than any other album. While it brought the shenanigans of their colourful lead singer Shaun Ryder and maracas player / backup dancer / lucky mascot Bez
by Ed Biggs Although it quickly earned itself a reputation as being one of the most outrageously loud guitar debuts in pop history, it’s impossible to understand the last 30 years of British rock without an appreciation of Psychocandy, the first album by The Jesus & Mary Chain. Before, ‘noise’ wasn’t really a distinct concept in pop music, simply a function of the volume at which guitars were played.
by Ed Biggs These kinds of stories just don’t happen anymore. The universal acclaim and critical attention given to their previous album Let It Be the year before allowed The Replacements, one of the most volatile, unpredictable and legendarily drunk bands in American history, to make the step up to the big time in 1985. Just like their cross-town Minneapolis rivals Hüsker Dü, they left their indie label Twin/Tone and signed
by Ed Biggs The rapid ascension of Pulp from perennial outsiders to chart toppers and festival headliners during the mid ‘90s, and the multi-platinum sales figures of their 1995 album Different Class, is the most dramatic illustration of the effect that Britpop had upon the British music scene. In pretty much no other place or time could such a band have achieved so much so quickly.
by Ed Biggs While the commercial pomp and circumstance of Britpop was in full flow on the other side of the Atlantic in 1995, the biggest American guitar acts of the day were turning inwards, away from their audiences and exploring the limits of their own talents, not necessarily with any regard to what critics or fans thought about them. Pavement’s sprawling Wowee Zowee, Pearl Jam’s difficult but ultimately rewarding Vitalogy
by Ed Biggs Whenever a new band breaks out and receives hype from the music press, the reaction from the general public is often sceptical or scornful. “They’ll never be as big as The Beatles” was something that generations of new music lovers have from their parents or grandparents. But for a fleeting period in the mid-nineties, Oasis actually were, and that status came off the back of their gargantuan second
by Ed Biggs The long rise to fame, the fleeting brilliance, and the mysterious demise of Liverpool’s The La’s remains one of British pop music’s intriguing stories. There can’t be many people in the Western world that aren’t familiar with their signature song ‘There She Goes’, one of the purest pop records to ever fit into the indie genre, but their one and only album is not as appreciated or widely