The Welsh are famed for the quality and powerful nature of their voices. Many individual singers have emerged from the Principality with Tom Jones leading the way in the 1960s. He was quickly followed by Shirley Bassey and soon many young Welshman followed into the music with many performing in rock bands.
Shakin Stevens and the Sunsets were a Rock and Roll group that were formed in Cardiff in 1969. The band released many records and toured regularly during the 1970s. Their career paved the way for the front man Shakin Stevens to become one of the most successful performers in the UK in the 1980s. The Manic Street Preachers hailed from Caerphilly and were formed in 1986. Starting as punk band they have adapted over time into an alternative rock style. They have a cult following performing regularly at the country’s summer festivals and have sold many albums and singles. The band have had a controversial career with many of their records reflecting despair and depression. One of the founder members guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared in 1995 and has now been declared “death in abstention”.
The Stereophonics were formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in the Cynon Valley. Front man Kelly Jones is one of the most popular, and recognized, lead singer in British rock today. Of their ten albums that the band have released six have reached number one in the UK charts, and of these five did so consecutively. Their popularity has increased with best-selling singles such as “Dakota” which so far is their only number one hit. They have sold over 10 million albums around the world and tour regularly, being particularly popular at the summer rock festivals. Scotland has proved just as popular in producing well known rock bands. Gerry Rafferty was born in Paisley in 1947 and came to prominence in the 1972 when he formed the band Stealers Wheel with school friend Joe Egan. Although the band only survived for three years before they split up, they achieved fame for their single “stuck in the middles with you” which reached number 8 in the charts, and sold over a million copies around the world. However, it achieved cult status in 1992 when it was used in Quinten Tarantino’s debut film Reservoir Dogs. Nazareth were one of the early heavy rock bands forming in Dunfermline in 1968. In the early 1970s they released several albums and supported Deep Purple on tour. The band produced many singles with their most successful being ‘hair of the dog’ which was later covered by Guns ‘n’ Roses.
The Simple Minds
One of the most successful bands to have emerged out of Scotland were Glasgow’s Simple Minds. Fronted by lead singer Jim Kerr the band were formed in 1977 and although pearind firstly a s a punk band they achieved their greatest success as a post punk band. They have produced five no 1 selling albums in the UK and have sold over 70 million of them around the world. They have produced many hit singles including “Don’t you (forget about me)” which was included in the soundtrack for the film “Breakfast Club”.