The music scene in London has always been healthy. The capital city has been seen as creating musical fashions with many genres starting on the streets of London. With many music venues available musicians have been pulled into the area to start their musical careers. The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 and were one of the first British Rock bands to tour the United States. Their blend of blues and rock and roll, mixed with hard rock proved to be popular where ever they played. They have been together for over 50 years and have sold over 250 million albums around the world.
The group members, which have included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood have reveled in playing to live audiences. In 1989 they were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Rocking Stone magazine listed then as the 4th greatest artists of all time. Led Zeppelin also emerged out of London in 1968 and soon earned the reputation as being one of the greatest ever heavy metal bands. They possessed in Jimmy Page arguably the best ever lead guitarists, and in partnership with lead singer Robert Plant, they produced the music that sold over 200 million albums. Their career only spanned 12 years in which they produced nine albums. The music was of such quality that eight of the albums topped the UK charts and in 1995 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.
Queen were another major group who formed in London in 1968. The band were a group of ex university students who soon managed to combine their wonderful music playing ability with a nature talent for writing unique rock ballads’ They were famed for their live performance and at Live Aid in 1985 they arguably gave one of the greatest live performances ever. Their records have sold massively around the world. It is estimated that their sales are over 300 million which makes them the one of the world’s best ever selling artists. In 1991 they lost their lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died of Aids and so their career as a band has been relatively short.
The capital was also highly influential in the rise of punk rock, with The Roxy night club providing a venue for the new bands to play in 1976, as the genre started to emerge. During day times many punks used to assemble down London’s Kings Road which with its bohemian style shops was a natural catalyst for the more creative personalities in the music business. From this atmosphere groups such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, The Damned and Siouxsie and the Banshees emerged. Punk music was at its height of its popularity up until the start of the 1980s. These bands did not possess longevity but they opened the door for other groups to come in and take advantage of the new musical direction that could be explored.
Squeeze from Deptford in London were a good example of this. Forming in 1974 they first appeared as a new wave band but they soon explored other genres of music. They produced many hit singles and many of their records are still played today. The journey of Squeeze was in a way mirrored by the Jam. The band from Woking, just outside of London, initially were caught up with punk but they soon started to distance themselves away from the genre.
The group led by Paul Weller were soon affected by other influences such a rhythm and blues, as they became more associated with mod music. In only a decade together the group produced many hit records with all 15 of their singles reaching the UK chart’s top 100 in 1982 when they were re-released to commemorate the band splitting up. London has produced many top bands and its musical history will result that in future more bands will emerge from the area