Wimbledon is underway. From the strawberries and cream to bad weather stopping all the fun, it’s the most British of global sporting events.
When it comes to music, who are the most British of artists that mix it on the world stage?
In the mid-60s, London felt like the centre of the world and The Kinks felt like the centre of London. From the Dedicated Follower of Fashion’s “nylon panties” to Terry and Julie’s appreciation of the dirty old river in Waterloo Sunset. While the Beatles were singing about love, The Kinks sang about life.
Altogether now… sunshiiiiiiine. Noel and Liam took the accent of Burnage in Manchester and showed it off to the rest of the world. Like the Kinks, their early work shared stories of growing up and trying to get your kicks in a working-class neighbourhood. To keep the Wimbledon theme going, Oasis weren’t adverse to a bit of Fred Perry.
It’s impossible to sing along with a Catatonia track without rolling your Rs like you were born in the valleys of Wales. Many Welsh acts that had gone before settled on a mid-Atlantic accent for their music (I’m looking at you, Tom Jones) but Cerys kept it real.
Wales doesn’t have a great tennis track record, but Britain’s number one at Wimbledon 2022, Cameron Norrie, has a Welsh mum.
Whether he’s sharing his pride in the community or venting his frustrations with society, Stormzy could only be British. Not only does he sound British, but his attitude is far away from the bragging machismo of American hip-hop and much more… British!
While the rest of the 80s was merging into a pile of generic pop, along came The Proclaimers with one guitar and two mighty Scottish voices. Like so many of the other acts on this list, they sing about the place they come from. Or, in the case of Letter from America, they sing about almost every town in the country they come from! If Andy Murray was a pop band, he’d be The Proclaimers.
If the Kinks were the sound of Britain in the 60s and Oasis were the sound of Britain in the 90s, then Little Simz is the sound of Britain in 2022. The world is a lot more complex and she takes that on with style. The kind of style that won her a Brit award earlier this year.
In 1978, Northern Ireland appeared on the news more than it appeared on Top of the Pops, The Undertones had a go at changing that. Like the others on this list, they were raw, authentic and stacked full of talent. The thing that shines through in Undertones tracks is how optimistic they are, for me, that’s a trait that I see in many from Northern Ireland.
Fun fact, the first female umpire on Centre Court was Catherine McTavish from Belfast.
By now, you’re probably bursting with your own suggestions for most British sounding music – let me know what I missed!
Written by Euan McMorrow, Content Director at AVC Immedia.