Music History

Published on March 2nd, 2018 | by Alan Cross


The Ongoing History of New Music, Episode 814: The 90s, Part 4: Britpop

Fashion is one of the most disposable of all the artistic endeavors. Much of what’s created and sold isn’t designed to last more than a season–a couple of months, really. Once the season is over, it’s time to toss out the couture and buy a whole new wardrobe.

But fashion has its cycles. After a certain amount of time, old styles might come back into favour again, so in a way, this makes fashion a renewable resource.

Music can be like, too. Trends and styles and sounds come along and then disappear. But then ten, fifteen, twenty or more years later, those sounds and styles are resurrected by a brand-new generation.

Sometimes the kids rediscover the joys of a certain style of music independently. Others may have found these sounds by mining the music collections of their parents or older siblings.

If you were around in the early-to-mid-90s, you may remember a period when every week seemed to bring something new and cool–and it was coming from all directions.

North American had developed a massive appetite for all things grunge, which, if we’re honest about it, was really a fresh coat of paint on 70s-style hard rock and punk. Grunge was so popular that it threatened to completely swamp rock music worldwide, including the UK.

But some young British musicians would have none of this musical imperialism from the colonies. They made a conscious decision to fight back with a made-in-Britain approach.

The result was fantastic, far more successful and popular than anyone could have possibly predicted. And until the whole thing collapsed under its own weight, dragged down by excess, overexposure and drugs, it was a most excellent party.

Part four of our look back at the alt-rock 90s is all about Britpop.

Songs heard on this show:

Suede, Metal Mickey

Blur, Parklife

Oasis, Live Forever

Elastica, Line Up

Blur, Country House

Oasis, Wonderwall

Pulp, Common People

Oasis, Columbia (Live)

Blur, Song 2

As usual, Eric Wilhite has provided us with an accompanying playlist.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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