Britain and more specifically London, boasts home to some of the most influential and legendary musical artists in the world. With bands like the Beatles, Sex Pistols and Oasis, spanning many decades, British music scenes have shaped generations of people in taste, fashion and youth culture not just at home but around the world. Many albums, songs and artwork have been dedicated to England’s capital city and many areas and streets have been made famous by certain artists representation of it. Some of the pictures below have shown this, however there are almost too many examples of this to put into one post! I certainly deem this worth celebrating in some way or another.
So where is it all hiding?
Where can a music lover go in London to look back on and experience British culture through music and its icons, the way a dinosaur lover can go to the Natural History Museum?
(We didn’t even have loads of Dinosaurs in Britain). In terms of artists and bands that have shaped music history in the 20th Century, we have many.
As far as i know, there have only been two thorough exhibitions celebrating British music in the last two years; The British Musical Experience in Greenwich, and the ‘David Bowie is’ Exhibition at the V&A.
David Bowie at the V&A
One June a few years back, a friend and myself ended up at the V&A Museum to visit the David Bowie exhibition; it took us three hours to get round and will forever stand as a beacon of excellence in musical representation. It was interactive, with film reels and interviews i had never seen before, there were collages, objects, iconic outfits and song lyrics scribbled on scraps of paper that were to become some of his greatest songs.
It was an incredible experience, but was only available for a few months, and as pointed out later to me, it was in fact fully booked untill July (We must have just been lucky).
The British Musical Experience
This, I unfortunately never took the opportunity to go to when i first discovered its ad secretly hidden in the back of The Metro. However it had always stuck in my mind. The ad was brilliant, it was a black and white picture of sid vicious in London.
This year, when i finally decided to make the trip, i was shocked to find that it had closed, after 5 years. (I have since discovered that it is reopening in Liverpool).
Museums or exhibitions in London dedicated to music at the moment, only seem to be concerned with the so called ‘high culture’ of classical composers such as Handel. Whilst this is fantastic for some, there is nowhere that documents the success of bands deeply rooted in Britain’s working class, such as Black Sabbath or the Clash.
Of course, there are many places to go in Liverpool to appreciate The Beatles, but otherwise i would say Britain, (specifically London) needs to sort its self out where this is concerned, it has so much to celebrate regarding the fantastic music it has enabled throughout history, yet any celebration or archive of it is seldom seen.
That said, curiously, London will be host to a few representations of music from outside of Britain. They are in the works at the moment, ready for 2016.