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A Brief History of British Pop Music

jeremy | Wednesday September 23, 2009

Categories: Music, British Pop Music, Other Topics

Talent, Technology And Teenagers

The Story of British Pop Music

British popular music is a great success story both as a business and as a cultural enterprise.

In the last half of the twentieth century British talent became the soundtrack to the lives of young people throughout the world.

It’s extraordinary that rock n’roll, blues, rhythm and blues, dance music and even the concept of the 3 minute popular song emerged from largely black roots in America, and then was exported back there and across the world by precocious British musical and managerial talent.  How did this happen?

This story of Brit Pop looks at the impact of the most popular pop music on a its core audience – teenagers - over the last 50 years. It’s a story of young people making exciting music, sweeping away the old show biz middle aged male managers and taking over the management of rock n’roll, pop art, teenage fashion, music magazines and creating a new style of living.

A level exam boards include questions about British popular music, or allow students to study it as part of media studies. This article offers context, background and insight – with suggests for follow up activities.

How did pop music begin?

1940s It is just after the second world war and pre civil rights in the US.

Many states still have black people segregated from white people.

Black performers were picking up the electric guitar - newly invented by American Les Paul - and making exciting music.

Performers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry were writing and performing blues music with a strong beat.

This was played on little known black music radio stations. 

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White American people were listening at home on their wireless sets to radio stations playing country music, big band dance music and ballads.

They were buying sheet music of...


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