A quick snapshot of some of the best albums ever to emerge from Liverpool.
To many, Liverpool is the capital city of music, ever since those four long-haired lads conquered the world, but so much great music has come drifting out from the shores of the River Mersey ever since. Here's a small list of some of the magnificent albums ever to emerge from Liverpool:
Beatles - 'The Beatles [White Album]' (1968)
No Liverpool list could be complete without featuring messers Lennon and McCartney. Whilst they could easily take up multiple places on this list, we've pumped for just one - and for us their finest album and the only double LP on the list. The Beatles - or more commonly The White Album - marks a band reaching the zenith of their creative output. Just a year after conceptual mega-seller St. Pepper's, and before they fractured completely a year later, The White Album has everything on it. From sentimental twee folk 'Blackbird', aching power rock 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', gravely blues 'Yer Blues', the invention of metal with 'Helter Skelter', to the classic Beatles ditty 'Back in the USSR'. Pure brilliance!
Teardrop Explodes - 'Kilimanjaro' (1980)
The late 70s/early 80s marked a shift in the musical direction of the industry. The bloated and hedonistic sounds of disco and prog were replaced first with anarchic punk, then stripped back post-punk as the world awoke to the harshness of the times. This set the perfect tone for Liverpool bands to step into the fray once more. Teardrop Explodes led by poet Julian Cope brought psychedelics back into the mainstream and their debut album Kilimanjaro was a wash of experiments and freshness that the industry was deeply lacking. Rejecting the new wave sound for something much more individual, they crafted a stand out album and launched Cope's career in the process.
A Flock of Seagulls - 'A Flock of Seagulls' (1982)
Forgetting for a moment if you will, their frankly insane haircuts, A Flock of Seagulls created some of the 1982's most soaring and catchy new wave hits. Buoyed by the era of early MTV ascendence, their videos showed off the band to their hair-teased heights and songs like 'I Ran' were omnipresent for months. Follow up albums failed to capture the same sense of pop perfection and the band disappeared just as fast as they'd emerged.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - 'Welcome to the Pleasuredome' (1984)
Another band that led the charge for catchy pop hooks and a return to disco beats was Frankie Goes to Hollywood - who dominated the year 1984. Songs 'Two Tribes' and the tongue-in-cheek 'Relax' never left the radio playlist as the band created one of the catchiest and cleanest produced records of the year. As with most things in the 80s though, they didn't last, and their follow up Liverpool just two years later fell on an audience that had already tuned out.
Echo and the Bunnymen - 'Ocean Rain' (1984)
A clear standout in mid-80s glass and bombast was the magnificent Echo and the Bunnymen. Created by singer Ian McCulloch who'd previously been in Crucial Three with Seagull's Pete Wylie and Teardrop's Julian Cope. Their dark post-punk, psychedelia was tinged with Doors-esque sound and gloomy images over a drum machine called Echo. Their integrity and decidedly un-Liverpool sound made them stand out from their contemporaries and deliver a series of seminal releases over the next 30 years. None more than 1984's hauntingly brilliant Ocean Rain - which featured hit 'The Killing Moon' defining them for a generation.
The La's - 'The La's' (1990)
As the 80s died away in a swathe of yuppies and Thatcherism, the 90s brought with another new wave of sound - indie. The La's were right at the forefront of launching a sound that would dominate the next decade with their eponymous and only album. Singer-songwriter Lee Mavers and Bassist vocalist John Power were the heart of the band and tracks like 'There She Goes' are still as fresh today as when they were recorded in the late 80s.
Cast - 'All Change' (1995)
After John Power departed The La's he went on to form Cast, a band identified by many including Noel Gallagher as being a major influence on music in the 90's. Releasing their debut album All Change just as the Britpop wave was peaking, it contained the indie anthem 'Alright' which played in heavy rotation and featured on numerous soundtracks for coming years. The band continued to release albums for the next 20 years but never would they find themselves in the right place - right time as much as then.
Coral - 'The Invisible Invasion' (2005)
As if Liverpool hadn't had enough waves of success in the 90s, 80s and 60s, the 2000s produced yet another wave of musical acts and a definitive sound to rule the airwaves. Liverpool record label Deltasonic created a world of their own and leading the charge was the fantastic Coral with their layered sound, mod stylings and hooky tracks that became the singalong standards in the mid-2000s. Hitting their stride on fourth album The Invisible Invasion, courtesy of a tighter sound and clean production, the band created a defining piece of the 00s music scene and are thankfully still riding strong today.
Ladytron - 'Witching Hour' (2005)
Coming from a completely different perspective than many of the mid 00's bands were Ladytron who mixed indie, electro and shoegaze and created a sound that was uniquely their own and more forward-thinking than many of the retro-inspired artists of the time. Their third album 'Withing Hour' found them finding their sound more fully than previously. Moody and dark, yet filled with sharp hooks and energy that defined their position and made them one of the most unique acts to come out of Liverpool for decades.
The Zutons - 'Tired of Hanging Around' (2006)
The Coral's Deltasonic labelmate The Zutons fused indie sing-along songwriting with soul and funk and became one of the most lauded and interesting acts of the decade. From their first album, the catchy hits were ever present, them winning a Mercury Prize in the process. Following in 2006 Tired of Hanging Around showed their pop magnificence to full potential, producing singles like 'Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?' and 'Valerie' - which went on to be most well known as Amy Winehouse's breakthrough hit. By the end of the decade they were no more, but for a time, the world belonged to the Zutons.