Edge Zone 1 – 1945 – 1962
The Anglo-American special relationship of the Second World War triggered an evolution of musical trends in Britain.
Big band music became popular through visiting GIs and the revived sounds of Dixieland and New Orleans trad jazz were introduced into the London scene. The do-it-yourself creed of 1950s skiffle encouraged young musicians to pick up cheap guitars and start their own groups. British pop was transformed by the rock’n’roll craze in the mid 1950s.
Edge Zone 2 – 1962 – 1966
In the 1960s, British music went global with the irresistible tide of the ‘British Invasion’.
The original look and sound of beat groups like The Beatles, R&B bands like The Rolling Stones and female singers like Petula Clark took America by storm and Britain became known as a pop powehouse.
Edge Zone 3 – 1966 – 1970
British pop became increasingly involved in cultural exchanges with underground political activity, fashion, art and drugs.
Inspired by the 1967 ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco, Britain began to stage their own ‘love-ins’ and ‘happenings’, with themes of peace and love becoming the inspiration for music in this period. The 12″ album toook centre stage and pop evolved into rock as music broke out of the small clubs onto the arena circuit and emerging festival scene.
Edge Zone 4 – 1970 – 1975
In contrast to the tough social and economic crisis of 1970s Britain, the charts began to fill with performers singing of escapism, glamour and excitement.
A darker vision of 1970s Britain soon appeared through albums like the post-apocalyptic Diamond Dogs by David Bowie and progressive rock flourished. The music industry expanded and audiences sought entertainment, making sell-out arena tours the pinnacle for any successful artist.
Edge Zone 5 – 1975 – 1985
This was a period of economic recession in Britain. Pop music reflected this with tougher, more outspoken styles.
Punk dramatised Britain’s social divisions, while the grassroots Rock Against Racism movement popularised reggae and brought a return to political involvement.
Edge Zone 6 – 1985 – 1993
The mid-to-late 1980s was a time of accelerated social, economic, technical and political change. Videos, CDs and satellite broadcasting meant that music was more accessible to the masses.
The late 1980s were also a time of regional and musical diversity. Heavy metal was reborn, imported house music reached ecstatic heights with the ‘Second Summer of Love’ and the ‘Madchester’ scene was blossoming in the North.
Edge Zone 7 – 1993 – 2004
In the mid-1990s, ‘Cool Britannia’ swept through all areas of British identity. Britpop revived the traditional pop values of the 60s and 70s.
The period also saw the rise of manufactured boy bands and The Spice Girls unleashed ‘Girl Power’ on the world. The rise of Youtube and streaming gave audiences new ways to access music. It presented artists with unchartered waters in the form of new channels emerging to promote their music.
Edge Zone 8 – 2004 – Present
2004 saw the launch of X Factor. The manufacturing of pop stars by UK audiences is balanced by the diversity of artists rising to the top of the charts. Rap and R&B stars, indie bands and singer-songwriters take the download chart by storm.
It is impossible to predict the future of British music.
Who will be the next superstar? how will we listen to music in 2025? Whatever the future, one thing we can be sure of is that the intimate relationship between music and the fan will always continue to transcend any technological, cultural or social barriers.
No photography is allowed in the the exhibition.