When it comes to rock and pop music from the 1960s to the present day, the North East of England never seems to get a mention. All the plaudits go to the north west music powerhouses of Liverpool and Manchester.
But let’s spare a thought for Newcastle because this most northern of cities helped shape music, especially in the 1960s and 1980s. The first band from “Geordieland” to come to prominence was Eric Burdon’s blues orientated Animals. The Record Press author rates Eric Burdon’s vocals very highly – in my opinion only matched in the 1960s blues vocals performed by a white man category by Steve Marriott ( Small Faces ) and Steve Winwood ( Spencer Davis Group ).
The 1970s saw something of a hiatus for Newcastle bands, although folk ensemble Lindisfarne had some chart success, whilst Geordie Bryan Ferry’s solo sabbaticals away from Roxy Music spawned some classic cover versions.
However the 1980s were the golden age for dominance of the UK charts by Newcastle bands, with Dire Straits dominating the first half of the decade and the Pet Shop Boys taking over that mantel from 1985 onwards. Dire Straits literally handed over the chart success baton to the Pet Shop Boys in late 1985 when the latter premiered with their zeitgeist classic West End Girls, depicting the rise of the “Yuppie” East End City brokers in Thatcherite London. Dire Straits last big hit, earlier that year, Money For Nothing was also something of a zeitgeist song, depicting the shallow values of 1980s materialism and commercialism epitomised by MTV in the USA.
So although intermittent over the past half century, make no mistake Newcastle bands and solo artists have made a huge impact on British, European and US culture. This is exemplified by this Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle:
Top10 Best Rock & Pop Songs from Newcastle
2) Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls ( No1 1985 )
3) Bryan Ferry – In Crowd ( No13 1974 )
4) Alan Price – I Put A Spell On You ( No9 1966 )
5) Dire Straits – Private Investigations ( No2 1982 )
6) Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This? ( No2 1987 )
7) Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood ( No3 1965 )
8) Dire Straits – Money For Nothing ( No4 1985 )
9) Pet Shop Boys – It’s A Sin ( No1 1987 )
10) Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing ( N08 1979 )
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