“White kids have lost their heroes; Jagger has become a wealthy socialite, Dylan a mellowed, home-loving man, even Lennon has little to say. So along comes this guy with amazing screw-top hair, and he’s singing about ‘brainwash education’ and loving your brothers and smoking dope. Their dreams live on”. This was how the NME greeted the arrival of Bob Marley, the near-saintly figurehead of(…)


In the early 1960s, Jamaican producers such as Leslie Kong, Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd and Duke Reid created a new sound to replace American R&B acts. The new sound drew on R&B, rock & roll, swing, jazz, calypso and even European ballroom music. When Jamaican folk or ‘mento’ rhythms were added with the distinctive banjo twang, ska(…)

Ska Revival

September 1979. England. The Prince by Madness had entered the British charts on 1 September. The Specials were riding high in the Top Ten with Gangsters. Those hot, hot summer holidays were over and the standard school uniform of black and white was about to take on a whole new meaning. Pocket money was spent(…)


Without skiffle there might have been no Quarrymen and hence no Beatles. Seen in retrospect on television, skiffle can seem entertaining yet quaint, and yet before pelvic-thrusting took over on the charts, skiffle was incredibly popular. The term ‘skiffle’ had been used in the US in the 1930s to describe the blending of blues and boogie(…)


The early and middle 60s are remembered by many as the time when The Beatles, Stones and big British beat took the world by storm. The charts were suddenly alight with strange, raw, uncompromising sounds; and for the first time in its long history, Britannia ruled the airwaves. But the same period also witnessed the flowering of black(…)

Sunshine Pop

Surf Music

In terms of commercial impact, Surf Music was a short-lived phenomenon. The vast majority of popular surf recordings were waxed between 1961 and 1965; even then, their success was often confined to an isolated region (more often than not, Southern California). Yet its influence upon the sound of the rock & roll guitar is incalculable.(…)

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