Nowadays we think of Def Leppard as an AOR band with a sound airbrushed for American radio by Robert John “Mutt” Lange on the albums Pyromania and Hysteria. It’s as if they had the same sort of relationship with metal as Blondie had with punk. But they didn’t start out like that, and their debut single on their own label, Bludgeon Riffola, helped kickstart the whole NWOBHM movement. https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/sep/07/the-new-wave-of-british-heavy-metal-10-of-the-best (Tim Hall)
Formed in 1977 in Sheffield, Def Leppard achieved medium success with their early releases. In 1987 their critically acclaimed album Hysteria topped album charts in the USA thus proving that bands from Yorkshire could translate beyond their hometown.
And it’s interesting to see how, when a band like Def Leppard who started out with a sound very true to themselves, slowly disregarded that to appeal to a wider audience. This becomes the point where we have to look at the effect increased globalisation has on our British identity.
We become very self aware and begin to realise that our culture is not our own. A history of appropriation of culture and invasion from the British empire, leaves us with a history of mass globalisation with a compilation of cultures which then leads us to our fear of not belonging, which in turn results in an increased, quite introspective, sense of regionalisation.
We seek to find something within our immediate surroundings that makes us who we are, beyond what our small, but seemingly large, country has stolen and made ours. We then drive to identify ourselves as being from micro-communities, within Britain. For example, many from Sheffield, when asked, won’t describe themselves as “British” they will identify themselves as “from Yorkshire” and therein is our national sense of pride and patriotism. Be it political or historical, “British” has become somewhat of a taboo, especially recently due to events such as Brexit and the scandal dating back to the British Empire, our identity comes from our immediate, social and regional celebration of identity
Now in their 33rd year, the Cult went through several metamorphoses in their first five years, as they hurtled from Love’s psychedelic goth to Electric’s Rick Rubin-produced hard rock. The reinventions aren’t as dramatic now, but they’re still not standing still. Their 10th album darts from brooding postpunk to old-fashioned heavy metal and back again. At the heart is still the curious chemistry between gruff-toned, cosmically inclined singer Ian Astbury and his polar opposite, down-to-earth Mancunian guitarist Billy Duffy, the Cult’s own human riff. Duffy’s glorious, free-flowing playing fires Dark Energy and Avalanche of Light, two of the strongest Cult songs in years. Not all tracks hit such bullseyes, but Birds of Paradise finds Astbury unexpectedly and emotionally crooning, Tony Bennett style. He takes this approach further with confessional closer Sound and Fury, an epic voice-and-piano ballad that echoes Bowie’s Wild Is the Wind. As ever in Cultworld, ch-ch-ch-changes find them at their best.
A Yorkshireman’s Guide To Arctic Monkeys
“On the verge of being five albums old, it’s easy enough to brush over the prolific career that has taken the Arctic Monkeys from being the first ‘Myspace band’ to Mercury winners, to where they are now: comfortably the best British guitar band for a generation.
There was nothing spectacular about their sudden rise in popularity in Yorkshire, seeing local boys turn good is something we take immense pride in around these parts. However, via the internet, word of mouth and largely their undeniable ability to endear, it wasn’t long before the band were popular in every corner of the country.
Over the past eight years since their debut record was released, my generation’s Fab Four have grown as both men and musicians. The shy teenage boys that once reluctantly faced the media now take Glastonbury headline bookings in their stride. A uniform of Fred Perry polos and bootcut jeans have been replaced by leather trousers with sequined jackets and their Sheffield homes may well have been vacated for mansions in America, but the charismatic personality that propelled the Arctic Monkeys onwards has never been lost.”
Everly Pregnant Brothers:
Describing themselves as “a power house of parody fuelled on best bitter, pork pies and raucous gigs”, the Everly Pregnant Brothers regularly play to sell out crowds in their native south yorkshire and are rapidly growing a cult following far and wide. They are an 8 piece ukulele parody band that cover well known songs but add a Yorkshire twist.
They boast a lot of what Yorkshire is about, singing in a broad Yorkshire accent, including all the regional slang where appropriate and illustrating the honesty the people of Yorkshire.
Their humour and language is as broad as their lead singer Big Shaun which is all part of their charm as is the sing-a-long nature of their gigs. They manage to evoke nostalgia and a genuine emotional impact on Yorkshire crowds by reminding them of many of the unique quirks of Yorkshire in years gone by.
“Our song ‘Oyl Int Road’ can be an emotional subject, singing about walking through town with your nan as a youngster. It’s certainly enough to get a lump in your throat. We try and encourage as much singing along/chanting at gigs because it can be a real cathartic experience.” – Pete McKee
They draw their inspiration from classic Yorkshire imagery like the old Hole In The Road, pies and Henderson’s Relish.
No Oven No Pie (No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley)
Hendo’s (Yellow – Coldplay)
Sheffield Calling (London Calling – The Clash)
The Human League were formed in 1977 and are to this day one of the most influential synth-pop bands to come out of Yorkshire. “Founder members Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware, both computer operators from Sheffield, originally found little success with their brand of atmospheric sounds but upon hiring Phil Oakey as a singer the band found both single and album success with 1980 LP Travelogue.”(http://www.bbc.co.uk/southyorkshire/sense_of_place/sy_people/human_league.shtm)
It was around this time in the UK, Yorkshire in particular and Sheffield where The Human League hailed from that Margaret Thatcher was closing thousands of steel works and coal mines; important job opportunities for
Modern Relevant/Places/Event/CURRENT AND NOW
When it comes to music in Yorkshire, you don’t have to look much further than a small, faux-Tudor looking building on Sheffield’s West Street. Independent company Fourth City have almost single handedly revived the Yorkshire music scene for up and coming bands at the venue West Street Live, by hosting unsigned, breakthrough acts of every genre from rock to grime to acoustic almost every night for the past 4 years.
Since founded in 2012 they have become a fiercely independent promotions company, record label, apparel company & art collective. CEO Mat Hume has become a renowned figure at the centre of most of these eclectic nights. By embellishing them with his Yorkshire sense of sarcasm and wit, he creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere which has brought together the Sheffield music scene to its most promising since the 80’s electronic boom of bands like the Human League and the early 2000’s phenomenon Arctic Monkeys’ broke onto the scene.
“Once a tacky 80s bar, now arguably the odd pub out on Sheffield’s main thrust of white shirts and short skirts. Behind the mock Tudor façade lurks the stripped brick styling of a New York hang-out. Take your eyes off the corner stage where you’ll find unsigned talent playing free gigs most nights of the week and the walls are littered with enough signed plectrums, famous rock props and drum skins to keep eBay’s servers busy for a good while.” – David Dunn