Famous Bands from Barnsley

Famous Bands from Barnsley

We love to see our students go on to form their own bands. Playing in a group is probably the most fun and rewarding way to play the guitar, especially if you are writing your own material. Fortunately, Barnsley has many examples of famous guitarists whose bands have gone on to find success. Here are just a few examples if you would like any inspiration.

Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys studied music at Barnsley college: does Barnsley’s musical heritage need any more endorsement? The Arctic Monkey’s are arguably Yorkshire’s, if not England’s, biggest band at the moment and I’m sure Alex Turner, the brains behind it all, needs no introduction here. Turner, the front man and primary song-writer, first led his band to international stardom with the hit album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, but they haven’t looked back since and have gone on to produce 5 further albums (all UK No.1 albums), each with their own take on the Arctic’s signature indie rock: Humbug, for example, diverges into psychedelic, whilst AM is a bass-driven, groove record. The Arctic Monkey’s are an acclaimed act, having won 7 Brit Awards, 1 Ivor Novello, 19 NME awards and 1 MOJO: I think they are probably running out of space in their award cabinet!

Kate Rusby is a folk singer-songwriter from Penistone, near Barnsley. Her career has been impressive: with 11 albums she is probably the best-known English folk singer. Known in folk circles as ‘the Barnsley Nightingale’, she is a mainstay of the British folk scene but has achieved this whilst avoiding the mainstream: not so much Tallest Man on Earth or Mumford & Sons, Rusby has stuck to the roots of traditional Northern folk music played in the South Yorkshire pub circuit. She often revives alternative melodies for well-known folk songs as she has on her Christmas album Sweet Bells, which sees ‘Hark the Herald’ and ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ sung to rediscovered alternate tunes.

Saxon are a heavy metal band formed in 1976 and are one of the leaders of the ‘New Wave’ of British Heavy metal bands whom, along with the likes of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Def Leppard and Judas Priest, followed in the wake of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They are a very poignant group, and Motley Crue, Pantera, Skid Row and even Metallica have cited them as an influence. Unsurprisingly, they went on to be one of the UK’s biggest metal acts, really establishing themselves in the 1980s with four top ten albums over the course of their career thus far: a pretty impressive feat for a meal band. In fact, they have a new album coming out in the summer of 2015, if you’re a fan of British metal, this is not one to miss.

The Darkness are another band that hopefully don’t need too much introduction if you’ve been learning the guitar. ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ was one of the first songs that I learnt to play on the guitar, and is a really good one to learn if you want to practice switching between power chords and fast hooks. Well, if you haven’t’ heard of them, they are a rock revival group whose hits ‘Whiskey on the Rocks’, ‘Love is Only a Feeling’ and ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ propelled them to fame around 2006, their album ‘Permission to Land’ going platinum with over 1.3 million sales. Part of their success has to be attributed to Justin Hawkins’ outrageous falsetto tones and debaucheries lifestyle, which wowed reminiscent dad rockers wishing they were still living in the 1970s. Interestingly, if you listen to their second album, One Way Ticket To Hell and Back, you can see the effects of this lifestyle on Hawkins’ voice, which is nowhere near as powerful as on their first album. It will be interesting to see if it holds on their up-coming album scheduled for June 2015. 

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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