To celebrate 50 years since the formation of the legendary rock band The Who, MM have compiled the top five British bands that have been rocking the world for more than five decades.
All of the bands who made it onto the list are rock ‘n’ roll kings, between the top five they have performed for millions of fans across generations in all four corners of the globe.
Firstly, an honourable mention must go to a band from Liverpool who rose to stratospheric stardom in the 60s, and led the ‘British invasion’ of the charts across the pond at a time when the US government were dead against rock ‘n’ roll music.
The Beatles? To make the list, bands must still be active together or have member/s of the band still performing the hits.
5. Status Quo
The Quo come in at five. Out of the top five, they are the only band on the list who failed to make an impact on the US – even with their huge popularity in the UK.
It is down to this fact that the music of the Quo is not held in as higher regard as their contemporaries.
The group, led by Levi-clad Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, had many of their bigger hits in the 1970’s rock era, after bands such as The Beatles had separated.
The mega-hits for the Quo were Down Down, Rockin’ all over the World and Whatever you Want all of which made the UK top 10.
The Quo, along with their hit music, made it essential for all future rock musicians to wear pale jeans and show that you can still rock it into your seventies – even if you suffer from a thin head of hair.
The Quo are still rocking all over the world, but have now dropped the jeans.
4. The Troggs
Another band who were part of ‘The British Invasion’ The Troggs also celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.
From Andover and formed by Reg Presley, Chris Britton, Pete Staples and Ronnie Bond, the band was signed by the manager of The Kinks in 1965.
The group made an immediate impact on the charts with arguably their biggest hit; Wild Thing which reached number 2 in the UK and number 1 in the US Singles Charts.
The Troggs followed up on the success of Wild Thing with their first UK number one single With a Girl Like You in August 1964. The hit single has recently found success following the hit music-based, pirate radio comedy The Boat That Rocked.
The Troggs, although it may not be well known, are the masterminds behind one of, if not the biggest selling singles of the 1990s – Love is All Around Me by Wet Wet Wet. Released to the UK in 1967, the single reached number 5 on the charts.
The hit, which stayed at number one in the 90s for an incredible 15 weeks, was the soundtrack for movie Four Weddings and a Funeral was memorably performed by Bill Nighy in 2003 Christmas romantic comedy Love Actually.
The Troggs continue to tour despite Presley’s death. Bill Nighy’s music career never took off – he still acts, though…
3. The Hollies
Another 1960s’ mega-band to be a leading crusader in the British Invasion; The Hollies, from Manchester, were signed to the same record label as The Beatles – Parlophone in 1963.
The Hollies had regular top 10 hits in both the UK and US charts that began with Stay in 1964, a cover of Maurice and the Zodiacs, followed up by Just One Look that reached number two in the UK.
Formed by Allen Clarke and Graham Nash – later of Crosby, Stills and Nash – in 1962, some of the Hollies’ best known hits include He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother and Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, which was styled after the American band, Creedence Clearwater Revival and their hit Green River which, given its popularity, never took off in the UK.
2. The Who
Had this list been top five rock bands, they may have topped it, but The Who are, arguably, a band of two decades and two forms of success. In the 1960s, The Who found hit the big time with My Generation – an anthem perfect for the decade when young people were against the establishment.
Released on their debut album, of the same name, My Generation is ranked as one the greatest rock songs in history by Rolling Stone magazine and was the archetypal mod rock anthem.
Led by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend with the late Keith Moon and Keith Entwistle, the band changed to hard rock in the 1970s with the acclaimed number one album Who’s Next.
The album included Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again, now made ever more popular thanks to the CSI television series along with the later hit Who Are You.
The Who recently released an album to mark 50 years in musicand their legacy is undeniable, not to mention that they made everyone windmill their arm whilst listening to Won’t Get Fooled Again to imitate Townshend’s power chord.
1. The Rolling Stones
Just about as iconic as you can get. With their logo of Mick Jagger’s lips and his world famous dance moves, he and Keith Richards – the apparent inspiration behind Captain Jack Sparrow, have dominated the music scene for decades, resonating with music lovers old and young.
The Rolling Stones have come out on top due to the undeniable impact they have had on music.
Formed in 1962, again part of the British Invasion, the Stones’ music identified with the young and rebellious in both the UK and US and is credited with introducing rhythm and blues into rock ‘n’ roll thanks to Jagger and Richards’ shared love for Little Richard.
The Jagger and Richards, like Lennon and McCartney, made magic in the 1960s before returning to their blues-rock roots in the 1970s in the Stones’ so-called ‘Golden Age’ with Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
The Stones continue to tour the globe with Mick and Keith leading the way. If you can think of a country, chances are they’ve been there.
Image courtesy of xiquinhosilva, with thanks.