Musicians and music fans alike continually praise these four British albums as the most groundbreaking and influential of the past forty years. From the emergence of punk in the 1970s to the rising popularity of dance and electronica, these four bands have played a major role in expanding our understanding of the cultural impact music can have.
1. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks (1977)
The world has never been the same since Johnny Rotten cackled, ‘I am an anarchist. I am an antichrist.’ That declaration sent a shockwave through the conservative music industry and was a rallying cry to the outsiders, misfits, and freaks of society to revolt against the stodgy traditionalism which embodied the system of the day. The importance of the Sex Pistols, to music and pop culture as a whole, cannot be overstated. Their influence was immediately felt by the likes of the Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and everyone from Morrissey and Joy Division to the Stone Roses and Oasis have acknowledged the significance of their impact on modern British rock. Now you can display the potential H-bomb of their iconic ‘God Save The Queen‘ design on your wall.
2. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
Yesterday’s announcement that Shane Meadows’ Stone Roses documentary, Made Of Stone, will get a nationwide North American theater release reminds us of what a watershed moment the Roses’ eponymous debut was. They were at the forefront of the Madchester scene with their unique swirl of melodic garage rock (with just enough shimmer to satisfy those still enamored of C-86) and Northern soul. Meadows’ film not only gives instant access to their resurrection, but it also provides some insight into the Roses’ legacy courtesy of gushing musicians’ endorsements, including Oasis’ Liam Gallagher. If you feel the same way as Liam, flaunt the arresting cover artwork of the brilliant ‘I Wanna Be Adored‘ single in your home.
3. Primal Scream – Screamdelica (1991)
Screamdelica was like a shot in the arm, a slap in the face, and eyes opening onto a whole new landscape. Primal Scream may have opened NME’s legendary C-86 compilation with the jangliest of jangle pop tunes, but they evolved into a genre-defying beast. One part garage rock, one part dance, and a whole lot of pure psychedelia, Primal Scream were the aural equivalent of an acid trip, and Screamdelica is its spiritual communion with some higher being. Don’t let anything be ‘higher than the sun’ with this Screamdelica print lording over your personal rave.
4. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
Like Primal Scream, Radiohead‘s signature sound evolved over a few short years. From alternative guitar rock perfectly adapted for radio airplay, they became more complex, brooding, and mysterious than anything on the immediate horizon. With OK Computer, Radiohead transformed into electronic wizards, but their sound wasn’t dancefloor electronica. It was a dystopian manifesto punctuated by odd bleeps and the long-winded wailing of Thom Yorke. Few bands have created such a rich tableau from such disjointed, agitated bits of gibberish and transformed it into pure art. The artwork of this OK Computer poster highlights several lines of Yorke’s poetry, including the curious image of ‘a pig in a cage on antibiotics.’
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