Birmingham's B-side

The wait is over… after hundreds of nominations, scores of Twitter selfies and lively online debate, our panel has chosen the 21 tracks that they feel epitomise the diverse and rich range of music from the West Midlands, past and present.


From a long list featuring over 150 songs, 85 artists and covering six decades, this is your B-side album...

 

B-SIDE: THE ALBUM


Apache Indian – Arranged Marriage (1992)
Hailing from Handsworth, Birmingham, one of the earliest UK artists of Asian origin to make an impact on the singles charts.

 

Joan Armatrading – Love & Affection (1976)
Only UK Top 10 hit for award-winning singer songwriter, who settled in Birmingham as a small child.

 

Black Sabbath – War Pigs (1970)
Opening track from the band’s second album, Paranoid.

 

Broadcast – The Book Lovers (1996)
Title track of EP from Birmingham indie electronic band, a favourite of the late John Peel.

 

The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’ (1966)
Number two hit written by Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood and since covered by the likes of The Blues Brothers and Olivia Newton-John.

 

The Devils – Barbarellas (2002)
Electronic pop band formed by two of Duran Duran’s original line-up, Nick Rhodes and Stephen Duffy, the track tells the story of the Birmingham club where they played many early gigs.

 

Dexys Midnight Runners – This Is What She’s Like (1985)
Twelve-minute track from the ‘comeback’ album Don’t Stand Me Down.

 

ELO – Mr Blue Sky (1977)
Number 6 hit taken from the album Out of the Blue and a favourite of Birmingham City fans.

 

Felt – Primitive Painters (1985)
Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser guests on this mid 80s indie favourite.

 

Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not The Man I Used To Be (1988)
Top 20 single by trio formed by singer Roland Gift and two ex members of The Beat, Andy Cox and David Steele.

 

Soweto Kinch – Jazz Planet (2004)
Live favourite by Birmingham-based jazz sax player and rapper.

 

Laura Mvula – She (2013)
One of the standout tracks from Birmingham-born MOBO winner’s debut album, Sing To The Moon.

 

Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie (1982)
Multi-million-selling number one hit which is a cover of two songs, Gimme the Music by U Brown, and Pass the Kouchie by The Mighty Diamonds

 

Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train (1996)
Number four hit from the band’s second album, Moseley Shoals.

 

Jocelyn Pook – Red Song (2001)
Haunting track from Solihull-born composer best known for her score for Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

 

The Specials – Gangsters (1979)
Debut single by ska revival favourites from Coventry and first release by the newly created 2 Tone Records.

 

Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution (1978)
Title track from their debut album, which reached number 9 in the UK charts.

 

The Streets – Turn The Page (2002)
Opening track of Birmingham-born Mike Skinner's debut album, Original Pirate Material.

 

Torqux feat. Lady Leshurr – Blazin’ (2013)
Rapper/singer from Solihull who collaborated with duo Torqux on this track from their debut EP.

 

UB40 – One In Ten (1981)
Top ten single from band’s second album Present Arms; the title is a reference to percentage of the workforce claiming unemployment benefit in the West Midlands in the summer of 1981.

 

The Wonder Stuff – Caught In My Shadow (1991)
Top 20 hit from Stourbridge band’s third album, Never Loved Elvis.

 

You can hear tracks on Spotify here and watch on YouTube here

 


 

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