In the early '90s, Nirvana launched a grunge era that revolutionized the American music industry. For the first time, alternative was the hottest sound around, and bands like Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Green Day were outselling some of the more traditional rock acts for the first time. Yet even as flannel shirts and the dark lyrics of Kurt Cobain and similar artists were taking over, bands across the pond were coming out with a whole new sound, which would eventually be known as Britpop.
An antithesis to the grunge culture, Britpop was alternative done in a whole new way. Inspired by classic British groups from The Beatles to The Kinks, Britpop featured a much more up-tempo vibe, which pitted the energetic youth spirit in the U.K. against the drama of the Nirvana crowd back in the U.S. Rather than lamenting the torments of the teen years, British music of the time was more likely to showcase the energy and thrill of a night out with the lads. It was as in-your-face as grunge was disconnected and disenfranchised.
While you've probably heard of some of the more famous British bands of the period. Oasis or Blur, anyone? They were only a few to popularize this style of music. Think you can recognize the greatest Britpop bands? Take our quiz to find out!
Led by the Gallagher brothers, which Britpop band had the greatest U.S. success, thanks to songs like "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Wonderwall"?
Wiki Commons by Alexander Frick and Anirudh Koul
Hailing from the working-class town of Manchester, Oasis flew up the charts on both sides of the pond in the mid-'90s with albums like "Definitely Maybe" and "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" While hits like "Wonderwall" made the band a musical success, it was the swagger of front-man Liam (left) and his outrageous blowouts with brother Noel (right) that helped Oasis make headlines.
Which band, whose biggest hit was "Song 2," engaged in a battle for Britpop glory with Oasis?
Wiki Commons by Σπάρτακος
Blur and Oasis fought an epic Britpop battle in the mid-'90s, and even to this day it's not clear which band came out on top. Led by singer Damon Albarn, the band took on Oasis in '95 with "Country House," but it was their 1997 self-titled album that produced "Song 2" and made the band a success in the States.
Name the "Bitter Sweet Symphony" band that released the 1997 album "Urban Hymns."
Wiki Commons by Danny Lechanteur
Richard Ashcroft and The Verve earned a '99 Grammy nomination for the mega-hit "Bitter Sweet Symphony." After breaking up in 1999 due to bitter infighting, Ashcroft told an interviewer that it would be more likely to see all four Beatles on stage together than to see a Verve reunion. Despite this, the band got back together in 2007 to make one more album before disbanding again.
While Britpop hit its peak in the '90s, this band, led by Jarvis Cocker, was together through the '80s. Can you name them?
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Pulp became a huge name in the mid-'90s thanks to the back-to-back albums "His 'n' Hers" and "Different Class." Their biggest song, "Common People," charted across the pond, and a 2014 film which premiered at SXSW breathed new life into this classic Britpop act.
Founded in The Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, which Britpop band featured John Power, formerly of The La's?
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After leaving The La's, John Power went on to become lead vocalist for Cast. The band released three albums between 1995 and 1999 but had its biggest success with the 1997 record "Mother Nature Calls," which featured the songs "Live the Dream" and "Free Me."
Named for a Woody Allen movie, which of these bands was originally called Surrender Dorothy?
Fronted by Louise Wener, Sleeper traces its roots to early '90s London as the Britpop movement was finding its footing. The band not only provided music for the "Trainspotting" soundtrack but also toured with Blur in the middle of the decade.
Justine Frischmann (shown here) and Justin Welch joined this band after leaving Suede. Can you name this group, which sang the hit song "Waking Up?"
Wiki Commons by FLibra
Elastica produced only two albums over a decade-long career, but the band managed to find success on both sides of the Atlantic. Their 1995 self-titled album was a huge seller, largely based on the song "Waking Up." This band's new wave sound was strongly inspired by the band Wire, so-much so that Elastica faced accusations of plagiarism from time to time.
They got their start in the college town of Oxford in '93. Name this band who hit it big with "In It for the Money."
Wiki Commons by Keira Vallejo
Led by the Coombes brothers, Supergrass entered the charts with "I Should Coco" in 1995, but they achieved their biggest success with "In it for the Money" in 1997. Their '99 song "Pumping on Your Stereo" featured a Muppet-inspired music video that portrayed the band with puppet-style bodies.
You might not associate this Chris Martin-fronted band with Britpop, but they got their start in the mid-'90s. Can you name them?
Wiki Commons by Raph_PH
Coldplay formed in London in 1996 during the peak of Britpop. Their post-Britpop sound found success with their 2000 album "Parachutes," thanks to songs like %0D"Yellow" and "Trouble." Things came full circle when Coldplay and Liam Gallagher of Oasis joined forces to sing "Live Forever" at One Love Manchester in 2017.
Which of these bands found fame with their 1994 album "Up to Our Hips," before touring with Oasis in 1996?
Wiki Commons by Amanda Ratcliffe
Formed in the late-'80s, The Charlatans achieved commercial success thanks to the '94 album "Up to Our Hips" and their 1995 self-titled album, which featured the single "How High." The band is often associated with a movement called Madchester, which blends house and dance music with alternative sound and rave culture.
Do you know which of these bands gets its name from "To Kill a Mockingbird?"
Named for Scout's neighbor in "To Kill a Mockingbird," The Boo Radleys formed in 1988. Their 1995 album "Wake Up!" hit at the peak of the Britpop craze, and their hit single "Wake Up Boo!" was the perfect blend of upbeat and deadpan.
Thom Yorke served as front-man for this British group, whose "OK Computer" album was a huge success. Think you can name them?
Wiki Commons by Nicolas Lœuillet
Radiohead made waves starting with their very first album in 1993. The debut, "Pablo Honey," contained the song "Creep," which shot up the charts. The band's 1997 release "OK Computer" not only earned a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, but it still ranks among the most beloved albums of the entire decade.
Formed in Wales in 1992, which Britpop act had a breakout with the '97 single "High?"
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Originally called Reef, Feeder found great success with their 1997 album "Polythene," as well as with their 2001 release "Echo Park." Songs like "High" and "Buck Rogers" boosted the bands popularity in the U.S., so much so that the band was picked to tour with Everclear.
Their third album "Coming Up" helped them find chart success in the U.S. and U.K. Name this band led by singer Brett Anderson.
Wiki Commons by Ed Webster
Suede was formed in '89, just in time for the Britpop movement of the '90s. The song "Trash" spurred sales of their 1996 album "Coming Up," which ultimately produced five top-ten singles.
This '80s band broke up a decade before the Britpop peak, but their influence on '90s bands is undeniable. Name this Morrissey-led group.
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The Smiths managed to make quite a mark in their 5 years together in the '80s. Lead singer Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr were an iconic songwriting duo who crafted such albums as "Meat Is Murder" and "The Queen Is Dead." Oasis later covered their 1986 tune "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out."
"Fools Gold" is their most memorable hit, but can you identify this Britpop band fronted by Ian Brown?
Wiki Commons by Alfio66
Manchester band The Stone Roses found big success with their self-titled debut album, largely thanks to the hugely successful single "Fools Gold." They released their second record "Second Coming" in 1994, broke up in 1996 during the height of Britpop and reunited to make new tunes in 2011.
Before forming the band Cast, John Power played bass for this Liverpool-based group. Can you name it?
Wiki Commons by Masao Nakagami
Hailing from The Beatles' hometown of Liverpool, The La's were led by singer and songwriter Lee Mavers. They had a huge with the '88 single "There She Goes," and their 1990 self-titled debut album also made the U.K. charts. After the band split in 1992, Mavers quit music, while Power went on to play with Cast.
Which Britpop band parted ways in 1995, then reformed in 2003 without former front-man Tom Hingley?
Wiki Commons by Clare Cridland
Closely associated withe the Madchester sound, Inspiral Carpets were still touring during the mid-'90s Britpop peak. They are best known for their 1990 debut album "Like" and its hit single "This is How It Feels."
Name this group, which was Wales' most successful band ever and had Kelly Jones as the lead vocalist.
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Move over London, Manchester and Liverpool ... Stereophonics came from Wales. Their Britpop or post-Britpop sound was on display on albums like the 1997 release "Word Gets Around" and the hugely successful "The Bartender and the Thief," which came out in 1999.
Think you can ID this Sheffield band that made a 1996 label debut with "The Sun is Often Out?"
CD:UK / ITV
Longpigs formed in Sheffield in 1993, making a name for themselves by touring with Echobelly and even Radiohead before releasing their 1996 debut album. You may recognize Longpigs's song "On and One," which appeared on the soundtrack to "Mission: Impossible."
Remember the name of this Britpop act, which fused traditional Indian instruments with modern rock 'n' roll?
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Named for an Indian Emperor from the 700s, Kula Shakar hit their peak in the mid-'90s as Britpop ruled the airwaves. They used Sanskrit lyrics and Indian instruments like the sitar to create a unique sound. Kula Shakar's biggest hit was a cover of the song "Hush," which appeared on the soundtrack to the horror flick "I Know What You Did Last Summer." Lead vocalist/guitarist Crispian Mills is shown here.
which London-based band was heavily inspired by The Smiths' sound and led by vocalist Martin Rossiter?
lewisslade.com / genemusic
Gene found major success on the indie charts with their 1995 album "Olympia" and 1997 release "Drawn to the Deep End." Even American audiences dug their Smiths'-like sound, resulting in a successful U.S. tour in 2000.
The original Britpop act, name the band that sang the song "Making Plans for Nigel."
Wiki Commons by Jean-Luc Ourlin
Formed in 1972 and making music all the way through the new millennium, XTC's punk, glam and new wave sound helped to inspire the Britpop movement of the '90s. The band had a huge hit with "Making Plans for Nigel" but also raised eyebrows with the 1986 single "Dear God."
Name this Manchester band that was formed when members of Happy Mondays joined members of the Ruthless Rap Association in 1993.
The Black Grapes' debut album "It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah" went hit #1 on the U.K. charts in 1996 and went platinum the next year. While not quite as successful, the band's second release "Stupid Stupid Stupid" went gold in '97. After splitting in 1998, the Black Grapes reunited in 2015 to hit the tour circuit.
Starting with "Expecting to Fly," which of these bands had three top-ten albums between 1996 and 2000?
Wiki Commons by AdamKR
Formed in 1993, The Bluetones went straight to #1 with their 1996 Britpop classic "Expecting to Fly." In between recording more albums with the band, lead singer Mark Morriss also recorded a folksy solo album in 2008.
Can you ID this group led by vocalist Rick Witter? It's one of the few Britpop bands that started in York.
Wiki Commons by birdies-perch
Shed Seven released four top-20 albums during the peak of the Britpop movement between 1994 and 1999, beginning with "Change Giver," which went gold. The band's biggest hit came in 1996, with the song "Going for Gold." Though they briefly split in 2003, the band got back together in 2007 to tour and produce new tunes.
After getting together in 1986, this Welsh band went on to sell more than 10 million albums. Think you can name them?
Wiki Commons by Markus Unger
Manic Street Preachers began with a punk and hard-rock sound before switching to a more classic Britpop vibe in the '90s. The band's 1996 album "Everything Must Go" was a major hit and went triple-platinum. Their fifth album "This is My Truth Tell Me Yours" also went to #1 in 1998.
Simon Fuller was the lead singer of this group, which was discovered by Noel Gallagher of Oasis. What is the name of this band?
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In 1995, a demo created by Ocean Colour Scene found its way to Noel Gallagher, who invited the band to tour with Oasis. He might have had some regrets a few years later, when the band's "Marchin' Around" album knocked "Be Here Now" by Oasis out of the #1 spot on the U.K. charts in 1997.
Lead singer Luke Haines didn't like being referred to as a Britpop singer, but can you guess which of these '90s bands he belonged to?
Later With Jools Holland / BBC / BBC Two
Formed in 1991, The Auteurs featured singer and songwriter Luke Haines at the mic. The band's biggest success came with the release of the 1996 album "After Murder Park," which was recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios.
Which band's biggest hit came with the song "Good Enough" off their 1996 album "Free Peace Sweet?"
Wiki Commons by Alex Marshall
Dodgy's 1996 album "Free Peace Sweet" went platinum in the U.K., thanks largely to the success of the single "Good Enough," and also charted in Canada. The band was still together 20 years later, releasing their sixth album "What Are We Fighting For?" in 2016.
Choose the correct name for this female-fronted Britpop band, which hails from Newcastle, England.
Wiki Commons by Sloan10
Once called The Joans, Dubstar became a three piece when vocalist Sarah Black (shown here) joined the group in 1992. There 1995 debut album, which blended pop, dance and alternative sounds, was a huge hit thanks to the single "Stars."
Mike Berenyi and Emma Anderson (shown here) both provide vocals for this Britpop act. Can you name the band, which is known for the 1992 album "Spooky?"
Wiki Commons by Beth Herzhaft
Lush got their start in London in the '80s and had their greatest success with the 1992 album "Spooky." The band managed to crack the Billboard 200 chart with both their 1994 and 1996 albums, "Split" and "Lovelife" during the peak of Britpop mania in the States.
Identify this Scottish band, which released the 1994 album "Give Out But Don't Give Up."
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Primal Scream started making music in Glasgow in 1982. Their successful 1991 release "Screamadelica" blended techno, house and pop, but their 1994 album "Give Out But Don't Give Up" fit right into the Britpop scene of the time. Bobby Gillespie supplied lead vocals for the group.
The soccer anthem "Three Lions" made this Britpop band a permanent part of English culture. Know which group sang this tune?
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Formed in Liverpool in 1989, The Lightning Seeds had a hit with the 1995 song "Change," but it was a 1996 anthem that put them on the map. To celebrate England's hosting of the European Soccer Championship, the band recorded "Three Lions," which went to #1 in 1996 and remains a footie staple to this day.
Formed in 1995 during peak Britpop, identify this group whose lead singer is Tom Chaplin (shown here).
Wiki Commons by Yummifruitbat
Keane emerged out of the mid-'90s Britpop era as one of the top bands to help create the post-Britpop sound. There 2004 album "Hopes and Fears" was a commercial success, but it was the 2006 issue "Under the Iron Sea" that made them a big name in the U.S.
"Chasing Cars" is one of this bands biggest hits. Think you can name them?
Wiki Commons by Ellen from Rotterdam
Snow Patrol emerged out of Dundee, Scotland in 1994. Originally named Polarbear, they stuck with the cold-weather concept when they became Snow Patrol in 1997. Their 2004 album "Final Straw" was relatively successful in the States, but it was the appearance of their song "Chasing Cars" in a 2006 episode of "Grey's Anatomy" that shot them to the top of the charts.
Guess which of these Britpop acts was once called Grey Lantern, a name which later appeared in the title of their first album?
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Mansun was originally called Grey Lantern, and they liked the name so much that even after switching the name of the band to Mansun, they called their 1997 debut album "Attack of the Grey Lantern." The group honed their on-stage skills touring with fellow Britpop acts Shed Seven and The Charlatans but split in 2003 over the pressures of recording a planned fourth album.
Vocalist Sonya Madan held the mic as lead singer of this group, whose single "Insomnia" appeared on the "Dumb and Dumber" soundtrack.
Wiki Commons by p_a_h
The members of Echobelly got together in London in 1992 and released a successful debut album "Everyone's Got One" two years later. The album featured the single "Insomnia," which showed up on the "Dumb and Dumber" soundtrack. Echobelly's 1995 album "On" broke the top ten on the U.K. album charts as Britpop was taking over the airwaves.
Another Britpop band out of Wales, this group's greatest success came with "International Velvet." Do you know their name?
Wiki Commons by Will Ellis
Formed in Wales in the early '90s, Catatonia had a top-40 single with the 1996 song "You've Got a Lot to Answer For." Their 1998 release "International Velvet" went triple platinum on the strength of the single "Mulder and Scully."
Which of these bands, led by Gruff Rhys (shown here), started off singing with such strong Welsh accents that their own record label couldn't understand them?
Wiki Commons by LuxTonnerre
When he signed Super Furry Animals to the Creation label, manager Alan McGee suggested to the Welsh band that they start singing in English to attract more fans. He soon learned that they already were, albeit with thick Welsh accents. The band went on to score nine top-25 albums over the next few decades, including pushing Blur's 1997 released from the #1 spot on the U.K. album charts.
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