The Best British Artists Of All Time

1960’s

Beatles: Because you knew they were always going to be #1.
Key Album: Revolver

Kinks: This is how the ‘holy trinity of rock’ should be ranked, with the Kinks just a tad below the Beatles.
Key Album: Arthur

Who: A slew of amazing early singles, The Who Sell Out and Tommy, all in the ‘60’s.
Key Album: Tommy

Stones: Their late ‘60’s run is the reason they’re here, and not in the 70’s category.
Key Album: Let It Bleed

Zombies: Odyssey and Oracle is brilliant, that’s why.
Key Album: Odyssey and Oracle

1970’s

Queen: The band that meant more to me in the ‘70’s than any other.
Key Album: Queen II

David Bowie: Only Scary Monsters ranks with his ‘70’s stuff, which is pretty much all fantastic.
Key Album: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars

Electric Light Orchestra: Can’t say Lynne is underrated as his heyday in this decade saw him sell a kajillion albums.
Key Album: Out Of The Blue

The Clash: The debut up to London Calling (it DID come out in 1979, dammit!!)
Key Album: London Calling

Elton John: Great glasses, great keyboard skills, top tunes and no Disney.
Key Album: Honky Chateau

Roxy Music: The glam years are the best, but even their later day disco-ish albums had some great songs.
Key Album: Siren

Elvis Costello: Because the run from My Aim Is True through Trust is unmatched in quality.
Key Album: Armed Forces

Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool and Labour Of Lust. Enough said.
Key Album: Jesus Of Cool

Pink Floyd: The albums they released in the ‘70’s are more influential now than ever.
Key Album: Wish You Were Here

Genesis: One of the best prog bands of the decade, and more Beatles inspired than you remember.
Key Album: Selling England By The Pound

Joe Jackson: Just as talented as Elvis Costello and twice as angry.
Key Album: Look Sharp!

Sex Pistols: For their historical importance more than their music.
Key Album: Never Mind The Bollocks

Fleetwood Mac: These guys owned the ‘70’s.
Key Album: Tusk

Led Zeppelin: The best hard rock act of the ‘70’s.
Key Album: IV

Supertramp: More than just Breakfast In America, although that’s pretty top, too.
Key Album: Crisis, What Crisis?

The Stranglers: More talented than most of the 3 chord set. The Doors of punk.
Key Album: The Raven

Alan Parsons Project: For Parsons’ production skills, yes, but also for the albums, which were better than he gets credit for.
Key Album: I Robot

1980’s

New Order: the most consistent and groundbreaking of any English band during the ‘80’s.
Key Album: Low Life

XTC: A very close second, and the very definition of underrated.
Key Album: Skylarking

Smiths: Johnny Marr made this band what it was, not Morressey.
Key Album: The Smiths

Orange Juice: Unknown and forgotten, but not by me. No Smiths without these guys.
Key Album: You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever

Jazz Butcher: Started life as a goof, but ended up one of the best pop songwriters of any decade.
Key Album: A Scandal In Bohemia

OMD: Pioneering synth band whose early works are still revolutionary pop greatness.
Key Album: Architecture and Morality

The The: The poet laureate of the 1980’s.
Key Album: Soul Mining

Prefab Sprout: Earned their place here for Steve McQueen alone.
Key Album: Steve McQueen

(English) Beat: the best ska band to come out of the 2 tone movement, but ended up a great pop band.
Key Album: Special Beat Service

Pet Shop Boys: One of the most consistently enjoyable acts of the ‘80’s.
Key Album: Introspective

The Cure: Doom and gloom, yes, but great albums overall.
Key Album: The Head On The Door

Depeche Mode: Only the Cure had more staying power, and the ‘Mode’s early albums are still great listens.
Key Album: Some Great Reward

The Jam: More a singles act than an albums act, but what singles, eh?
Key Album: All Mod Cons

Simple Minds: Everything up to the fantastic New Gold Dream is a stone cold classic.
Key Album: Empires and Dance

Madness: The second best ska band of the decade, and they’re even better now.
Key Album: The Rise and Fall

Specials: The debut is fantastic, and Ghost Town, their swan song (literally!) was a great way to go out.
Key Album: The Specials

The Police: Synchronicity is shite, but every album before that one is excellent.
Key Album: Regatta De Blanc

Thomas Dolby: The Golden Age Of Wireless, Flat Earth and his production work with Prefab Sprout make this guy a legend, not a one hit wonder.
Key Album: The Flat Earth

China Crisis: Totally forgotten, but released 3 excellent albums well worth your time.
Key Album: Working With Fire and Steel

Talk Talk: They became the critical darlings of post-rock, but back when they were actually writing pop songs they were pretty darn good!
Key Album: The Colour Of Spring

Stone Roses: Only one album this decade, but a near perfect one.
Key Album: The Stone Roses

1990’s

Blur: It had to be Blur, although I bounce back and forth between them and SFA all the time; the most quintessentially British band since the Kinks.
Key Album: Parklife

Super Furry Animals: Creative, wacky and the British equivalent of The Flaming Lips.
Key Album: Radiator

Boo Radleys: Consistently excellent, often forgotten, psychedelic but at their core a really fantastic pop band.
Key Album: Giant Steps

Pulp: His N Her’s, Different Class and This Is Hardcore are 3 of the best albums of the decade and not a bad run.
Key Album: Different Class

Primal Scream: Could have been higher if not for the crap they release between brilliant albums.
Key Album: Screamadelica

Pop Will Eat Itself: Groundbreaking hybrid of rock and dance.
Key Album: Cure For Sanity

Happy Mondays: One great album, but one of the best of any decade, period.
Key Album: Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches

Spiritualized: The trippiest band on the planet back in the early-mid ‘90’s and drone rock with a melody.
Key Album: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Underworld: The best electronic act of the decade.
Key Album: Dubnobasswithmyheadman

Air: The second best electronic act of the decade.
Key Album: Moon Safari

Renegade Soundwave: Like Pop Will Eat Itself, these guys were groundbreaking, and unfortunately remembered more for their remix work for other bands than their own music, which is fantastic.
Key Album: In Dub

Advertisements