Sometime in the mid 90s various media coined the Brit Rock term to describe bands like Oasis, Blur, The Verve and Pulp. But for metal fans of a certain generation Brit Rock was a movement inspired by US hair metal and heavy MTV rotation which burst onto the scene in the late 80s.
At the forefront of the scene were the big five: Thunder, Little Angels, Quireboys, Gun and Terrorvision. And beneath them existed a second tier of equally tenacious yet not quite as talented bands for whom hairspray and make-up knew no bounds.
This was a vibrant and hit-laden scene with all of the above starring on Top Of The Pops and grabbing support slots with some of the biggest names around. Both Thunder and Terrorvision made the bill at Def Leppard’s iconic Don Valley Stadium show in 1993 and Gun had already supported the Steel City legends on their arena tour the year before.
It was, as former Little Angel Tony Jepson confirmed to this very website earlier this week, a golden age for British bands. It was the last hurrah as far as cash-rich record labels were concerned and bands like the Quireboys benefited with major advances, studio time in LA and a series of high profile support slots.
Having watched the likes of Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Europe found the commercially hot hair metal scene the new breed of Brit rockers dreamed of headlining arenas, heavy rotation on music channels and a ready supply of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Battling it out with their US rivals – the likes of Poison, Cinderella, Winger, Bad English and the like – our boys gave it their all and it truly was an incredible era for fans of super-produced rock anthems and lighter-waving ballads.
But while the US invasion made an impression on the charts over here our lads never quite managed to make the same impression over there. Thunder and the Quireboys, in particular, boasted a sound ready made for America’s mass of FM rock stations and yet neither ever cracked a massive market made for rock.
When grunge came along the Brit Rock movement gradually died a slow and painful death but the talent never disappeared. And if Thunder, the greatest survivors of them all, have finally called it a day then the other members of the big five are still going strong.
Gun and Little Angels may have combined to become one but who cares? And they will join Terrorvision and the irrepressible Quireboys at Hard Rock Hell next month for what promises to be a festival steeped in nostalgia for fans or that sorely missed early 90s period.
Whether the Jepson-fronted Gun can replicate the success of the Quireboys’ new material remains to be seen and if Terrorvision have made the decision to trade on past glories then at least those glories are sensational.
Brit Rock was never about Oasis or Blur. Or at least not according to this website. It was about five top notch bands and their many impersonators putting a massive smile on the faces of fans across the UK. And we’re still smiling now.