Famous Bands from Cambridge

Famous Bands from Cambridge

Cambridge has seen an enormous number of bands rise through the ranks from humble beginnings to giants of British rock music. Here at Guitar Lessons Cambridge, we wanted to point you in the direction of some of the biggest and most interesting names to have graced the city over the years. Ranging from pure-breed rock to electronica with a detour in eclectic jazz, you are sure to find some inspirational talent and musicianship here which will hopefully ignite your passion for learning, and loving the guitar.

Pink Floyd were among the biggest, most successful British rock bands ever, having an illustrious career marked by one of their albums: 'The Dark Side of the Moon' selling 50 million copies and being one of the biggest-selling albums in music history. The principal members were born in Cambridge and attended school and college there, meeting and experimenting musically before going on to form Pink Floyd. Guitarist David Gilmour was ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 14th greatest guitarist ever and is seen as the sculptor of the band's sound, with subdued and melodic playing and sheer genius in his emotive soloing. The band were characterised by electrifying live shows, epic 25-minute soundscapes and sheer whimsical psychedelia, and Guitar Lessons Cambridge is proud to share a hometown with this quintessential rock band. Although sometimes verging on the avant-garde, Pink Floyd's back catalogue includes masterclasses of blues and rock guitar playing, check out 'Time', 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' and that guitar solo on 'Comfortably Numb' to encounter just some of the reasons why this band is hailed in such high regard. 

The Soft Boys were an unusual pop presence amidst the UK punk music scene in the late 1970s, who had a short but sweet career spanning from 1976 to their break-up in 1981. After busking in and around Cambridge in the 1970s, lead singer Robyn Hitchcock formed the band who, after numerous line-up changes, released just two explosive studio albums: 'A Can of Bees' and 'Underwater Moonlight'. The band represented a strange yet catchy blend of strong vocals, funky basslines and no-holds-barred guitar solos in a style that seemingly resists a genre. The Soft Boys never let go of their Cambridge roots, recording a live album released in 1988 'Live at the Portland Arms'. Still an active music venue today, with Guitar Lessons Cambridge you could follow in their psychedelic-footsteps and inherit the stage from true British rock bands!

Hot Chip is an electro-pop band whose lead guitarist and keyboardist attended Cambridge University. Having released five studio albums to date, and being nominated for a Grammy and the Mercury Music Prize, the band are a strong presence in the British electronic music scene. Their most successful album, 'Made in the Dark' peaked at number four in the UK album chart and signalled a move towards more traditional songs such as ballads, whilst retaining a unique sound. Although not typically a guitar-based band, the recent change in their sound has seen guitars come to the fore in an unusual way, making the band a really great example of Cantabrigians who have used the guitar in an interesting manner, providing you with the inspiration of just what the instrument can do.

Henry Cow were a truly exciting band, incorporating the academic prowess that Cambridge is known for into their music. A group of multi-instrumentalists, Henry Cow met at a blues club at Cambridge University in 1968 and after finding mutual compatibility, played their first concert supporting fellow Cantabrigians Pink Floyd at Homerton College in Cambridge. Continually resisting an established genre, and the music industry in general, Henry Cow incorporated elements of jazz, experimentation and serious avant-garde into their music, using complex time-signatures and elaborate compositions as well as sheer free improvisation. If Pink Floyd aren't experimental enough for you, Henry Cow will certainly do the job, but don't let this put you off, they are a great listen in order to hear some true virtuosos in action.

If you enjoyed this article you might also want to find out more information about Recording and Rehearsal Studios in Cambridge.

Photography: Christian Bertrand

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