Famous Bands from Cambridge

Many of the students here at Piano Lessons Cambridge find it truly inspiring to learn that such musical greats as Pink Floyd originated right here in Cambridge before gaining world-wide fame.

The diverse range of musicians to have emerged from Cambridge is a reflection of the wealth of opportunity on offer in this vibrant city.

We encourage students to engage with the musical history of Cambridge and acquaint themselves with the music of artists that began here as this can provide an enlightening and inspirational experience for budding pianists. We have therefore compiled a short introduction to some of these artists right here for you. Here are the biographies of four of the most profound and awe-inspiring artists to have emerged from Cambridge...

Pink Floyd was originally formed by band members Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright in 1965. The band were distinguished by their psychedelic and progressive style of music, which they energetically exhibited in extravagant live performances. The quartet threw themselves into the underground music scene in the late 60s, performing all over London and producing two singles and a debut album. Over the next two years, the band saw the addition of David Gilmour in 1967 and the loss of Barrett in 1968 due to mental health issues, leaving Waters to assume the role of songwriter. The band gained worldwide success with their five profound albums: The Dark Side of The MoonWish You Were Here, AnimalsThe Wall  and The Final Cut, which were produced in the ten- year span from 1973-1983. By 1985, both Wright and Waters had left the band, but Gilmour and Mason resolved to continue the legacy of Pink Floyd. Wright soon re-joined and the band toured in 1994, producing two more albums: A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. The talented band entered the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Having sold 250 million albums to date, the global success of this band is truly inspirational and praiseworthy.

The Soft Boys first formed in Cambridge in 1976 with the band name Dennis and the Experts, consisting of Robyn Hitchcock (guitarist), Morris Windsor (drummer), Andy Metcalfe (bassist), and Rob Lamb (guitarist). However, Lamb was soon replaced by Alan Davies in 1976, and Davies, in turn, was replaced by Kimberly Rew. Metcalfe was also replaced by Matthew Seligman in 1979. The band were renowned for their psychedelic sound which was typical of the punk movement in the 1970s. Their album Underwater Moonlight gained them a significant place within the neo-psychedelia scene. In 1980, the band broke up, and Rew formed a new band called Katrina and the Waves, while Hitchcock went a separate route, experimenting further with the surreal style of the Soft Boys. The band toured in 1994 and in 2001, as a tribute to the 20th anniversary of Underwater Moonlight. They released a new album Nextdoorlandin 2002 but broke up soon after in 2003.

Hot Chip was first established in 2000, and have since released five profound albums: Coming on Strong (2004),The Warning (2006), Made in the Dark (2008),One Life Stand (2010) and In Our Heads (2012). The band is constituted of drummers Charles Hayward and Leo Taylor, Fimber Bravo on the steel pan, Sarah Jones on backing vocals during the 2012 tour, and Rob Smoughton, who played live drums, guitar, percussion and provided backing vocals for the band on their tour in 2010, and again in 2012. Hot Chip specialises in electronic music and has been awarded one Grammy award, one Mercury Prize, and two Virgin Media Music Awards for their success. They have also played sets at such renowned festivals as Glastonbury, V Festival, Bestival, and Coachella, and have been praised for their exciting and unpredictable live performances.

Henry Cow formed in 1968 at Cambridge University, when two talented instrumentalists, Fred Frithan and Tim Hodgkinson, discovered their mutual taste for an unconventional approach to music, and joined forces. Henry Cow incorporated various genres of music in their songs, from rock to classical music, with complex timings and improvisations, to create a completely new and unheard-of style of music. The members constantly strived to reinvent new ways of playing instruments and composed pieces which pushed boundaries and challenged mainstream music. While various band members came and went, Chris Cutler (drums) and Lindsay Cooper (bassoonist and oboist) were long-term members of the avant-garde rock band. The band maintained their stance against commerciality in the music business, allowing them to create a more experimental style of music. The band created six albums in total, one of which showcased their live performances, Henry Cow Concerts. They also released The 40th Anniversary Henry Cow Box Set, a compilation of nine CDs and one DVD, which encapsulated more than ten hours of live recordings during the years 1972-1978, four hours of which was improvised.

graphical divider

Continue Reading