Monday, 9 March 2009

The British Music Experience

by Kathryn Hadley

The links between music and history are undeniable. Music has been present throughout history and even dates back to prehistory, according to the latest research on music at the time of the Neanderthals! History has witnessed the rise and fall of various musical genres. The cultural and social impact of music has affected the course of history, and history and historical events have inspired numerous artists (see our selection of history-inspired pop songs). ‘The British Music Experience’ explores, for the first time, the history of British music and its cultural and social influence over the past 60 years…

‘The British Music Experience’ a new permanent exhibition, charting 60 years of British rock and pop music, opened today in the O2 bubble. The exhibition is divided into seven exhibition zones, representing seven different musical eras from 1945 to the present day, which provide an insight into how musical genres were formed and have influenced 20th-century British art, fashion and politics. It features over 100 artists, from the Beatles to Iron Maiden, Cilla Black to Elastica, and David Bowie to Motorhead, and explores a wide variety of musical genres, from Skiffle to Reggae, Rock ‘n’ Roll to Blues, and Punk to Grime. Each exhibition zone includes memorabilia loaned by artists such as The Rolling Stones and David Bowie and videos of the exhibits in action, as well as an interactive screen charting the era’s landmark events. The 1975-1985 zone notably contains David Bowie’s clown outfit worn in Ashes to Ashes; the 1993-2008 zone features Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar.

In the words of Harvey Goldsmith, the exhibition’s chairman, that UK was lacking a venue that
‘reflects the rich history of fantastic talent that we have spawned continuously
that has conquered the world.’

The British Music Experience
The O2
Peninsula Square
LondonSE10 0DX
Telephone: 020 8463 2000

For further information on the origins of the music industry, read our article Changing the Tune - Popular Music in the 1890s
For further information on the American Rock ‘n’ Roll revolution in the late 1950s and the profound cultural changes which it entailed, read our article Rock 'n' Roll and Social Change

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