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Rock Music Business Model: Sheffield Shapes Music History

You can find the British city of Sheffield in Yorkshire and The Humber region. It is one of the largest cities in the country with around 585,000 inhabitants. The city is thought to be the birthplace of the industrial revolution and it was the center of the steel industry for more than 100 years. But that is not all as Sheffield has also had a notable influence on the music industry over the decades. Pop music developed into a global phenomenon after the rise of The Beatles in the early 1960s. Sheffield produced numerous musicians and bands that shaped significant stages of various genre development.

Those musicians included, for example, Joe Cocker, who was born in Sheffield. He started his career under the nickname of Vance Arnold, but this attempt failed. In 1968 he recorded The Beatles song A Little Help From My Friends and he made a hit that shaped his career forever. His rough and soulful voice made him into a superstar of the Woodstock generation. The appearance of Joe Cocker at the legendary festival is still one of the highlights today. From then on, Cocker was a celebrity who experienced another high point in his career in the 1980s.

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Two of the most influential bands of the 1980s were undoubtedly ABC and The Human League. The song Don’t You Want Me? was one of the biggest hits of the decade. The Human League was founded in Sheffield in 1977 and sold more than 20 million records. The group are considered one of the most influential bands of the decade too. They fought their way to the top in quite a different pattern. The band significantly influenced the New Romantic scene that became well-known in England and the USA. The Human League changed not only the music but also the culture and the fashion scene.

On the other hand, Def Leppard introduced a completely different style of music. The hard rock band founded in Sheffield is also very successful and famous around the world. When Iron Maiden and Judas Priest started the new wave of British metal, Def Leppard defined themselves as the band of the US style of heavy metal. While people were shaking their heads in Europe, Def Leppard broke all standards in the United States. They sold more than 100 million records.

Cool Britannia
Cool Britannia

Other bands such as Oasis and Blur are top contenders for the crown of Britpop. In the middle, there was another band, the quality of which convinced many critics and fans. They named Pulp as the only true king of Britpop. They had to wait a long time for their breakthrough, but they sold millions of records in the end. Arctic Monkeys’ breakthrough came overnight. A YouTube video, recorded in their school gym, turned a school band into the most exciting group in England. Not only that, the debut made them into one of the most successful bands of all time.

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