Ever since The Beatles split up in 1970, it’s safe to say that Scouse bands have been living in the shadows of the ‘Fab Four’ — after all, how could any band emulate the success of The Beatles and the impact they had on music?
In this article, La Vida Liverpool brings you The Top 10 Most Successful Scouse Bands Since The Beatles — a list of bands who have achieved success, albeit nowhere near the dizzy heights of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr.
The Rules & Point Scoring
- Bands must consist of two or more members (we are not including solo artists here)
- Bands must have been formed after 10th April 1970 (the date McCartney announced departure) according to Wikipedia
- Bands must be from Liverpool or Wirral according to Wikipedia (if you’re not happy then simply remove Wirral bands and have our new, shorter list)
- 1 point is scored for: UK No.1 single and each week spent at No.1, UK Top 10 single and each week spent in Top 10, UK No.1 album and each week spent at No.1, UK Top 10 album and each week spent in Top 10
- In case of points being level, band with more No.1 singles finishes higher. If still level, band with more No.1 albums finishes higher.
There are so many arguments, such as this only being based on success in the UK and bands being subject to different competition in different eras, but here is the Top 10 based on our criteria:
10: The Farm (20 points)
Formed in 1983, these charismatic Scouse lads finally saw some real success in 1990. After appearing in a cameo role in the 1989 movie The Final Frame starring Suggs of Madness, they soon got signed and hired Suggs as their producer. They went on to have a storming 1990 — reaching the UK Top 10 with Groovy Train and All Together Now and reaching No.1 in the UK Albums Chart with Spartacus the following year.
9. Echo & The Bunnymen (21 points)
Formed in 1978, the Liverpool based rock band’s first album, Crocodiles, reached the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart. Their rise to success continued and in 1983 they achieved their first UK Top 10 hit with The Cutter and hit No.2 in the UK Albums Chart with Porcupine.
Their following album, Ocean Rain, achieved success in 1984 along with their acclaimed single, The Killing Moon. Since their self-titled album in 1987 and band member changes and reformations, success has been varied although they will always have a cult following.
8. The Coral (21 points)
Exploding to fame in the early 2000s having come from humble Wirral beginnings, The Coral found success with their self-titled debut album in 2002. The album was subsequently nominated for the 2002 Mercury Music Prize and voted fourth best album of the year by NME Magazine. Their follow up album, Magic and Medicine, hit No.1 in the UK Albums Chart.
Their catchy, 60s style indie was impossible not to like as they graced us with popular tracks such as Dreaming Of You, Pass It On and In The Morning. The Coral beat Echo & The Bunnymen to 8th place as although they share 21 points, The Coral have a UK No.1 album to trump them.
7. Space (23 points)
Achieving most of their success in the mid 90s, Space rocketed to stardom with their debut album, Spiders, which went platinum in the UK. The album featured hits Neighbourhood and Me and You Versus The World. They then hit No.3 in the UK Albums Chart with Tin Planet, reaching No.4 in the UK Singles Chart with The Ballad Of Tom Jones and No.6 with Avenging Angels.
6. Cast (23 points)
Another Scouse band to achieve success mainly in the 90s, Cast emerged from the Britpop movement of the mid 90s. Their first three albums, All Change, Mother Nature Calls and Magic Hour all made the Top 10 in the UK Albums Chart, with various singles such as Walk Away and Guiding Star achieving a Top 10 status — they peaked at No.4 in 1996 with a stand-alone single, Flying. Cast share 23 points with Space, but take 6th place due to having more Top 10 singles and albums (neither band had a No.1 single or album).
5. The Christians (32 points)
Perhaps not your first guess for the Top 5? Well, let us tell you that The Christians’ first five singles all made the UK Top 40 and their self-titled debut album reached No.2 in the UK Albums Chart, selling over a million copies. Their two Top 10 singles, Harvest For The World and Ferry Cross The Mersey were both charity singles, with Ferry Cross The Mersey reaching No.1 in 1989 as a tribute to the Hillsborough victims.
4. The Lightning Seeds (36 points)
Ian Broudie’s band, formed in 1989, are yet another Scouse band since The Beatles to have achieved most of their success in the 90s. Broudie was the producer for Echo & The Bunnymen before creating The Lightning Seeds and saw success with albums such as Cloudcuckooland and Sense, as well as hits such as The Life Of Riley, which became famous as the theme on Match Of The Day’s Goal Of The Month competition.
The key success for them in these ratings is their single Three Lions. Similar to The Christians having huge success with songs for charity, The Lightning Seeds hit No.1 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed in the UK Top 10 for weeks with this track for the England football team’s Euro 96 campaign and then again with their World Cup 98 campaign.
3. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (78 points)
With a massive jump to 78 points, synthpop band Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (O.M.D) take 3rd place. The Wirral band, formed in 1978, had their first hit with Messages and went on to have many others such as anti-war hit, Enola Gay, and If You Leave.
O.M.D never actually had a UK No.1 single or a UK No.1 album, however they had 7 UK Top 10 singles, staying in the Top 10 for 30 weeks, and 6 UK Top 10 albums, staying in the Top 10 for 35 weeks. Front man, Andy McCluskey, is a hugely regarded song-writer and went on to conceive the popular girl group….
2. Atomic Kitten (82 points)
Having achieved success with O.M.D and as a song-writer, Andy McCluskey created the girl group Atomic Kitten in 1998 with fellow band member Stuart Kershaw — and they pip the O.M.D guys to 2nd place in our Top 10.
Selling over 10 million records worldwide, the group have had 13 UK Top 10 singles and 3 UK No.1 singles: Whole Again (the fourth-best-selling song of all time by a girl group in the UK), Eternal Flame and The Tide Is High (Get The Feeling). They had 2 UK No.1 albums and their re-released debut album, Right Now, was certified double platinum after selling over 600,000 copies.
1. Frankie Goes To Hollywood (95 points)
OK, so did you guess our No.1 correctly? Achieving huge success in the 80s, Frankie Goes To Hollywood claims the title of La Vida Liverpool’s Most Successful Scouse Band Since The Beatles. The group became only the second act in the history of the UK charts to reach No.1 with their first 3 singles — the first being Liverpool’s Gerry and the Pacemakers.
Relax, released in 1983, topped the UK Singles Chart and remained at No.1 for 5 weeks, staying in the charts throughout the year and becoming the seventh best-selling UK single of all time. Follow up smash hits, Two Tribes and The Power Of Love, made it three No.1 hits in a row for the Liverpool band. Frankie Goes To Hollywood boast 15 weeks at No.1 in the UK Singles Chart, 50 weeks in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 17 weeks in the Top 10 of the UK Albums Chart — making them our runaway winners and No.1 in our Top 10.
The Beatles = 993 points
So, there we have it — our Top 10 Most Successful Scouse Bands Since The Beatles. No place for The Zutons (they finished in 11th place with 18 points), no place for Dead Or Alive either (despite 2 No.1 hits) and no place for Eurovision Song Contest challengers, The Boo Radleys.
For the record, if we score The Beatles in the same way they would have achieved a mighty 993 points! It seems inconceivable that a Scouse band will achieve anywhere near that any time soon, but keep reading La Vida Liverpool as we keep you up to date with the best music coming out of Merseyside.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia and Official Charts Company