Sunday, March 11, 2018

VA - Brum Beat


There has never been a decade before or since, that has produced so much innovation and creativity regarding the development of popular music. This was particularly true in Britain where the 'Mersey Sound' led by The Beatles and others, would ensure that British popular music would have a far-reaching influence on the rest of the world. The 1950s may have lit the fuse in terms of rock 'n' roll, but the 1960s was certainly the explosion. In light of this, the period may be described as a "Big Bang" because of the long and continuing influence that the 1960s has had on the development of music in subsequent decades.

The term "Brum Beat" or "Brumbeat" originated in the early 1960s in the wake of the famous "Mersey Sound" (later incorrectly described as "Mersey Beat") that came out of Liverpool and was spearheaded by such well known groups as The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers. (Mersey Beat was actually the name of the famous Liverpool music scene and entertainment newspaper founded by Bill Harry - see

The Mersey Sound was sweeping all over the country by early 1963, resulting in big record companies (based in London) looking to northern cities in search of similar marketable talent. Cliff Richard and The Shadows producer Norrie Paramor of EMI Records, went up to "Brum" (slang for the City of Birmingham) in order to audition and discover local talent to sign up.

Birmingham is a large industrial city located about halfway between London and Liverpool and was thus subjected to influence from the Liverpool Mersey Sound in the north and also the Rhythm & Blues that was becoming popular in the London area and promoted by bands like the Rolling Stones.

Norrie Paramor apparently came up with the term "Brum Beat" as part of an advertising campaign to promote national interest in the bands he had signed up from Birmingham, but "Brumbeat" would later become known more for the geographical location that certain groups and performers came from, rather than for a single unifying 'sound'. That geographical location not only included Birmingham, but also the heavily populated area to the west as far as Wolverhampton and known locally as the "Black Country" because of its long history of coal mining and heavy industrial activity. This area includes towns such as Walsall, Dudley, and Stourbridge.

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