The 1990s saw a second golden era in British popular music, after a dry spell of almost three decades, with the advent of what was dubbed Britpop. But while the new craze brought England’s alternative music to the mainstream, its inspiration harkened back to the melodic, guitar-driven British pop rock of the ‘60s – think The Beatles and The Kinks. (These are the biggest pop hits by The Beatles.)
But Britpop was much more than a musical genre – more than England’s answer to the grunge music scene in the United States or the U.K.’s own shoegaze style. Essentially, Britpop was the soundtrack of an era marked by a distinctive pride in British culture, expressed through the so-called Cool Britannia movement – which also took its cues from the ‘60s, inspired by that decade’s own cultural signifier, “Swinging London.”
The movement’s “big four” – Oasis, Blur, Suede, and Pulp – filled the airwaves and topped the U.K. charts from about 1993 to 1999. The genre faded in the late ‘90s, giving way to post-Britpop bands like Coldplay, Starsailor, and Travis, but Britpop lives on in the hearts and minds of a generation. (See the 100 best pop albums of all time.)
To determine the 25 most popular Britpop songs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Official UK Top 40 chart, compiled by the Official Charts Company. Britpop songs were ranked based on a custom index score composed of the peak position and total number of weeks spent on the chart. The chart is based on official song downloads, CD sales, vinyl sales, audio streams, and video streams. Only songs included in the Official Charts Company’s list of the top 50 best-selling Britpop songs were considered.
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