May 15: This day, that year in music history

British alternative rock band Blur Image Credit: AFP

Blur stamp their class on British pop culture


Blur, one of the most popular British bands to pursue the guitar-pop tradition popularised by The Kinks and The Jam, scored their first UK No.1 album with ‘Parklife’, which spent more than two years on the charts.

Among its 16 songs were the massive UK hit singles: ‘Girls & Boys’, ‘End of a Century’ and ‘To the End’.

The album cover for ‘Parklife’ was among the 10 chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of ‘Classic Album Cover’ postage stamps issued in January 2010.

Other albums chosen by the Royal Mail to celebrate British pop culture were Led Zeppelin ‘Iv’, David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Division Bell’, Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bell’ and Coldplay’s ‘A Rush of Blood to the Head’.

‘Parklife’ was also the Best British album of 1995 and was certified four times platinum selling in excess of five million copies.

Neil Diamond sparkles at the age of 67


Neil Diamond Image Credit: AP

Neil Diamond, the most famous Jewish male musician in the world, hit the No.1 spot on the US Billboard album charts for the first time in his career with ‘Home Before Dark’.

It came 42 years after his 1966 debut entitled ‘The Feel of Neil Diamond’, which featured the hit songs ‘Cherry Cherry’ and ‘Solitary Man.’

Diamond was 67-years-old when he recorded ‘Home Before Dark’, his 29th studio album. His previous highest chart position he enjoyed was in 1973 when the soundtrack to the film ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ peaked at No.2.

At 67, Diamond eclipsed Bob Dylan as the oldest artist to have a US number one. Dylan was 65 when he hit the top spot in 2006 with ‘Modern Times’.



Asia, one of rock music’s first-ever ‘supergroups’ went to No.1 on the US album charts with their self-titled album that would spend a total of nine weeks at the top and become the best-selling album in the US for the year.

The album’s success was powered by the massive hit ‘Heat of the Moment’.

Asia, whose sound was a perfect blend of classic rock, ‘80s rock and pop and progressive rock, was formed by former members of several seminal progressive rock bands including bassist/vocalist John Wetton (formerly in King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash), guitarist Steve Howe (Yes), keyboardist Geoff Downes (Yes) and drummer Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster and Emerson, Lake & Palmer).

Asia chose their name so that album buyers would come across their album first on the record racks in music stores.

May 15: Born this day, that year… in music history

Music prodigy Mike Oldfield


UK composer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, who created ‘Tubular Bells’ a 25-minute long instrumental song/album that took the world by storm.

Side B on vinyl comprised ‘Tubular Bells Part 2’, which ran for around 23 minutes.

Oldfield, who began conceptualising the album as a 17-year-old played almost all the instruments that featured a combination of an organ, grand piano and glockenspiel. There were no synthesisers.

The haunting intro of Tubular Bells was used as the theme song of the 1973 classic horror movie ‘The Exorcist.’

‘Tubular Bells’ set the standard for the progressive rock era spending 279 weeks on the British charts and selling over 15 million copies.

It won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition.