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Today we reveal the 21 tracks which our panel of experts, including Laura Mvula, Horace Panter from The Specials and Phil Etheridge from The Twang, have chosen for a unique virtual album of the best music to come from the West Midlands over the last six decades. There are, as you can see, a few surprise omissions, but some favourites in there too...

*******UNTIL 4PM, WEDNESDAY JULY 16th*******



A diverse range of artists from Black Sabbath to Broadcast and from The Streets to Steel Pulse feature on a new 21-track virtual album showcasing the very best music from the West Midlands.

Duran Duran, Led Zeppelin and The Move are three notable absentees from the playlist, which spans six decades and myriad genres including heavy metal, reggae, electronica, jazz, R&B, ska and pop.

The album is the creation of B-side, a nationwide campaign by Visit Birmingham, the city’s official leisure tourism programme, to celebrate the musical creativity of the city region.

It is available to hear at

A long list of tracks was drawn up through public nominations, celebrity ‘selfies’ and suggestions on Twitter, which was then discussed and distilled into the final ‘album’ by a panel of industry experts, all of whom have a connection with the region.

Laura Mvula, Horace Panter of The Specials and Pete Paphides were amongst the panel of singers, musicians and industry experts who met at Town Hall Birmingham on July 9th, to create the virtual album.

BBC 6Music presenter Matt Everitt, who chaired the panel, said: “Birmingham’s musical output is often looked at in simplistic terms, but what we’ve tried to do (in my mind successfully) is capture some of the inventiveness, diversity, humour, passion and flair that the area has produced.

“The remit wasn’t just to pay lip service to the obvious names, nor champion the unsung or promote the next generation – but to create a playlist of amazing music regardless of age or genre. A collection of songs that you’d love to listen to regardless of its geographical birthplace.”

Laura Mvula said: “As a product of the city myself, I was delighted to be involved; I’ve learned so much – it’s been the ultimate music lesson – every school should have one of these!”

Visit Birmingham assembled the panel of musicians, writers, promoters and presenters, which also included Vix Vox (ViX and her MsChiefs and ex Fuzzbox) and Phil Etheridge from The Twang.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services at Visit Birmingham, said: “We feel the final B-side album perfectly reflects the region’s rich and diverse musical heritage, and shows that with artists including Lady Leshurr, Soweto Kinch and Laura Mvula, it is a hotbed of exciting new talent.

“Music tourism is big business; in 2012 it was worth £119 million to the West Midlands economy and an incredible 50% of concert audiences came from outside the region – far higher than the national average of 41%.”


Apache Indian – Arranged Marriage (1992)
Hailing from Handsworth, Birmingham, one of the earliest UK artists of Asian origin to make an impact on the singles charts.

Joan Armatrading – Love & Affection (1976)
Only UK Top 10 hit for award-winning singer songwriter, who settled in Birmingham as a small child.

Black Sabbath – War Pigs (1970)
Opening track from the band’s second album, Paranoid.

Broadcast – The Book Lovers (1996)
Title track of EP from Birmingham indie electronic band, a favourite of the late John Peel.

The Spencer Davis Group – Gimme Some Lovin’ (1966)
Number two hit written by Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood and since covered by the likes of The Blues Brothers and Olivia Newton-John.

The Devils – Barbarellas (2002)
Electronic pop band formed by two of Duran Duran’s original line-up, Nick Rhodes and Stephen Duffy, the track tells the story of the Birmingham club where they played many early gigs.

Dexys Midnight Runners – This Is What She’s Like (1985)
Twelve-minute track from the ‘comeback’ album Don’t Stand Me Down.

ELO – Mr Blue Sky (1977)
Number 6 hit taken from the album Out of the Blue and a favourite of Birmingham City fans.

Felt – Primitive Painters (1985)
Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser guests on this mid 80s indie favourite.

Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not The Man I Used To Be (1988)
Top 20 single by trio formed by singer Roland Gift and two ex members of The Beat, Andy Cox and David Steele.

Soweto Kinch – Jazz Planet (2004)
Live favourite by Birmingham-based jazz sax player and rapper.

Laura Mvula ­– She (2013)
One of the standout tracks from Birmingham-born MOBO winner’s debut album, Sing To The Moon.

Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie (1982)
Multi-million-selling number one hit which is a cover of two songs, Gimme the Music by U Brown, and Pass the Kouchie by The Mighty Diamonds

Ocean Colour Scene – The Day We Caught The Train (1996)
Number four hit from the band’s second album, Moseley Shoals.

Jocelyn Pook – Red Song (2001)
Haunting track from Solihull-born composer best known for her score for Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

The Specials – Gangsters (1979)
Debut single by ska revival favourites from Coventry and first release by the newly created 2 Tone Records.

Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution (1978)
Title track from their debut album, which reached number 9 in the UK charts.

The Streets – Turn The Page (2002)
Opening track of Birmingham-born Mike Skinner's debut album, Original Pirate Material.

Torqux feat. Lady Leshurr – Blazin’ (2013)
Rapper/singer from Solihull who collaborated with duo Torqux on this track from their debut EP.

UB40 – One In Ten (1981)
Top ten single from band’s second album Present Arms; the title is a reference to percentage of the workforce claiming unemployment benefit in the West Midlands in the summer of 1981.

The Wonder Stuff – Caught In My Shadow (1991)
Top 20 hit from Stourbridge band’s third album, Never Loved Elvis.


For more information or images, please contact Jon Perks or Laura Turner at Liquid – or; 07584 197048 or 07876 701937.

Editors’ notes:
Last year’s Wish You Were Here report by UK Music and Visit Britain revealed the ‘music tourism’ industry was worth an impressive £119 million to the West Midlands economy in 2012.
The report also showed that an incredible 50% of concert audiences in the West Midlands are music tourists – far higher than the national average of 41%.

Visit Birmingham
Visit Birmingham is the city’s official leisure tourism programme for Birmingham, part of Marketing Birmingham’s destination marketing strategy. As one of the top visitor cities in the UK, attracting over 33.8 million visitors a year, Birmingham is a must-visit leisure destination for all. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Investing in the City Region project.


How were the tracks chosen?
The public were invited to submit suggestions via Twitter and to create a long list of over 150 tracks, which were then considered by the panel of experts at a special session on stage at Town Hall Birmingham on July 9th. From the long list, they chose 21 tracks which form the final ‘album’.

What were the criteria?
Tracks had to be by West Midlands artists and, in the opinion of the nominee, epitomise the diverse music of the region, past or present.

I thought there were going to be 20 songs, not 21…?
After several hours of deliberation and debate, the panel could not decide on the last two tracks from a choice of three, so opted to include all of them. In the tradition of all great albums, there is also a 22nd ‘secret track’.

Who was on the panel?
All panellists have both a connection to the West Midlands and the music industry – Birmingham-born Matt Everitt (ex Menswear and now BBC 6Music presenter) chaired the panel, which included singer Laura Mvula; Phil Etheridge (The Twang); Horace Panter (The Specials); music writer Pete Paphides; Vix Vox (ViX and her MsChiefs and ex Fuzzbox), Abigail Kelly (opera singer); Markus Sargeant (The Glee Club Birmingham); Craig Hamilton, (School of Media, Birmingham City University); Jez Collins (Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University).

How many songs made the long list?
Over 150 songs were suggested, with more than 80 different artists represented.

No Duran Duran? No Led Zeppelin?
Matt Everitt commented: “Hacking our long list down to just 21 songs was incredibly hard and we are expecting some quizzical looks when people realise Duran Duran and Led Zep aren’t present (our response would be, the former’s roots are represented by a track from their original frontman about the band’s formation, and the latter were eschewed as they were as much the product of London as they were the Midlands) but we were collating something that would surprise people with songs that people didn’t even realise came from Birmingham. But there’s soul, reggae, pop, jazz, hip hop, indie, two-tone, britpop, metal and yes, Mr Blue Sky. What else could you possibly want?”

How can people hear the album?
Go to – due to licensing issues a handful of tracks are unavailable.

I don’t have/want a Spotify account. Can I hear the tracks anywhere else?
You can sign up to Spotify for free and hear the album; selected tracks are also available on a YouTube playlist, which is also listed at

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Liquid Public Relations in the following categories: Entertainment & Arts, Leisure & Hobbies, Media & Marketing, for more information visit