When guitar riffs were spreading throughout the music world in the 1960s, one of the 5 best Indie Bands of all time, The Velvet Underground, emerged in the USA.
Formed in 1964, The Velvet Underground experienced little initial success, however are now cited as one of the most influential groups of the 1960s. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was a huge success and voted as the most prophetic rock album ever made by Rolling Stones Magazine in 2003.
Having paved the way for the experimental rock sounds that were becoming more prominent, The Velvet Underground had many admirers who then went on to form their own indie bands.
The Byrds, also formed in 1964, followed in the footsteps of The Velvet Underground and celebrated little success throughout their existence. Considered to be one of the more important bands of the 1960s, they pioneered the musical genre of folk rock by throwing together a mix of influences from British bands such as The Beatles with traditional folk music.
The Byrds’ cover version of Bob Dylan’s unreleased song ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ was a roaring success, securing them Number 1s in the USA and UK singles charts. Many future bands were musically influenced by this 1960s group.
One of the 5 best Indie Bands from England are The Smiths, who are the most significant band to emerge from the British music scene in the 1980s. This had much to do with the groundbreaking song-writing partnership of Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr.
In 1984, The Smiths released their debut album, self-titled The Smiths, which reached Number 2 on the UK album chart. Although received with controversy, this album would be the cornerstone for future indie bands that were inspired by the music introduced by The Smiths.
In early 1985, they released Meat is Murder, which reached Number 1 on the album chart and went on to be viewed as one of the world’s greatest albums. Despite their continued success, The Smiths split in 1987 leaving behind a legacy to be proud of and a following that has withstood the test of time.
Primal Scream, formed in Glasgow in 1982, crashed into the 1980s indie pop scene with a new take on the music genre. Mixing indie rock with a new acid house sound, their 1991 album Screamadelica broke the band into mainstream rock music in a big way. Despite multiple line-up changes, Primal Scream have enjoyed commercial success for many years and continue to tour and record new material.
No article on the 5 best Indie Bands ever can be complete without The Stone Roses. This Manchester born band formed in 1983 and fronted by Ian Brown found their breakthrough debut album, self-titled The Stone Roses, topping the charts.
Originally intended as a B-side record, their single ‘Fools Gold’ quickly reached the status of being their most famous song and cemented their national fame. Recently reuniting in October 2011 for a worldwide tour, The Stone Roses are easily the greatest British indie band ever.