Celebrity Midlanders Part One - Musicians
The West Midlands has long been hailed as a breeding ground for creative talent, and this gallery of famous musicians is no exception. Take our photo tour to find out which singers, producers and rock stars were born or raised in the region.
The West Midlands has long been hailed as a breeding ground for creative talent, and this gallery of famous musicians is no exception.
Take our photo tour to find out which singers, producers and rock stars were born or raised in the region!
... and keep an eye out for our forthcoming galleries 'Famous Midland Screen Stars' and 'Famous Midland Inventors', coming soon.
Birmingham indie rock outfit The Twang were formed in Quinton in 2001. Their debut single Wide Awake, released in early 2007, was recorded at The Magic Garden Studio in Wolverhampton. The band's football loyalties are sharply divided, with one member supporting Villa, another supporting Birmingham City and the rest supporting Albion.
1980s songstress Tiffany, most famous for the pop song I Think We're Alone Now, was actually born in California but moved to Cannock in around 2005 to be with her British husband. She now divides her time between there and Los Angeles. Since mid-2005, Tiffany has notched up several TV appearances, taking part in reality shows Hit Me Baby One More Time and the fifth season of Celebrity Fit Club.nextpage
Fran Healy found fame as the lead singer of the Scottish alternative rock band Travis, but was originally born in Stafford. He moved to Glasgow with his family at an early age and is now based in Berlin. The band were twice awarded BRITS and are widely noted to have influenced subsequent British bands like Coldplay and Keane. Their most memorable hits include Sing and Why Does It Always Rain On Me?.nextpage
Dexy's Midnight Runners frontman Kevin Rowland is from Wolverhampton. The band formed in Birmingham in 1978 and hit the big time in 1982 with their pop anthem Come On Eileen - which went straight to Number One in both the UK and the US. Kevin is now based in London and has reformed the band.nextpage
Rob Halford, pictured holding an award with fellow Judas Priest band members, was born and bred in Walsall. Although he now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, Rob is said to still have a house in his home town in the Midlands. Judas Priest, formed in West Bromwich in the early 1970s, remain one of the most successful British heavy metal bands of all time and enjoyed worldwide mainstream acclaim throughout the 1980s. Get tickets to their February 2009 gig in Birmingham.nextpage
Soul diva Beverley Knight was born and raised in Wolverhampton. She has enjoyed hit singles like Greatest Day, Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Come As You Are and supported Take That on their 2006 comeback tour. As well as notching up three MOBO awards, Bev received an MBE in 2007 for her work with several charities. She also has an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton.nextpage
Cannock-born rocker Glenn Hughes sang and played bass with Deep Purple and Trapeze. Now living in Los Angeles, Glenn is still performing today and in June he returned to his native West Midlands to play a one-off gig at The Robin 2 in Bilston. His family still live in Cannock. Read our exclusive interview with Glenn in June 2008.
Most of the members of the band Duran Duran hail from the Birmingham area. Keyboardist Nick Rhodes (pictured second left) is from Moseley, while drummer Roger Taylor and bass guitarist John Taylor are also Brummies. The band rehearsed in the late 1970s at the former Rum Runner Club on Broad Street, Birmingham, and enjoyed worldwide fame throughout the 1980s and 1990s.nextpage
Walsall rocker Noddy Holder found fame with 1970s rock group Slade, best known for their hits Merry Xmas Everybody and Cum On, Feel the Noize. The star frequently pops up on television and was famously the face of Nobby's Nuts in their 2005 ad campaign. Although he now lives in Cheshire, Holder still maintains a quintessential Black Country accent and his voice can be heard in the lifts at the Walsall New Art Gallery. nextpage
Former UB40 frontman Ali Campbell founded the band in his native city of Birmingham with an eight-strong line-up of fellow Brummies. Having played their first ever gig in a Kings Heath pub, the reggae outfit had huge success with over 50 hit cover singles, including Red Red Wine, Kingston Town and Can't Help Falling in Love With You. Ali left the band in January this year after almost 30 years to focus on solo projects.nextpage
Singer and actress Toyah Wilcox hails from Kings Heath in Birmingham and now lives in Worcestershire. She trained as an actress at the Old Rep Drama School and became prolific in the punk rock era of the late 1970s with appearances in films like Jubilee and Quadrophenia. Nowadays she regularly appears on television and radio.nextpage
World famous and highly respected Whitesnake guitarist Mel Galley was born and raised in Cannock, like fellow rocker and close pal Glenn Hughes (the pair played in the band Trapeze together). Tragically, Mel died at his home in Heath Hayes in July after being diagnosed with cancer in February.nextpage
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason (pictured second right) was raised in London but born in Edgbaston. As well as being the only constant member of Pink Floyd since the band formed in London in the mid-1960s, Nick is a qualified pilot and has become well-known on the auto racing circuit, having successfully competed in the 24 Hours at Le Mans.nextpage
Mercury Prize-winning singer-songwriter Jamelia hails from Smethwick. She was signed to record label Parlophone at just 15 after recording herself singing along to a kareoke machine at her home. She since reached the Top 40 with each of her three self-penned albums, belting out hits like Superstar and Thank You. Her fourth studio album will be released in 2009.nextpage
Slade's lead guitarist Dave Hill (pictured here on the left with Steve Priest from Sweet) moved to Wolverhampton from Devon with his parents as a baby. After attending Highfields Secondary Modern school, Dave worked for Tarmac before meeting up with Walsall singer Noddy Holder and fellow Wolverhampton resident Jimmy Lea, who went on to play bass in Slade. He lives in Penn and is reported to occasionally teach music at Lower Penn School. nextpage
Multi-instrumentalist musician Steve Winwood, who hails from Handsworth in Birmingham, has enjoyed tremendous success both as a solo artist and with various bands including Traffic, Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton) and Go. He hit the city's rhythm and blues scene while still at school, playing backing keyboards for Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, and released a new studio album Nine Lives earlier this year.
One of Birmingham's most famous rock exports is the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, who formed in the city in 1968 against a bleak industrial backdrop. One of the most influential rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath became pioneers of their genre with the 1970s quadruple-platinum album Paranoid. They have since sold over 100 million albums worldwide.
Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie, who was born in Cumbria but raised in Bearwood, Smethwick, found fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac. She wrote several hit songs for the band, including Over My Head, You Make Loving Fun and Don't Stop, which Bill Clinton used as a soundtrack for his 1993 Presidential campaign trail. nextpage
Grammy Award-winning musician Jeff Lynne shot to fame as the leader of the 1970s symphonic rock group ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). He met fellow Midlander and band member Roy Wood while he was living in his native Shard End in Birmingham. As a producer, he's worked with music legends such as George Harrison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. nextpage
Walsall-born drum and bass artist Goldie was a member of a breakdance crew based in Wolverhampton's Whitmore Reans and Heath Town before making his name as a graffiti artist in the West Midlands. In the 1990s he made the switch to drum and bass music, becoming a prolific breakbeats DJ and releasing his first global album Timeless in 1995, featuring the hit song Inner City Life. He's also appeared in several television shows and films including Guy Ritchie's Snatch.nextpage
Perhaps the region's best-loved star is Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, who is still a West Midlands resident and an active supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Plant was born in West Bromwich but raised in Halesowen. He impressed Jimmy Page in 1968 with his powerful voice and the duo teamed up with drummer John Bonham and bass player John Paul Jones to form one of the biggest selling rock bands in the world, performing iconic hits such as Stairway to Heaven. More recently, Plant released a duet album last year with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, which won critical acclaim.
Compiled by Lara Page
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