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MERCIA AREA IS A HOT BED OF MUSICIANS
|The Midlands has long been hailed as a breeding ground
creative talent, and this gallery of famous musicians is no exception.
Birmingham indie rock outfit The Twang
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
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.
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?.
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.
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.
Soul diva Beverley Knight
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
Cannock-born rocker Glenn
and played bass with Deep Purple and Trapeze. Now living in Los
Angeles, Glenn is still performing today and in June he returned
native West Midlands to play a one-off gig at The Robin 2 in
Bilston. His family still live in Cannock.
|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.
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
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.
Singer and actress Toyah Wilcox
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
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.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick
(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.
Mercury Prize-winning singer-songwriter Jamelia
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.
Slade's lead guitarist Dave
(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.
|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
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
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
Grammy Award-winning musician Jeff
shot to fame as the leader of the 1970s symphonic rock group ELO
(Electric Light Orchestra). He met fellow Midlander and band member Roy
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.
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
Perhaps the region's best-loved star is Led Zeppelin singer
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
|Gerald Berners Composer
|Lloyd Cole - Singer
|Elgar Howarth - Trumpeter
|Sir Adrian Boult Conductor
|Vince Hill Singer
|Eric Coates Composer
|John Ogdon Composer
|William Alwyn Composer
|Charles Burney Composer
|Noddy Holder Musician
|Rick Astley Singer
|Christopher Evans Singer
|Beverley Knight Singer
|James W. Tate Pianist
|Maggie Teyte Singer
|Rutland Broughton Composer
|George Michael Singer
|Henry Clifton 1 Singer/songwriter
|Paul Young Singer
Bayley – (Musician - former vocalist
of Wolfsbane and Iron
Butler – bassist of (Black
Campbell and Robin Campbell
– (Musician, UB40)
Musician - Fine Young Cannibals & The Beat
Evans – (Singer)
||Frank Farrell – (Rock bassist and
co-writer of chart hit "Moonlighting")
||Fuzzbox late 1980s girl band
Gift – (Actor and musician - Fine Young Cannibals)
|Mark "Barney" Greenway –(Musician - Napalm
Halford – (Musician - Judas
Hassan Percussionist - UB40
Hudson – (singer)
Iommi – guitarist of (Black
– (R&B singer)
Falconer Bass Player - UB40
Ketèlbey – (Composer)
Laine – (Paul McCartney and Wings)
Lynne – (Musician; co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)
McNally – (Singer - Mis-Teeq)
||Christine McVie Musician - Fleetwood Mac
Palmer – (Musician - Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
||Michael Pinder –
(Musician - The Moody Blues)
Rhodes – (Musician - Duran
||John Taylor –
(Musician - Duran Duran)
||Roger Taylor –
(Musician - Duran Duran)
Sax Player - UB40
||Bill Ward – drummer of (Black
Willcox – (Singer, actress and television presenter)
||Chris Wood – (Musician;
– (Musician - co-founder of the Electric Light Orchestra)
(Jacob Tugby, Industrial electronic musician)
|The Bomb Party (band)
||Felix Buxton (Half of Basement
Deacon (bassist, Queen)
|The Deep Freeze Mice (band)
||Diesel Park West (band)
||The Displacements (band)
||Gemini (musician) (DJ)
|Gaye Bykers on Acid (band)
Grech Violinist/ Bassist/Writer/ Producer.
Blind Faith. Traffic. Gram Parsons
"Two" O (band)
Horn (record producer and singer of The
(singer, Release Me, Misty
||The Hunters Club (band)
Illsley (bassist, Dire
||Tony Kaye (keyboard player, Yes)
Benbini (drummer, Fun Lovin Criminals)
(organist, Deep Purple)
Martinez Bassist/Guitarist/Writer. Led Zeppelin. Stretch. Dave
Meighan (vocalist, Kasabian)
Morrison (singer, Return of the Mack)
||Sergio Pizzorno (Musician, Kasabian)
Sandhu (former Happy Mondays guitarist,
solo artist,musician, co launched UK festival Getloaded in the
Yeah Noh (band)
||The Young Knives
John Crocker, clarinettist
and saxophonist with Chris Barber's Jazz Band until 2003.
||Christopher Hogwood conductor.
Lee, rock guitarist and singer, was born Graham Barnes in Nottingham
Dean, the jazz saxophonist,
Paice, drummer for Deep
|Graham Russell, guitarist
and vocalist from soft
rock group Air Supply.
||Judith Bingham, composer and singer
||Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of legendary
heavy metal band Iron Maiden
||Corinne Drewery, lead singer of Nottingham
group Swing Out Sister.
Hallam and (1961) Robert Birch, founder members of Stereo
|Andy Fletcher of synth band Depeche
||Stuart A. Staples, guitarist and singer,
most notably of the band Tindersticks
||Chris Urbanowicz, Lead guitarist in Editors
Bailey, acoustic soul musician
||Natalie Duncan, soul/blues singer
McGuinness, member of the boyband The
Claxton, a trained musician and member of the girl group Parade,
Is Dead are a 5-piece indie band
Coral (indie folk/rock band)
||Elvis Costello (singer/songwriter)
||Engine (boogie-rock band, active
||Half Man Half Biscuit pop group
Heaton (singer and songwriter for the Beautiful South)
|Malcolm Holmes (musician)
||Paul Humphreys (musician)
Hunter (Wagnerian soprano)
||Andy McCluskey (musician)
McGear (photographer, musician (The
Scaffold) and brother of Paul McCartney)
||Orchestral Manoeuvres in the
Dark pop group
||The Rascals indie band
||More to come ............
to go to a music festival for
Instead of spending a
fortune on festival tickets, why not go for free?
season is fast approaching and whether it’s Glastonbury, Reading or
Latitude you’re after, paying for the ticket can cost a small fortune.
But instead of bankrupting yourself buying festival tickets, there are
some ways of getting in free.
Obviously being best friends with a musician would come in handy, or
being in the band yourself, but if neither of these apply fear not as
there are still ways to get your hands on tickets without paying a
Become a steward
Working at a festival means you’ll be able to get a free ticket and
you also won’t have to spend ages on hold trying to get through on the
One of the most popular ways to do this is through stewarding. This
involves directing campers around the campsite, giving out advice and
directions, chatting to campers and answering any questions, and
reporting back any concerns to the event management team.
There will normally be a certain number of hours you’ll have to
commit to working, typically two eight-hour shifts over three days, and
if you’re going with friends you can generally arrange your shifts
When you apply you’ll need to fill in an application form, submit
your CV and pay a deposit. Once the festival is over, if you’ve
completed all your shifts, you’ll get this back.
Most companies allow you to apply two months in advance but if you
want to be picked you’ll need to act quickly as these spots are very
competitive. Some companies, such as Peppermint Bars, will also pay you
an hourly wage.
Useful websites include Event
Bars and Festival
|Volunteering for a charity
Many charities such as The
Samaritans and Oxfam
offer up free tickets to music festivals in return for a few hours’
work. You’ll need to do two or three shifts and this can be anything
from handing out leaflets or water to keeping an eye on festival-goers.
To get involved, apply on your chosen charity’s website and pay a
returnable deposit of around £200 to cover the cost of the
the festival is over, this will be returned to you. There will also be
a training day you’ll need to attend before the actual event.
With volunteering, as well as working, not all charities will have
spaces open at all the festivals and smaller charities will only have
limited numbers of spaces. You’ll also have a better chance of scoring
a ticket if you pick a smaller festival.
Get behind a bar
Events companies, such as Workers Beer,
hire staff for each festival and in return you’ll get free entry to the
festival, meal vouchers and some free drinks vouchers. You’ll also get
to camp in the slightly nicer workers arena with showers, regularly
cleaned toilets and a subsidised canteen.
In return for your ticket you’re normally expected to do one
six-hour shift per day and some companies will require that you have
Another, slightly less glamorous, route in is via litter picking.
Festival sites get completely covered in rubbish and often hire
temporary teams to help clear away the litter.
Again, you’ll need to sign up with a company in advance and complete
certain shifts over a weekend. It’s not the nicest job going, but it
does give you the chance to watch your favourite band for free.
Good websites to try include Cash and Traffic
Management and DC Site
If you’re a music journalist, professional or wannabe, you might be
able to review the festival in return for a free ticket.
Your local newspaper, website or magazine is a good place to start.
If it hasn't already got someone covering an event, you may have a
shot. But remember these tickets are not given out lightly and you'll
have more luck if you're applying for a less popular event.
If you get commissioned by an editor then approach the festival and
ask for media accreditation. You can normally do this two to three
months before the festival and you may be required to interview some of
the bands playing.
A slightly hit or miss approach to getting into a music festival is
winning a ticket. In the run up to most of the events this summer there
will competitions left, right and centre to get hold of festival
Keep your ears and eyes alert and get your friends to also enter any
ticket competitions. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter,
are a good place to start.
There’s no guarantee you’ll get a ticket
Whichever festival you’re trying to get into, the more popular the
event the less likely you’ll be able to get a ticket. Glastonbury
tickets, for example, sold out in an hour and a half so most people who
couldn’t get paid-for tickets will be desperately trying to get in
Give yourself the best opportunity possible to get a ticket by being
organised and applying early. The more times you apply and successfully
work at a festival, either paid work or volunteering for a charity, the
greater your chances the following year.
Even if you do manage to get a ticket, you also need to factor in
extra costs such as transport, camping gear and spending money. Our
article on the top
money-saving tips for festival goers is stacked full of advice to
to be added to this list call0207 183 4978
or email :
Music is dedicated to giving new artists a break by letting the
public download their music as MP3 files. As you might expect, 818
keeps growing and there are now there are even more MP3s to download
listen to! Visitors are invited to listen to tracks selected by
before buying a hard copy direct from the 818music online store. The
artist development program is growing larger with each day and provides
a relatively simple path to recognition that many musical artists are
Dance Music Resource Pages
impressions the dance music resource pages don't look up to much,
there is little colour, no images and no logo. In fact this site is
what it says it is, a resource, pure and simple. All the latest dance
releases can be viewed by genre and by the release date over the last
two weeks etc. In addition to viewing a list of the latest releases, 40
second 'taster' MP3's are available for each tune, which can then be
direct from the website's online store.
purely MP3's of guitar players Monster Guitars is aptly named. There's
no upload feature, this site is based quite simply on people
MP3's, which are sorted by the artist that created them. Design, it has
to be said, isn't the greatest in the world, with all of the content
squeezed onto a single page. However, as all of the available MP3's are
recorded by professional guitarists, the quality is very good, and
up for the appearance of the page. With a little work, and with the
tidied up this site good be even better than it already is.
offers over 1 million downloads, so whatever genre of music you're
there's bound to be tracks here to suit your taste. The site is mainly
text based, so the pages load quickly. Every day there's a featured
as well as a 'pick hit' to have a listen to. AMP3 is designed with
in mind as well as music lovers, and to that end has a Pay for Play
where artists get compensated for all their hard work. You'll also the
usual software, hardware and music reviews to help you choose the best
of what's available.
- The online music network
provides a complete information service for all the latest music news,
as well as MP3 and music video downloads by a wide selection of
artists. The search facility allows you to quickly find what you're
for and read a biography, among other details, while listing to samples
of the bands latest releases. The website itself is very stylised with
great looking graphics and images on the home page, which don't seem to
slow down the site when clicking through the numerous different
is one of the more popular MP3 site around, mostly due to it's highly
Web address, but also because it has an absolutely vast database of
that would keep even the fussiest of listeners busy for hours. Not only
does MP3.com allow you to listen to and download songs, but you can
link direct to their online store and buy the CD for those times when
really must have it. Perhaps the most dynamic aspect of MP3.com is
as an artist, you are able to promote your music, your live
and sell your CDs for free!
simple terms, Audiofind is a massive online database of music and
information with sample songs, which can be played online or downloaded
in MP3 format. An artist or song can be found by searching by artist
and by browsing by initial or date. The results are displayed in list
with an icon links to an additional information page and the MP3 sample
song. Although the homepage looks pretty flash, the website itself is
simple to minimise the download time for each page and the search
Nevertheless the site still looks stylish and is easy to navigate.
enables amateur artists to submit their music in various formats to be
downloaded and heard by anyone and everyone who's interested. New
can be found by browsing your favourite kind of music or by conducting
a search of the massive Peoplesound database. Entire songs can be
for free in MP3 format or played online, if you like what you hear you
can buy the CD direct from peoplesound.com.
grown from a humble nightclub into a global empire, Ministry of Sound
branched out onto the web in a big way. This busy site features the
dance music news and features but that's just the tip of the
out banging tunes 24 hours a day, while Ministry TV utilises Realplayer
technology to deliver video interviews with some of the biggest DJs in
popularity of Classic FM and the omnipresence of opera music on adverts
and television programmes proves that opera is no longer thought of as
only for people with diamond tiaras and weekend retreats in the
site will delight
anyone with even the slightest interest in the art form, with reviews
the latest productions and a useful guide to more than 500 opera houses
worldwide, complete with maps and booking details.
is the world's largest database of CD titles and tracks and no matter
hard you try to stump it, from the most obscure artist to the most
it's likely to have a listing.
though, is the
way that it will automatically identify audio CDs played in your CD-ROM
drive. Just download a compatible player from the site and every time
listen to a CD, the artist, track titles and times will appear as if by
site started out as a simple yet effective way of listing every single
music and fan site on the web but has mutated into so much more. Not
will it helpfully direct you to a plethora of sites devoted to your
artist but also includes its own informative content and an online
Yet it still serves its primary function very well, helpfully grouping
sites into those which have multimedia content, those which are run by
fans and so on.
dance label from Sheffield, Warp has used the web as something more
a mere promotional tool by imbuing the whole site with a real sense of
and good use
of animation draw you in, while generous archives of video clips and
files from the likes of Aphex Twin will either be music to your ears or
frighten you to death, depending on your tastes. If you like what you
you can browse for those rare singles in the online shop.
fascinating site is devoted to world and 'roots' music, covering
from the four corners of the globe.
with the artists concerned, you'll find loads of streaming Real Audio
so you can try before you buy. The colourful layout and regularly
content make this a site you'll be keen to return to again and again.
also the option to sign up for a weekly email newsletter.
passion is classical music then there's no better place to start
than Classical Net. Providing a point of entry to thousands of reviews,
articles and informative overviews of major and lesser-known works, it
can greatly enhance your understanding and appreciation of a
links to other
classical music sites on the Internet, allowing you to learn at your
pace away from the sometimes stuffy and oppressive atmosphere of the
Global Music Network can really enhance your understanding of a piece
music, whether through listening to it for the first time, watching a
video or reading more about the performers and composers.
to Dixieland jazz and right up to the present day, you're sure to find
something that takes your fancy. It's also nice to see that lots of
has gone into the design of the site in order to ensure that the
multimedia elements don't obscure the excellent content.
Thin White Duke has embraced the Internet with a fervour unmatched by
to six sites relating to all things Bowie. One offers you the chance to
view his artwork online while another is a more typical site giving you
news on his latest releases, a biography and so on.
is Bowie Net, an ISP set up specifically for Bowie fans. Members can
extracts from David's own personal diary and even collaborate on songs
4 One Another
be completely bonkers, but Prince (or the squiggle by which he prefers
to be called these days) certainly knows how to put together a web
Aside from being graphically sumptuous and purely icon driven, Love 4
Another also has a serious point to make about the greed of the record
a brave new world of democratic music distribution, you'll find several
exclusive and unreleased tracks available for download.
critically lauded band are having a few teething troubles with their
album. We know this because their excellent website features a
updated online diary from guitarist Johnny Greenwood.
into the workings of the band, he pulls no punches and also uploads
regularly to the site. A well used message board, the latest news and a
smart design in keeping with the band's image complete a great site.
fed up with pompous rock bands and monotonous dance music then turn to
every schoolgirls favourite band for a little light relief.
fun, this official
site is well stocked with Steptacular content. The diary will keep you
up to date with bands antics while the extensive profiles of each band
member will tell you everything from their height to, inevitably, their
favourite colour. There's even animated instructions to their dance
so you can jump around in front of the mirror to your hearts content.
their Millennium Eve extravaganza, the much loved Manics have vowed not
to play live again this year. So this smoothly designed website is
the closest their fanatical followers will be able to get to the Welsh
than many other bands there was always going to be scope to produce a
site, but the designers here have done an excellent job in capturing
spirit of the band.
of the most consistently excellent British bands of the last 10 years,
Blur have produced a similarly excellent site here.
and hard to navigate but then even that mirrors the band's recent
direction. Aside from up to date news of tours, releases and so on, the
main attraction is the video wall, which takes advantage of some neat
technology to showcase the band.
music and video
clips galore, an illustrated discography and a well written potted
so often the case on the web, this unofficial site run by a besotted
fan knocks spots off the official version.Slavishly updated every day
even the merest sniff of any news about the Gallaghers, you'll also
a comprehensive discography and some highly entertaining Real Audio
of Liam in full flow. You can test your devotion in the Oasis quiz and
chat about how they're not as good as they used to be on the message
may not be the incendiary musical force they once were but the members
of Public Enemy still influence just about every hip-hop act in the
today.Leader Chuck D is also in the vanguard of the online music
and you'll often find new tracks available here months before they're
in the shops. The stylised design suits the content well and you'll
find all the usual biographies, news and discographies.
MTV UK site does not follow the normal pattern of news and album
Instead you it has some information on the shows and the presenters,
some cool interactive features which let you create you own dance music
online. You will need the Macromedia Shockwave plugin for that, but it
is fun to play with. And to top it all off there are a few interviews
artists like Jamiroquai, Suede and Boyzone.
you are looking for, you'll find it here on Music999. It has the latest
news from the world of music, as well as reviews of albums and singles.
But it also has a huge amount of links to other sites. There are
of links to band sites, so you can find all your favourite items, and
are links to all the important MP3 sites. You can even find links to
sites and the music industry.
want to see this site in all its glory you will need Macromedia Flash,
and the files do take some time to download, but they are probably
the wait. In addition to biogs on the members of the band, you also get
to read the lyrics to their song, and of course there is a large
devoted to the band's TV series, Miami 7. And as if that is not enough
you can join the club, registering online to get all the latest S Club
7 news mailed to your inbox.
are no end of unofficial sites devoted to the Spice Girls, all put
by ardent fans, but this is the official site. There are the usual
and biographies and a link to the SpiceWorld The Movie site, but most
will come here for the downloadable video and audio clips. There are
of videos of the band being interviewed and live versions of their
and when we visited the site you could see the new Spice Girls video
their single Goodbye exclusively online.
are a B*witched fan you probably already know all about this site. It
the usual stuff here, including the story of the band, profiles of the
girls and news of their upcoming records. You can download wallpapers
screensavers and you can even nominate yourself to be featured on the
itself by filling in an online questionnaire explaining why you think
are the world's greatest B*witched fan.
music stars' web sites are a little thin on content and the design is
unimaginative. Blur stand out from the crowd with this extremely cool
The graphics are impressive, but so is the content. There are loads of
samples of tracks to listen to in RealPlayer format and the Blur
may take a while to download, but it is well worth the wait. It is
together from Blur's videos, but it is so imaginative that the result
to the music, do the dance. Not only do you get the usual photos and
profile on the official Steps website, you get to learn how to do the
There are eight tracks listed, including Tragedy and Last Thing On My
and for each song there is a written description of the steps, but you
also get a little rolling slideshow of Steps themselves doing the
so you will get a much better idea of how it goes. There is also a
forum session and online chat with other Steps fans.
of the Pops
is far more to the Top of the Pops site than just seeing who is going
be on the show next week. There is a busy news section full of showbiz
gossip, interviews with the stars, a run-down of the current chart and
news of who is touring at the moment. If you want to get more involved
you can ask a question of Pop Sherlock, enter one of the competitions
even post your own reviews on the site. Phew!
to lead the way in Internet presence, pressure on it to justify
licence payers' money has seen beeb.com take on the organisation's
activities. A huge amount of content is still available, but around you
are a large array of shopping distractions and the site suffers because
of it. Hopefully, the BBC will find a better compromise in the future.
is one of
biggest independent TV programme makers and in the last year has got
the Internet in a big way. This new focus shows on the company's
which packs in more information than you could shake a stick at, while
remaining easy-to-read and navigate. Aside from in-depth coverage of
its channels, it also includes news, weather, TV listings and the
online games site Jamba.
is a stylish
the television channel that can always be relied upon to come up with
new. However, while most broadcasters have to forcibly stop themselves
from putting too much content on the Web, Channel 4 has gone the other
way and leaves you waiting for more. Considering the enormous amount of
output produced each year, this fact counts against it. It is to be
on the high level of interaction, however.
5 is well
being garish, dumbed-down and downright entertaining and it carries
attributes through to its website. The different sections are accessed
through a snazzy cartoon front room and once there you will find lots
daft games and competitions to entertain you. One niggling hiccup,
are the photos of channel frontwoman Melinda Messenger. Presumably,
effect was supposed to be sexy rather than disconcerting. That said,
probably come back for more.
democratisation of justice
in the US continues apace and this site is just the beginning of a
change in the way law is handled. The site contains a huge amount of
on forthcoming and ongoing court disputes as well as world news and a
guide to the country's Most Wanted. Although criticised as a gross
of a complex system, court reports are soberly written and often prove
fascinating reading. Visit and see the future.
know how to
julienne carrots or safely crack open a bottle of champagne? Well now
can learn to do both in your own time through FoodTV. Aside from a
recipe database, guides on the correct wine or caviar, or how to get
a hangover, this site includes a range of video teaching guides
with simple written instructions and a voiceover - great for any
chef. Good eating begins here.
Sky site is
so jammed full
of content that you don't know where to start. Sky News, Sky Sports and
Sky Movies all have their own sections and the rest of the Murdoch
empire is there in force, including the US Fox network. The Sky Sports
site deserves a special mention for its comprehensive coverage of
news and endless fantasy sports games and trivia quizzes. As you'd
you get TV listings for all the channels. Sky's exclusive web casts of
pop concerts and celebrity chats will pull in the younger Internet user.
of the great advantages to Internet radio is that you can cater for
tastes and this is exactly what Antenna does. The design is very
and the music well defined, so you can be sure to find something you
quality is excellent and it doesn't take long to download any of the
you choose. You may even try something new.
and a good example of the BBC's Internet vision. Offering far more than
a simple radio rundown, the site involves you with a whole range of
information (although it was a little premature with a vote on a single
that had only been released hours earlier). The large amount of
put up every day is kept in check by the design, and of course to can
to the station and its highlights.
Radio 5 Live
Radio 5 would
have changed its garish design - yellow gets a bit too much after a
- but then the station has always been a case of content over style.
you would expect is here - live chat, sports news and weekly schedules
- but sadly not a lot else. While other stations have tried to expand
radio, Radio 5 is sticking to its roots. But with a wide selection of
moments, you can't argue.
websites could have been separated at birth as far as content goes. The
colour scheme is equally bright and the home page is packed full of the
latest entertainment news. Fair play to Capital though it was one of
first radio stations to broadcast over the Internet. The site is
off by pages devoted to the Capital DJs and a tour around the Capital
The interactive features of the site are useful; allowing you to email
your requests in to Foxy's Jukebox and chat with other Capital
cater for its audience and this is exactly what Classic FM has done. A
calming blue design with subtle graphics wafts you into the world of
music. There's a good selection of highlights too, if what is playing
to your liking.
feature that we
mentioned last time was the seamless move from the music you're hearing
to buying the CD online - something that a lot of sites have
stories on just IT. The front page gives you the latest headlines to
through, which you can then use to move onto more in depth news
It's an easy to navigate site, although the advertisements can get in
way at times. Apart from the new headlines, the news is split into
which you pick from a menu on the right of the screen.
entertaining site from one of the country's smaller stations. Witty
graphics and fancy animations keep you interested, while a load of
information is pumped into your brain. Why not meet the crew and get
with them. As long as you don't want to actually listen to the station
- a link must be there somewhere, but then if we can't find it there is
definitely something wrong.
largest online music station, Hard Radio is very impressive and
- if, that is, you like heavy metal. The design will not be to
tastes but it is clear that the metal fraternity loves it and this may
account for the impressive stock of new tracks, albums and live
that are available at the touch of a button.
get some nice
and stylish website design at the Jazz FM site - cooool. The content is
also impressive and includes reviews of the latest Jazz CDs (often with
track samples to download and listen to), features and a comprehensive
gig and event guide. You'll find all the programme schedules for the
on the site and you can tune into the live broadcast, as long as you've
got the Windows Media Player. And Jazz FM hasn't missed out on
opportunities; there's an online store selling clothing as well as CDs.
hard to tell
FM is trying to do with this site. Why a station playing mostly dance
house music has dressed itself up in a My Little Pony outfit is
guess. Sadly, beyond the pink and red love hearts there isn't much else
going on. You can learn about your favourite DJ in a Smash Hits style
or wander off to the chat room, but just try and find how to actually
to the station.
Pack Music. If you are a young or old swinger Tune In
that the Web
releases people's imagination, then pay this site a visit. Set up by
Kong students, the design is extraordinary. It doesn't stop there
- listen to any of the four channels on offer and the huge mix of music
will make you wonder why you've been listening to the same 20 albums
the past 10 years. There is a downside though - you won't be able to
a blessed word the DJ says.
Sport is the
online sport radio network (it's a spin off from Talk Radio at
Sports fans who can't get access to UK radio or TV stations can catch
on the latest results at this site. A good selection of sports are
including football, cricket, rugby, golf, motorsports, horse racing,
racing and cycling. The content includes professional sports news,
with sporting stars and live commentaries on sports events, including
of the big footie matches. The Fan Chat area is a great place for
fans to get together and chat about the latest scores.
and low-tech site, but is the perfect example of content winning out
presentation. Obscure and uninteresting titles like 'club' lead to a
range of fascinating and often rare speeches given by eminent people in
their different fields. We were so intrigued by some of these hidden
that an hour went by before getting past the first page. It's almost a
crime that you can tell what's around the corner before you've got there
that you haven't
heard quite enough from Chris Evans yet. Fear not, you can listen to
Boy 24-hours a day from the Virgin Radio website. Yes you can listen to
all the 'best bits' from Chris's Breakfast show in the Virgin audio
The design is bright and brash with lots of primary colours - don't
if you've got a hangover. Listen to the radio station live, check out
Virgin playlist and listen to the tracks listed there. Get the latest
entertainment and footie news and enter online competitions.
makes the most of the Big Easy's year-round jazz festivals, offering a
large range of live and recorded traditional and dixie jazz. The site
is decked out in pleasing pastel colours and is extremely easy to move
about, but it is the music that has made it such a popular choice with
punters. Apart from jazz it also offers an equally high-standard
of blues, gospel, Brazilian and Caribbean music.