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The Great British Songbook Of The Nineties

Thursday 31 December 2009, 1400-1700


You can listen to show for seven days, and get details of the music played, by visiting the episode page for this programme after broadcast


Mel C and Zoe Ball

Join Radio 2's Zoe Ball and Nineties' Spice Girl Mel C as they take a look back at the Great British Songbook of the Nineties.


Zoe and Melanie will play the best British songs from the decade including hits from Take That, Oasis, Blur and the Spice Girls. They'll also be joined by some very special guests who will share their memories of the Nineties.


Spice Girls, Blur's Damon Albarn and Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Oasis and All Saints

Whether it was boy bands, Britpop or Girl Power, British music dominated the charts in the Nineties.


At the beginning of the decade, pop was in full command with boy band and teen sensations Take That ruling the charts. The group scored hit after hit; many penned by band member and talented songwriter Gary Barlow. Over a period of five years, Take That sold more than 25 million records. But in 1995 the hearts of teenage girls throughout Britain were broken as Robbie Williams announced he was quitting the band, and 9 months later, the remaining members of Take That split up.


In contrast to the pop of the early nineties, bands such as Blur and Suede were emerging onto the music scene bringing with them a new movement; Britpop. Taking its influence from the guitar style of sixties and seventies groups including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. the songs which were quintessentially British and reflected the life and culture of the time.


Bands such as Pulp, Supergrass and Elastica also found favour and by the mid-nineties, with Cool Britannia in full swing, two rival bands ruled the Britpop world and were battling to be crowned King. Oasis and Blur split loyalties as they fought for the title, even releasing their singles ‘Roll with It’ and ‘Country House’ in the same week in August 1995. Both bands sold millions of albums and will always be credited with being the dominant force in Britpop.


The Nineties, however, didn’t just belong to the boys. In 1996, it was the turn of Girl Power and in particular, pop sensations the Spice Girls to stir things up. The group, with their ‘in yer face’ attitude took not only Britain by storm, but the rest of the world. Their debut album ‘Spice’ sold more than 23 million copies worldwide and with numerous Number Ones, awards, and even a film under their belt, the Spice Girls became of the biggest cultural icons of the Nineties and re-ignited the nation’s love for bubblegum pop all over again.


Please note we've now finished taking suggestions for songs to be used in this programme. Thank you to everyone who got in touch, we had a great response.


Get details of our other decades programmes


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About The Songbook

Radio 2 is creating a landmark collection of the British songs that inspire us - as chosen by musicians, songwriters, Radio 2 presenters and of course, you.   Find out more..

Richard Allinson

Richard Allinson

Listen to Richard Allinson's Saturday show every week to hear tracks from The Great British Songbook.

See more about Richard Allinson's show

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