Six bands that met at secondary school

Radiohead

The Oxfordshire band all attended Abingdon School, where they first met. Despite being in different year groups, the band regularly found time to rehearse at the end of the week. It was this routine practice time that gave them their original name of On a Friday.

As most of the members left for university, the group still found time to rehearse. Their persistence would soon pay off as the band were offered a six-album recording contract with EMI. The label asked that they change their name, and so Radiohead were born. Their debut single Creep brought them to the world’s attention, and over the next quarter-century they would become one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands ever. In 2019 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - no surprises really.

The Shangri-Las

The American girl group was made up of two pairs of sisters: Mary Weiss and Betty Weiss, and identical twins Marge Ganser and Mary Ann Ganser. Both sets of siblings attended Andrew Jackson High School in New York, where the band was formed in 1963.

The group performed at school and talent shows before landing their first record deal in 1964. Soon after they had a US number one hit with Leader of the Pack, and would go on to perform with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the mid-sixties. The group eventually disbanded in 1968.

The xx

The indie group met at Elliott School in Putney, London. The school already had a notable alumni of musicians, with electronic acts such as Burial, Four Tet and Hot Chip in attendance as well as members of fellow indie-rockers, The Maccabees.

Their debut album xx was released in 2009 to critical acclaim, reaching number three in the British album charts as well as winning the Mercury Prize the following year. James Smith from the band (better known as Jamie xx) also had a successful stint as a solo act in-between the group's albums. His first full-length offering In Colour helped shape the sound for the future direction of the band.

Boyz II Men

The renowned nineties R&B group actually formed in the mid-eighties. Nathan Morris and Marc Nelson started the band, originally known as Unique Attraction, at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in 1985. Two earlier members of the group dropped out after graduating, so Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman were brought in from the school choir. Michael McCary was added after he joined in singing as the group were practising harmonies in the school toilets (apparently the acoustics were very good there…)

When Nelson left the group, they became the quartet that would stay together through the nineties until 2003, when McCary left. The band would set the record for most consecutive weeks at number one on three separate occasions. In fact, they only lost that accolade in 2019 to Lil Nas X and his single Old Town Road.

Keane

The English rock band topped the UK charts with their debut album Hopes and Fears back in 2004, but it was a decade earlier that they first formed. Although the original members all met at Tonbridge School in Kent, they didn’t start the band until 1995 when founding member Tim Rice-Oxley was at university.

Originally called The Lotus Eaters, the group changed its name to Cherry Keane in 1997, before eventually settling on Keane. The band’s first record earned them a Brit Award for Best British Album in 2005, and its follow-up Under the Iron Sea topped the UK charts once again. The band announced their return from a five year hiatus at the beginning of 2019.

The Beatles

John Lennon attended Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool, and in 1957 he formed a band with some school friends. They took inspiration from the school’s name and became the Quarrymen. Paul McCartney joined later that year, with a 15-year-old George Harrison being enlisted the following year. Ringo Starr would have to wait until 1962 to join, after original drummer Pete Best fell out of favour.

The band were already known as The Beatles when Ringo joined and would go on to release their debut LP the following year. Over the course of the sixties, they would become the biggest band in the world, and even today, they still remain the best-selling band in history.

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