Yorkshire has a proud musical heritage in a variety of genres – one we’ve covered before in these pages. However, it is definitely rock and guitar music which has made Yorkshire cities famous for their thriving musical output. This bands on this list have 16 UK top 10 singles and three number ones between them. Not bad for a county of only 5 million people!
Formed in 2002 in Sheffield, it only took three years for the Alex Turner fronted band to grab their first UK number one with the riotously raw I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor – a track that still tears it up as much as it did nearly 15 years ago. Today they are one of the biggest bands in the world, filling out arenas and headlining festivals across the globe. However, frontman Alex has stayed true to his Yorkshire roots – he has his hometown name tattooed on his arm and can be occasionally be seen at The Browery Pub in Sheffield, which was opened by his drumming bandmate Matt Helders in 2009.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker is one of the most recognisable faces in the UK music industry. Formed in Sheffield in 1978, his band had to wait many years to find mainstream success. Their first number one album came in 1994 with His n Hers, followed by another chart topper in 1995’s Different Class. During their career, Cocker fell out of a window trying to impress a lady and had to perform in a wheelchair for several gigs and they nearly caused a riot during a gig at Brunel University. By the time they went on indefinite hiatus in 2002, they had sold nearly 10 million records. Although Cocker now lives in Paris, he remains a fan of Sheffield Wednesday and can often be seen at Hillsborough on important match days.
The Chiefs formed in Leeds in 2000 – but are named after South African football club Kaizer Chiefs who were the former club of then Leeds United captain Lucas Radebe. Their breakout single, I Predict Riot, was utterly Yorkshire. Based upon experiences of raucous nights out in the largely student populated night spots of Leeds, and singer Ricky Wilson even wore his Leeds Grammar School tie in the accompanying music video. Although not charting a UK top 10 single since 2008, 2014’s album Education, Education, Education and War hit the number one in the album charts. Collectively they have sold nearly seven million albums in their 18-year career.
Forget Yorkshire – Def Leppard are one of the world’s best-selling bands, with over 100 million records sold worldwide since their 1980’s debut On Through the Night. They were also famous for having a one-armed drummer, in the form of Rick Allen, who lost his left arm in a car accident outside in Yorkshire in 1984. Their 1987 album Hysteria sold 25 million copies alone and topped the US and UK charts.
Despite their legendary status and huge popularity, we put them last on this list. Mainly because, although they are from Sheffield, they famously targeted American audiences and the band members have spent most of their career since the 1990’s living in Los Angeles or Dublin.