Birmingham is a city with a rich musical heritage, of which some would argue it doesn’t often sing about loudly enough.
So UB40, along with the Birmingham Music Archive, have launched the Musical Routes project - a new series of maps being rolled out across 30 train stations in Birmingham.
Each map identifies the music legend and iconic venues associated with each neighbourhood - and there’s a spotify code that you can use to listen to the tunes from the heroes.
The first one was installed at Hall Green train station on Friday (November 26).
What a great way to start your train journey!
UB40 certainly think so - here’s what they said.
Why are UB40 supporting Musical Routes?
Robin Campbell, singer of UB40 said: “There’s never any blowing your own trumpet in the city, you know? It’s about time we did. It’s got a very rich cultural heritage of all different types of music and genres and it’s about time we were shouting about it.”
Jimmy Brown, drummer of UB40 said: “Birmingham’s really unique. It’s one of the few major cities that doesn’t grow out of some medieval port.
“So we’re all plonked together in the middle of the country and just told to get on with it.
“So you know, you find that there’s less connection, there’s loads of immigrants here but there’s less connections to other countries because we’re right in the centre of the country, and people have to get on with each other you know, and mix.
“And thats the beautiful thing about Birmingham, it’s a melting pot.”
Earl Falconer, bassist of UB40 said: “We also like to shout about Birmingham. Obviously we’re the second city, but a lot of people outside of England don’t realise that, they’ll say Manchester’s the second city, which is ridiculous obviously! We’re always going to big up the city, big up the music, and that’s what we’re about you know.”
Here’s the map with all the stations and the artists associated with each area.
Which stations are included and what artists are from the area?
The project is based roughly on the ten parliamentary wards of Birmingham so the stations in each ward will have the same map.
The maps have been produced by designers from city-based studio SpacePlay - you can see the full listing with each artist below.
Sutton, Four Oaks, Wylde Green and Chester Road: Matt Everitt and The Mellotron and 1960s club The Belfry.
Matt Everitt, the drummer in the Britpop band Menswear and BBC 6 radio presenter was born in Sutton Coldfield. The Mellotron, an instrument used by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones was also created in Birmingham.
Erdington and Gravelly Hill: Mothers club and The Moody Blues.
The Mothers club in the Erdington district was voted the best music venue in the world in the 1960s and John Peel was the resident DJ. The rock band The Moody Blues also formed in Erdington in 1964.
Perry Barr and Hamstead: Stevie Winwood, Apache Indian, Ruby Turner, Grosvenor Road Studios, and Steel Pulse.
Singer-songwriter Stevie Winwood was born in Birmingham and was also a choirboy at St. John’s Church of England in Perry Barr.
Singer and reggae DJ Apache Indian and singer Ruby Turner both grew up in Handsworth, and the reggae band the Steel Pulse formed in the area.
Jewellery Quarter, Duddeston, Aston, Witton and Bordesley: Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath, Joan Armatrading, Jamelia, the iconic venues Town Hall, Rum Runner, Barbarellas, The Crown, and the Que Club.
The legendary Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Ozbourne was born in Aston, while singer Joan Armatrading grew up in Ladywood after moving to the area from Saint Kitts and Nevis when she was three-years-old.
Singer-songwriter Jamelia was also born in Handsworth and grew up in nearby Hockley.
Small Heath, Adderley Park and Lea Hall: Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Harvey Andrews and Justin Broaddrick.
Jeff Lynnne, a founding member of the Electric Light Orchestra grew up in Shard End while fellow band member Roy Wood hails from nearby Kitt’s Green. Solo-artist Harvey Andrews was born in Stechford, and Justin Broaddrick of the metal band Godflesh was also raised in Shard End.
University and Five Ways: Chris Wood Andy Cox (The Beat/Fine Young Cannibals), Stanley Myers, and the University of Birmingham Students Guild building.
Chris Wood, the founding member of the rock band Traffic was born in Quinton and grew up in Birmingham, as was The Beat guitarist Andy Cox. The renowned conductor Stanley Myers was also born in the city and attended St Edward’s School in Edgbaston.
Hall Green, Spring Road and Yardley Wood: UB40, Ocean Colour Scene, Christine McVie, and the Hare and Hounds music venue.
The members of the reggae and pop band UB40 all attended schools around Birmingham and formed in the city, and the group’s saxophonist Brian Travers grew up in Hall Green.
Ocean Colour Scene also played their first gig in Birmingham with the group’s members growing up in the area. Years later, the band formed their own record label Moseley Shoals. Christine Mcvie of Fleetwood Mac also studied at the Moseley School of Art, as did many musicians.
Acocks Green, Stetchford, and Tysley: Spencer Davies, Denny Laine, Fuzzbox, and comedian Jasper Carrot.
Spencer Davis from the rock band the Spencer Davis Group was a schoolteacher in Yardley before he found fame, while Deny Lane from The Moody Blues was born in Tyseley.
Comedian Jasper Carrott was born in Acocks Green, and members of the alternative rock group Fuzzbox also hail from Acocks Green, Moseley, and Sheldon.
Selly Oak, Bournville and Kings Norton: Breedon Bar, John Taylor Rich Bitch recording studios, and Phil Lynott.
The renowned music venue Breedon Bar was situated on Pershore Road between Kings Norton and Stirchley before it closed down, as was the Rich Bitch recording studios.
Duran Duran also formed in Birmingham; the group’s bassist John Taylor was born in Solihull and grew up in Hollywood, Worcestershire. The band’s keyboardist Nick Rhodes was born in Moseley, and Roger Taylor was born in the Nechells district.
Northfield and Longbridge: Mike Skinner, Martin Duffy, and Juice Aleem.
Mike Skinner of The Streets lived in West Heath, while Primal Scream keyboardist Martin Duffy grew up in Rednal, and rapper Juice Aleem also grew up in the area.
Find out about the Birmingham Musical Routes project here
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.