The biggest rock and roll acts of the past twenty years attended state schools. Robbie Williams, possibly the most successful pop act of the last decade attended Mill Hill Primary School at Stoke-on-Trent
then St Margaret Ward
Roman Catholic School in Tunstall
, both community schools.
The edgiest, hippest band of the past few years is without question, The Arctic Monkeys
, who no doubt gained their street cred by going to local schools.
Frankie from The Saturdays
actually attended the state school where I teach in Havering. The Saturdays
are among the most popular girl bands of the moment. Another important, emerging band had all its members attend my school too: Stereo Decade
. I've been to some of their gigs and they are really good.
Other members of massive rock bands of the last two decades, Blur
all attended local state schools. There is no doubt that the fact that they all mixed with their local communities brought the verve and zest to their music. Blur is probably the most innovative act of the last twenty years; their craft was famously honed at a Colchester state school. Damon Albarn has talked of being inspired by his music teacher. Meanwhile, the two Gallagher brothers may not have been very well behaved at school, but they certainly gained their edginess and grit by attending their local school.
In contrast, the acts that have attended private schools and gained some success pale in comparison with these giants. It probably comes as no surprise that Coldplay
were privately educated. You can hear it in their mournful, middle-of-the-road music; it's very sorry-for-itself stuff. Wimp rock basically.