News Stories

Welcome to the new site!

Welcome to the new, and I hope you agree, improved Birmingham Popular Music Archive. It has been slow in arriving but I must give thanks to my colleague Simon Barber for helping me with the new design. Well actually he did it all!

I’ll be tweaking and improving things as I test the site out so anything you think would improve the site, let me know and we’ll see if we can change it.

As ever, I rely on all you for supplying stories, pictures, ticket stubs, video and all the things that will make this site the number one online popular music archive as we continue to grow.

Our aim is the same as when we started. To celebrate the amazing music heritage of Birmingham. I hope this site, with your knowledge, not to mention the contents of your loft!, will be an incredible resource for the city of Birmingham and its citizens, for researchers and the downright curious!

Most importantly, it is not my archive. I’m not here to decide what gets in or gets left out. ANY piece of musical heritage is of importance, whether you played one gig, have a flyers from bands long gone or have copies of fanzines. Anything and everything relating to ALL Birmingham music, get it on the site.

Make sure to join up, and contact me using the form at the top of the page.

Hope to hear form you soon.

New Additions and A Big Thank You

There has been a lot of new content added to the site in the last couple of days courtesy of Keith Law, a stalwart of Birmingham music in the 60’s.
Keith has added a load of new venues and bands and has put in a lot of content, written and visual.
We would love to hear your memories of these bands and venues (seriously, there are too many to mention!).
Happy hunting and thank you Keith!

Made In Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra

I’ve been quieter than normal in updating the site over the last few months so apologies. But I do have some mitigating reasons.
I’ve recently completed an hour long documentary called Made In Birmingham: Reggae Punk Bhangra
As the title suggests, the film concentrates on those 3 genres of music and uses rare and unseen archive material interlaced with contemporary interviews with musicians such as UB40, Steel Pulse, Beshara, Swami, The Nightingales, Au Pairs, Amlak, The Prefects, Fuzzbox, The Ever Readies, The Accused, Apna Sangeeta and others.

We’ve taken a look at how these groups started, the venues they played in and how they music they made reflected their communities social, political and cultural issues. Directed by Deborah Aston and produced by swish for the Birmingham Popular Music Archive the film takes a fond look at Birmingham and some of its music heritage.

The film can currently be seen at the Midland Art Centre in the ‘plug in’ exhibition space (free entry) and we are hoping to have some public screenings later in the year after we hopefully get some festival screenings.

I’ll also be putting a 5 minute trailer on the site in the next few weeks to whet your appetite!

Town Hall Gigs

I’m indebted to Ken Jones formly of Bright Eyes who sent me a list of gigs he either went to or had record, form the Town Hall, an oft overlooked important music venue in the country. The period spans 1964-1974 and reads like a who’s who of rock royalty. I have to say editing it for the site I couldn’t believe the unbelievable gigs at the venue. I’ve taken out a load of gigs in other Brum venues as I’ll add them to the site under the appropriate venue.
I’ve waited this long to get them on the site so I could tie it into a small research project I’m doing called Virtual Music Trails. I’ll post more news on this as it comes to fruition.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to Ken and I hope you enjoy the gig listing!


One of the great reggae bands to come from Birmingham, recognised by reggae lovers across the world. Marcel Watts, son of the late founder member Ray Watts, has provided a great biography and photo of the band. To read more head over to the archive section. Thanks to Marcel for sending us the info.

Plone – Rehab has sent me some amazing photos of Plone back when they where called Rehab before they got threatend by a london band called rehab, who disapeared without a trace.

These photo’s are exclusive and unseen so a huge thanks to for sending them to the archive. See them on the Plone page

Keith Law

I had a fantastic chat with Keith Law, some time ago now it has to be said, about his life in music and about his time growing up in Birmingham and his recollections. We talked for over an hour but I’ve edited this down to about 10 minutes. Keith is exactly the type of person I’m really keen to make sure are included in the archive, an active musician in the city and beyond and is keen to share his memories.

I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I did talking to Keith.

Keith Law Interview BMA 1a
Keith Law Interview BMA 1a

Keith Law Interview BMA2
Keith Law Interview BMA2

The Kuomintang Party

Another new entry today and contemporaries of the Great Outdoors. As ever please do add your own memories, stories or memorabilia to page!

Bright Eyes

I’ve added some great photos provided by Keith Jones of Bright Eyes, just go the Bright Eyes page to view them.
And don’t forget to send more artifacts into us here at the archive!

Phil Lynott at 60

Today would have marked the 60th birthday of Phil Lynott, lead singer of the seminal Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. What has this got to do with Birmingham and the Archive I hear you ask?

Well Phil was actually born in Birmingham and lived here for the first few years of his life with his mother Philomena. Amazingly, we also think he made his last ever appearance on record with a Birmingham musician, Colbert Hamilton a.k.a Black Elvis about 3 weeks before his death. This record has lay hidden and unheard for some 25 years.

In association with Sam Coley and Ellie Gibbons from the Birmingham School of Media at BCU and Paul Murphy of The Destroyers, BMA have made a 26 minute documentary and two audio/visual slideshows celebrating Phil Lynott, from his early days in Birmingham to his eventual death. We uncover and listen to the ‘lost’ track and talk to Colbert about the experience.

I’m really pleased to announce that BBC WM will be playing the documentary in fill on Saturday 22nd August at 13.05 pm. Also on the BBC is a tribute page which can be accessed here:

You can also see and view the audio/visual slide shows that accompany the documentary here:

Send your content to us

We are now actively looking for content for the archive and will always add content that you send to us. The archive is a labour of love and we update it in our spare time.