101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No. 44: Musical differences


All bands eventually get back together, except for the only two that you might actually want to see again: Slade and The Smiths. They all get back together because they all split up and then find they need the money, and the reason they split up is called ‘musical differences’. The ‘differences’ being ‘the difference between the cash they each pocket in royalties’ and the ‘musical’ being Oliver! on VHS on the tour bus.

Oasis ran out of ideas, yes, but the creative bankruptcy just made it all the more galling for Liam that it his brother was earning in the region of seven times what he was: because Noel wrote the big hit songs.

Readers of Morrissey’s autobiography (and hi readers, these spaces in between groups of sentences are paragraphs) will know that El Moz and Johnny Marr got 40 per cent each while the other two Smiths got 10. And they’ll know all about the recriminations afterwards. And what the judge in the court case had for breakfast. When these bands split, like so much from Up North, it’s bitter rather than mild.

But they wouldn’t have split if it wasn’t for Birmingham.

Because back in 1914 as the World geared up for War, Birmingham invented musical differences—there just wasn’t enough real conflict around.

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