‘The Sounds of the Midlands’ Exhibition is coming to Birmingham New Street in October

A touring exhibition celebrating The Sounds of: Scotland, the North, the Midlands and London & the South is set to launch next month as part of the celebrations leading up to National Album Day on Saturday 12th October.

The public exhibition will stop at Glasgow Central Station from Tuesday 10th September before travelling to Manchester Piccadilly from Thursday 19th September, Birmingham New Street from Monday 30th September and finishing in London Bridge from Wednesday 9th October.

National Album Day artist champions representing each part of the UK, Lewis Capaldi (Scotland), Elbow (the North), Mahalia (the Midlands) and Mark Ronson (London & the South), have each selected the six albums that have influenced them; these lists will sit alongside picks from local music critics and local record stores. The Official Charts Company have also compiled the six biggest-selling albums of each area.

The Exhibition
The ‘Sounds of…’ exhibition will reflect all 24 album choices from these combined lists relevant to each area to present a cross-cultural view of each area’s musical landscape both past and present, from BRIT Award and Mercury Prize winners through to lesser-known acts shaping and influencing the sound of each part of the UK.

Artists highlighted more than once in the exhibition include Amy Winehouse, whose albums ‘Frank’ and ‘Back to Black’ appear on both Mahalia’s list and the London & South best-sellers, and The Cure, who are included on the London & the South music critic list for ‘Disintegration’ and the London & the South record store pick for ‘Seventeen Seconds’.

Other artists to be featured in the Network Rail exhibition include The Streets, Robbie Williams, Black Sabbath, Adele, Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Laura Mvula, Fleetwood Mac, Emelie Sandé, Susan Boyle, Belle & Sebastian, Primal Scream, David Bowie, Take That, Oasis, Joni Mitchell, The Stone Roses, The Beatles, Ed Sheeran, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Bush, Dave, Blur and The Clash – who are set to release their reissue of ‘London Calling’ the day before National Album Day.

Locations
The general public will be able to visit the exhibition for free at the following Network Rail stations:

‘The Sounds of Scotland’ – Glasgow Central: 10th-19th Sept
‘The Sounds of the North’ – Manchester Piccadilly: 19th-30th Sept
‘The Sounds of the Midlands’ – Birmingham New Street: 30th Sept-9th Oct
‘The Sounds of London & the South’ – London Bridge: 9th-19th Oct

The Album Selections
The lists of albums were decided upon by National Album Day artist champions, music critics, record stores and Official Charts Company chart data:

Scotland – Lewis Capaldi / Fiona Shepherd (music critic, The Scotsman) / Love Music (Glasgow)
The North – Elbow / John Robb (author, critic, broadcaster) / Piccadilly Records (Manchester)
The Midlands – Mahalia / Lyle Bignon (music journalist and Birmingham Music Coalition founder) / The Diskery (Birmingham)
London & The South – Mark Ronson / Roisin O’Connor (music correspondent, Independent) / Resident Music (Brighton)

Sounds of The Midlands

MAHALIA
Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae (2006)
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Elli Ingram – Love You Really (2017)
Amy Winehouse – Frank (2003)

OFFICIAL CHARTS
Robbie Williams – Swing When You’re Winning (2001)
James Morrison – Undiscovered (2006)
Ellie Goulding – Halcyon (2012)
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free (2004)
Kasabian – Kasabian (2004)
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg (2012)

CRITIC – Lyle Bignon
UB40 – Signing Off (1980)
The Specials – The Specials (1979)
Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left (1969)
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Searching For The Young Soul Rebels (1980)
Laura Mvula – Sing To The Moon (2013)
Juice Aleem – Jerusalaam Come (2009)

RECORD SHOP – The Diskery
Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue (1977)
Duran Duran – Duran Duran (1981)
The Streets – Original Pirate Material (2002)
Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution (1978)
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)
Joan Armatrading – Joan Armatrading (1976)

National Album Day
Following a successful inaugural year, National Album Day is set to return for its second annual edition on Saturday, 12th October. Organised jointly by record labels body the BPI and ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), representing the nation’s music retailers and digital/streaming platforms, and with the active participation of AIM (Association of Independent Music), National Album Day has the backing and the input of the wider music community including industry umbrella body UK Music.

The music & artist community will come together with the support of BBC Sounds for a series of events and activities in the lead up to 12th October that will celebrate the UK’s love for the album and the craft that goes into making this culturally significant body of work.

This year National Album Day is themed around the notion of ‘Don’t Skip’, to encourage music lovers to discover albums – both new and classic – in full, as a complete body of work that tells a story. The theme will also serve to highlight the wellbeing and mental health benefits of album listening as a form of musical mindfulness.

A number of the UK’s most prominent artists have already signed up as ‘album champions’ for this year’s National Album Day campaign: No.1 artist Lewis Capaldi, Mercury Prize winners Elbow, BRIT Award-nominated Mahalia, and international musician/producer Mark Ronson.

Each album champion not only represents the current, diverse musical talent that is borne out of the UK, but will also reflect on other artists and albums that have inspired, shaped and defined the culture and spirit of British cities and regions.

BBC Sounds is supporting the day as an official broadcast partner through programming and editorial across BBC networks.

Last year’s NAD event coincided with the 70th anniversary of the LP, with numerous artist ambassadors including Paloma Faith, Public Service Broadcasting, Jess Glynne, Novelist, Alice Cooper, and Tom Odell supporting the campaign. It was also celebrated through retail events, Classic Album Sundays artist Q&As and playbacks, and a Network Rail exhibition of iconic album artwork. A social media campaign at 3.33pm on the day saw fans unifying to listen to their favourite album.

Organised jointly by record labels body the BPI and ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), representing the nation’s music retailers and digital/streaming platforms, and with the active participation of AIM (Association of Independent Music), National Album Day has the backing and input of the wider music community including industry umbrella body UK Music.