Words: Harry McMullen

Leeds and music have an infinite bond! From the main stage at the Leeds Festival to the first night of a sell out tour at the First Direct arena, music runs through the veins of our people. To celebrate the music of Leeds we have made a seven track compilation playlist of Leeds’ biggest and best songs. The diversity of the playlist shows that Leeds has a scene for every person you can think of, and that Leeds is a definitive waypoint on the music map of the country…

Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On
(EMI records)


First released in the summer of 2006, Put your Records On was the second single sang by Leeds born singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae. The track charted at number 2 in the UK charts and went Gold worldwide. The track soon became an easy listening classic. The song was replayed across every radio station all summer long and was a contributing factor in Bailey Rae being named the BBC Breakthrough Act of 2006.

Soft Cell – Tainted Love
(Some Bizzare)


If a song could define a generation, then Tainted Love would be the musical embodiment of the 1980s. The new wave anthem propelled Leeds’ synth pop duo Soft Cell from obscurity to stardom, as Tainted Love topped the charts in six countries around the globe. The track is a synthetic rework of Gloria Jones’ Northern Soul hit, of the same name and since it’s release in 1981, has sold over 1.35million copies worldwide.

Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
(B-Unique/Universal Motown)


All five members of the Kaiser Chiefs were born and raised in Leeds and the band are even named after the former team of Leeds United star Lucas Radebe. Their platinum selling hit Ruby is an indie rock classic, charting at number 1 in three different countries in 2007. The song was shortlisted for the single of the year at the 2007 BRIT awards but sadly lost out to Take That’s Patience. Kaiser Chiefs lead singer Ricky Wilson, now a judge on the prime time TV show The Voice UK, owes a lot of his fame and fortune to smash hits like Ruby Ruby Ruby.

Utah Saints – Something Good
London Records)


In the early 90’s, acid house reigned supreme. From Manchester’s Hacienda to the party isle of Ibiza, the times were changing – drugs were changing, culture was changing, music was changing. Leeds based group, Utah Saints encapsulated the era with their hit Something Good. Sampling Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting, Something charted at number 4 in the UK Charts. The track was re-released by Australian band Van She, again the song charted in the top 10, providing evidence that the song is a cross generational hit.

alt-J – Breezeblocks


alt-J were formed in Leeds in 2007 and three studio albums later, the band are one of the biggest names in the indie pop scene. The band have been nominated for three BRITs, a Grammy and even picked up the Mercury Prize in 2013 for their debut album An Awesome Wave. Breezeblocks was the title track from An Awesome Wave and reached the top ten in the UK Indie and US Alternative charts, Breezeblocks was also voted into third place in Australian radio station Triple J’s Hottest 100 of 2012. A quirky and original number, Breezeblocks was a breath of fresh air for the Indie Scene.

Pigeon Detectives –
Take Her Back
(Dance to the Radio)


Take Her Back was the fifth single to be released from the Pigeon Detectives debut platinum selling album Wait For Me. The track was an instant hit on the alternative rock stage and became the third consecutive Pigeon Detectives single to chart in the UK top 20. The track is a punchy, poppy indie rock hit with a catchy riff. Since the release of the track, the Pigeon Detectives have seen their songs reach number one on the UK independent chart 6 times.

Leeds United –
Marching on Together
(Rebecca Music)


This track can only be described as the musical mantra of the city of Leeds. First released in 1972 to coincide with the Whites reaching the FA Cup Final, the track soon became the club anthem and has since been adopted by the Leeds Rhinos. The song emulsifies the city, disregarding race, ethnicity and politics to create a banner for all to follow. The song was re-released in 2010 when Leeds United were promoted to the Championship, the song charted at number 10. The figures will not add any sentimental value to the song for the people of Leeds, this would still be their song if it sold no copies.


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