Listen to music from and about the Wirral, take a trip into Birkenhead’s past and maybe even find a new favourite artist with our playlists.

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Wirral Artists (click to listen on Spotify)

Find your new favourite artist with our collection of tracks from Wirral-based and Wirral-born musicians.

Wirral Connections (click to listen on Spotify)

A collection of tracks with interesting connections to the Wirral. Find out about them below.

OMD: Red Frame/White Light

In the early days of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, they used a red telephone box in Meols to book their gigs. ‘Red Frame/White Light’ was written as an ode to that phone box, and the phone number is even mentioned in the lyrics. The phone box has since been restored and decorated by John Petch (who designed the cover for the band’s album The Punishment of Luxury). You can visit it at the junction of Birkenhead Road and Greenwood Road.

Duffy: Rockferry

As many Wirral residents likely suspected when ‘Rockferry’ was released, this single does refer to Rock Ferry on the Wirral. The reason? Duffy’s grandmother lived there. Despite the ‘Rockferry’ sign, the station on the cover of the single and album is actually part of the Ffestiniog Railway in Porthmadog.

Elvis Costello: Little Palaces

Elvis Costello moved to the Wirral at the age of 16 and lived here for a few years before returning to London. His song ‘Little Palaces’ references the Moreton Cadbury factory and the brown trains of the company’s railway fleet.

Aphex Twin: On

Viewers of the video for this early Aphex Twin single would be forgiven for thinking it was shot in Cornwall. Aphex Twin famously grew up there, and many of his tracks reference the county. In fact, co-directors Jarvis Cocker and Martin Wallace shot the video at Hilbre Island, off the coast at West Kirby.

Beija Flo: Waiting for the Sun

Beija Flo is well-known in the local music scene, and a fixture at Future Yard. Regular appearances at the venue aren’t her only connection to the Wirral. She was the first act to play live at Birkenhead Central Library in 2018, and the video for single ‘Waiting for the Sun’ was shot in Birkenhead.

Forest Swords: Thor’s Stone

This track by Wirral musician Forest Swords is named after Thor’s Stone in Thurstaston Common. There are many myths about this large rock. It is incorrectly assumed to have given its name to Thurstaston (actually meaning 'Thorsteinn's village '). It is also said to have been thrown by the Norse god Thor. The site has a more mundane geological explanation, but still has a special atmosphere that has attracted generations of locals. If you visit, you can see decades’ worth of graffiti carved into the soft sandstone.

Deaf School: Rock Ferry

Duffy isn’t the only person to immortalise Rock Ferry in song. Half Man Half Biscuit also mention it in their song 'This One's for Now'. Liverpool band Deaf School get points for the most creative pronunciation though, rhyming 'Rock Ferry' with 'beret'.

Charlie Landsborough: What Colour Is the Wind

Local legend Charlie Landsborough is known internationally in country music circles. He started writing songs when he was a teacher at Portland Primary School (now Co-Op Academy Portland) on Laird Street. His music career took off in 1994 with the song ‘What Colour Is the Wind’. In May 2022, local artist Paul Curtis created a mural celebrating Landsborough on the side of Birkenhead North train station.

Vangelis: Titles (Chariots of Fire theme)

We’re now used to seeing the Wirral and Liverpool crop up in famous films. 1981’s Chariots of Fire is a reminder that the local area has long been used to portray other places. Based on the story of two British athletes at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, the Oval Sports Centre in Bebington stands in for the Colombes Olympic Stadium. Woodside Ferry Terminal also makes an appearance, pretending to be Dover.

The Boo Radleys: New Brighton Promenade

Wallasey band The Boo Radleys had a string of successful releases in the mid 90s. Their 1996 album C’mon Kids (which influenced Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers) features a nostalgic song about New Brighton Promenade and the happy days spent there in 1983.

The Smiths: What She Said

This song appears on Manchester band The Smiths’ acclaimed 1985 album Meat Is Murder. The lyrics describe an intellectual young woman whose otherwise empty life has left her feeling depressed. It takes a "tattooed boy from Birkenhead" to show her another side to life.

OMD: Julia’s Song

Before forming Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys were in a band called The Id. They sometimes rehearsed in the room above the old Greasby Library on Greasby Road, where Clovelly Court now stands. This is where their friend Julia Kneale wrote the lyrics to ‘Julia’s Song’. The track was released on Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s self-titled debut album.

The Libertines: Radio America

This early Libertines track sees the narrator sing about how far they would go for their love, be it Africa, China, Australia … or New Brighton.

Echo and the Bunnymen: Going Up

Liverpool band Echo & The Bunnymen are one of the defining post-punk acts of the 1980s. Their song 'Going Up' features in the 2008 film Awaydays, based on the book by Birkenhead author Kevin Sampson. Among the recognisable Wirral locations in the film is the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory. The laboratory stood on Bidston Hill until its demolition in 2013.

Bellowhead: Roll Alabama

This 19th Century sea shanty is about the CSS Alabama, a Confederate ship during the American Civil War. Britain was officially neutral in the conflict so Birkenhead shipbuilder John Laird built the vessel in secret. To evade neutrality law, the ship was built without guns. She was armed in the Azores and had success as a raider until she was sunk off France by the USS Kearsarge. Laird (erroneously referred to as 'Jonathan' in the song) was also the first mayor of Birkenhead.

George Harrison: Party Seacombe

Although famous for being a Liverpool band, The Beatles have many interesting connections to the Wirral. They played at New Brighton’s Tower Ballroom an impressive 27 times. Ringo Starr made his debut with the band at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight. Their first stage suits were designed by Walther Smith at Beno Dorn’s on Grange Road West. They first wore them at the Barnston Women’s Institute in Heswall. Given the many links, it’s fitting that George Harrison named a track on his debut album Wonderwall Music after an area of the Wirral. The reason he chose Seacombe specifically is sadly unknown.

Bill Ryder-Jones: Two to Birkenhead

Bill Ryder-Jones is best known as one of the original members of The Coral, but has embarked on a solo career after leaving the band. The song ‘Two to Birkenhead’ loosely describes a time when he was with a girl from Liverpool who wanted to know about Birkenhead. More importantly, he says, “people from Birkenhead can sing along” when he plays it live.

Mike Post: Theme from The Rockford Files

Since the late 1970s, Wirral football club Tranmere Rovers have walked onto the pitch to the theme from American detective series The Rockford Files. Many theories have sprung up to explain the odd choice of music. Writer Ryan Ferguson discovered the truth in 2016. In 1978, public address announcer Keith Shillinglaw was looking for a piece of music to play at the start of matches. As a fan of The Rockford Files, he thought the theme tune would work well. The fact that it was instrumental was a boon, as he could easily lower the volume to announce the team without interrupting any lyrics. You can read more about The Rockford Files and Tranmere Rovers at Ryan Ferguson’s site here.

Baby Bounce and Rhyme (click to listen on Spotify)

Learn the songs from our Baby Bounce & Rhyme sessions and entertain your little ones. See our upcoming sessions and book here.

Sounds of the Argyle Theatre (click to listen on Spotify)

Take a trip back in time to the heyday of Birkenhead's Argyle Theatre. All these artists played at the Argyle, and many were personal favourites of manager Dennis J. Clarke.

New Brighton Rock (click to listen on Spotify)

In 1984, Granada staged and broadcast a massive concert at New Brighton’s open air bathing pool. This is a recreation of the setlist as shown on TV.

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