Pop’s New Pedigree: A Majority of British Stars Attended Elite Schools

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There’s a huge shift happening in the demographics of Britpop.

According to a study recently conducted by the UK-based Word Magazine, a majority of charting British pop and rock artists were educated in private, tuition-based schools.  And, often in highly-elite, ultra-expensive institutions (confusingly called ‘public’ or ‘independent schools’ in the UK).

In fact, the magazine found that 60 percent hailed from schools requiring annual tuition, academic admissions, connections, or all of the above.  Yet overall, just 10 percent of the general population enjoys such privilege.  Even crazier, just one percent of charting British artists claimed the same pedigree in 1990.

So, instead of bands like the Smiths, Oasis, and the Stone Roses, the current mainstream milieu includes well-reared artists like Lily Allen, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Florence Welch and La Roux.  Digging deeper, Allen attended the pricey Bedales, at £9,240 ($14,357) per term, while Welch attended the Alleyn’s School, whose per-term commitments push past £4,430 ($6,883).

Here are just a few of the others…

*Radiohead: Abington School
*Chris Martin: Sherborne School, Dorset
*Mumford & Sons: King’s College, St. Paul’s
*Laura Marling: Leighton Park School
*Pixie Lott: Italia Conti Academy Of Theatre Arts
*James Blunt: Elstree School, Harrow School

The reasons for the shift are undoubtedly complicated, and subject to debate. One explanation could be a decrease in the amount of music education for poorer students, though one bittersweet product of poverty is often incredible, lasting music.  But the upper-classes may suddenly feel more at home with pop and mainstream genres, instead of focusing on more high-brow categories like opera and classical.