Today, goth is a word that can be used to describe fashion, makeup and lifestyle movements. However, it all originated from music. Gothic rock evolved from the English post-punk movement of the late 1970s and stood out with it’s darker sound as well as themes found in gothic literature (such as sadness, nihilism, morbidity, horror and the occult). Some of the first goth musicians include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division and The Cure, who helped to inspire generations of musicians to come.
Take a look at 10 musicians and musical groups that every goth should know in the gallery below and let us know your favorite song from our list in the comments section on social media.
Alien Sex Fiend
Alien Sex Fiend are an English gothic rock band that formed in London in 1982. The group released their first album, “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Brain?” in 1983 and has released 12 studio albums since, with the most recent coming out in 2018. Many of their songs topped the UK indie charts, including their 1986 single “I Walk The Line.”
Bauhaus are an English gothic rock that were formed in Northampton in 1978. The band was originally named Bauhaus 1919, after the German art school, but the name was soon shortened. They’re best known for their 1979 single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” which helped to established the gothic rock genre. Their highest charting song is “Ziggy Stardust,” a cover of David Bowie’s iconic single. They released five studio albums, with the latest being “Go Away White” in 2008.
One of the most contemporary entries on this list, Chelsea Wolfe is an American musician who blends gothic rock with folk. She began releasing music in 2006 and gained recognition with her 2010 album “The Grime and the Glow.” She has a number of popular singles including 2013’s “Feral Love” off her album “Pain Is Beauty” and her 2015 single “Carrion Flowers” off her album “Abyss.”
Evanescence is one of the biggest gothic rock bands to come out in the last twenty years, first convening in 1998. The American band made their studio debut through their 2003 album “Fallen,” which included some of their most popular singles of all time, “Bring Me to Life,” “Everybody’s Fool,” “Going Under” and “My Immortal.” The band has released five studio albums so far, with their most recent, “The Bitter Truth,” debuting in March 2021.
Joy Division were an English gothic rock band who formed in Salford in 1976. The band’s guitarist Bernard Sumner and bassist Peter Hook came together at as Sex Pistols’ concert, releasing their first album “Unknown Pleasures” in 1979. The band was fronted by lead singer Ian Curtis, who passed away from suicide at the age of 23 in 1980. The group debuted their second and final album, “Closer” two month after his death and their single “Love Would Tear Us Apart” would go on to become their most successful song of all time. Many of the members of Joy Division went on to form a new group, New Order, in 1980.
Fields of the Nephilim
Fields of the Nephilim are an English gothic rock band that formed in Stevenage in 1984. They released their debut album, “Dawnrazor” in 1987 and have released six albums since. The band is known for their lyrics which incorporate themes such as magic, mythology and the occult. The name of their band is inspired by the angel-human hybrid creatures found in the Hebrew Bible.
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie and the Banshees are an English gothic rock band formed in London in 1976. The band was formed by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin. They released their first album in 1978, “The Scream” and would go on to drop 10 more studio albums. Some of their most popular singles of all time include 1978’s “Hong Kong Garden,” 1981’s “Spellbound” and a cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” in 1983.
The Cure are an English gothic rock band who formed in Crawley in 1978. They’re fronted by singer Robert Smith, the band’s only consistent member, who was also the lead guitarist for Siouxsie and the Banshees. The band released their debut album, “Three Imaginary Boys” in 1979 and went on to release 12 more studio albums. Their second studio album, “Seventeen Seconds” premiered in 1980 and helped establish the group as one of the leaders in gothic rock, thanks to their new dark style.
The Sisters of Mercy
The Sisters of Mercy are an English gothic rock band that formed in Leeds in 1980. Their first studio album, “First and Last and Always” debuted in 1985 and they’d go on to release two more albums. One of their most popular singles to date is “More,” which was released in 1990 from their third album “Vision Thing” and reached number one on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart.
Type O Negative
Type O Negative was an American gothic metal band that formed in Brooklyn in 1989. The band was fronted by lead vocalist and bassist Peter Steele, who was known for his vampiric appearance, incredible stature and bass vocals. They released their first album, “Slow, Deep and Hard” in 1991 and would go on to release six more studio albums, with their third album “Bloody Kisses” earning a platinum certification.