Blackpool lights is the popular and perhaps more usual term for the famous illuminations that are held in the holiday resort each autumn, and for well over a century, that was the only recognised meaning of the phrase. In the past few years however it has taken on an entirely new and different sense, due to the formation in 2004 of the Indie rock band Blackpool Lights. The group hail from Kansas City and in 2006 they were named Artist of the Day by Spin Magazine, and in the same year released their debut album ‘This Town’s Disaster’. It might seem unusual at first glance that a rock group from Missouri should be named after a lights festival in a Lancashire Town, especially as the band themselves say, they weren’t aware of its meaning when they took the name.
The connection is provide by the Beatles and their 1967 television film Magical Mystery Tour. This hour length film was originally shown on BBC1 in black and white, and repeated on BBC2 in colour a couple of days after. The scenario comprises a collection of individuals on a charabanc tour involving, sketches, comedy scenes, and music. As well as the title track the film includes some of their great songs such as, The Fool on The Hill, I Am the Walrus, All my Loving, She Loves You, and Hello Goodbye. Former Beatle George Harrison remarked that the idea behind the film was from Illuminations tours, with people getting on a bus and going to visit Blackpool Lights. That’s where the Kansas City band got their name from. Guitarist Jim Suptic says that they didn’t know what the term meant but that it seemed cool to have a Beatles reference as the name for a group. It illustrates the strong tradition of illuminations trips, when they could have such an enduring influence on the work of a group as famous as the Beatles