Robert Miles – Paths

We’ll take a brief break next week, but the third in our series of randomly picked videos was the single from Robert Miles‘s not-too-successful third album Organik. It was remixed for the single by The Future Sound of London, and was a lot better, but sadly this isn’t that version – here’s Paths.

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The BRIT Awards 1991

On February 10th 1991, the BRITs took place at the Dominion Theatre in London, presented, perhaps appropriately, in the form of a voice over, by voice over artiste extraordinaire Simon Bates.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1990 ceremony here, and the 1992 ceremony in a couple of days’ time.

Best British Album

Presented by The Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Nominees:

  • The Beautiful South – Choke
  • Elton John – Sleeping with the Past
  • George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
  • Van Morrison – Enlightenment
  • Prefab Sprout – Jordan: The Come Back
  • Lisa Stansfield – Affection

Winner: George Michael

Best British Female

Presented by Annie Lennox. Nominees:

  • Betty Boo
  • Elizabeth Fraser
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Caron Wheeler

Winner: Lisa Stansfield

Best British Group

Presented by Roger Daltry. Nominees:

  • The Beautiful South
  • The Cure
  • Happy Mondays
  • Soul II Soul
  • The Stone Roses
  • Talk Talk

Winner: The Cure

Best British Male

Presented by Kim Appleby. Nominees:

  • Phil Collins
  • Elton John
  • George Michael
  • Van Morrison
  • Robert Smith
  • Jimmy Somerville

Winner: Elton John

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Jimmy Somerville. Nominees:

  • Beats International
  • Betty Boo
  • The Charlatans
  • Happy Mondays
  • The Las

Winner: Betty Boo

Best British Producer

Presented by Kim Appleby. Nominees:

  • Nellee Hooper
  • George Michael
  • Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne
  • Chris Thomas
  • Youth

Winner: Chris Thomas

Best British Single

Presented by Simon Mayo.

Winner: Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

Best British Video

Presented by Philip Schofield and Simon Le Bon from off of Duran Duran. Nominees:

  • Adamski – Killer
  • The Beautiful South – A Little Time
  • The Beloved – Hello
  • Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby
  • The Cure – Close to Me
  • Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
  • Go West – King of Wishful Thinking
  • Billy Idol – Cradle of Love
  • George Michael – Freedom 90
  • Seal – Crazy

Winner: The Beautiful South

Best Classical Recording

Nominees:

  • Matthew Best – Serenade to the Music
  • John Elliot Gardner – Vespers of the Blessed
  • Oliver Knussen – The Prince of the Pagodas
  • Zubin Mehta – In Concerto – Carreras
  • Kent Nagano – The Love for Three

Winner: Zubin Mehta

Best International Female

Presented by Paul Jones. Nominees:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Whitney Houston
  • Janet Jackson
  • Madonna
  • Sinéad O’Connor
  • Tina Turner

Winner: Sinéad O’Connor

Best International Group

Presented by Shakin’ Stevens. Nominees:

  • B-52s
  • De La Soul
  • Faith No More
  • INXS
  • Roxette

Winner: INXS

Best International Male

Presented by Rick Astley. Nominees:

  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • MC Hammer
  • Michael Hutchence
  • Prince
  • Paul Simon

Winner: Michael Hutchence

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Chris Rea. Nominees:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Dee-Lite
  • MC Hammer
  • Maria McKee
  • Wilson Phillips

Winner: MC Hammer

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by Rick Astley. Nominees:

  • Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks
  • Angelo Badalamenti – Wild at Heart
  • Maurice Jarre – Ghost
  • Various Artists – Days of Thunder
  • Various Artists – Pretty Woman

Winner: Twin Peaks

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Terry Ellis.

Winner: Status Quo

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Air – Talkie Walkie

A couple of weeks into 2004, the slightly mad French duo Air returned to the charts with their third proper (discounting the odd remix album, compilation, film soundtrack, and audio book) studio album Talkie Walkie. Following three years after their “difficult” second album 10,000 Hz Legend, it’s a much more confident offering, with essentially no weak points and a whole pile of classics.

Talkie Walkie opens with Venus, a track every bit as exquisite as anything on Moon Safari (1998). It’s got piano chords, a strummed guitar, and huge pads with enormous LFO settings – every ingredient that you expect from Air. It’s even got a slightly bizarre lyric, delivered as always with a strong French accent. When the counter-melody reappears just thirty seconds from the end, it’s almost euphoric.

It would be easy to go to this level of detail for every track on Talkie Walkie. The first single Cherry Blossom Girl has many of the same ingredients, but this time mixes in a slightly trippy drum pattern to make one of the best songs of Air‘s career. If you don’t remember where you were when you first heard that flute section then you haven’t lived.

If you find some of their more experimental moments less palatable, you may think the repeated refrain of Run is a little over the top, but look a little further and you’ll find another deeply atmospheric and evocative piece. Universal Traveller is similarly exquisite, and the instrumental Mike Mills makes for an entertaining deviation.

Surfing on a Rocket follows. Although Air had rather prematurely given up on singles by this stage, this was the second release in some territories, and is definitely the most commercially accessible track on the album. Which, admittedly, may not be saying a lot – although excellent, this was never going to be the most successful album ever released (technically, it peaked at number two in the UK, so maybe it was more of a hit than I’m remembering).

Speaking of which, Another Day is definitely one of the best songs on the album, but realistically it was never going to be a single. But what Air do extremely well is the slow, plodding, track, full of atmosphere, and with a few odd experimental hints hiding in the background. Another Day hides a weirdly edited vocal pad sound playing the main chord pretty much all the way through, and the guitar, chimes, drums, and vocals are built around it – which may not sound too appealing, but it works very well indeed.

The third single (essentially the only single in the UK) Alpha Beta Gaga is probably my least favourite track on the album, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable, thanks to the simple fact that the melody is whistled. I couldn’t name any offhand, but I’m sure it appeared all over television shows and adverts at the time, and out of place though it may be, it’s certainly a fun track.

Biological seems rather low key when it starts off, the odd banjo line (if that’s what it is) and atmospheric frippery making for a very soft backing to the vocals. But when the chorus turns up for the second or third time the song will have completely got under your skin, and you will come to see it as one of the best moments of the album.

The ending is definitely low key – Alone in Tokyo is taken from the soundtrack to the film Lost in Translation, released the previous year. While not the most euphoric album closer ever, it’s every bit as atmospheric and dreamy as everything else on there, bringing one of Air‘s finest albums to a close in fine style.

The bonus live DVD is nothing particularly special, but for a few pounds extra it’s worth having, so go for this version of Talkie Walkie if you’re looking for a physical copy.

The BPI Awards 1988

On February 8th 1988, Noel Edmonds once again presented the BPI Awards (the last show by that name) at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Apparently TV viewers didn’t get to see Rick Astley collecting his awards, which must have been a very great shame indeed.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1987 ceremony here, and the 1989 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Nominees:

  • George Michael – Faith
  • Pet Shop Boys – Actually
  • Sting – Nothing Like the Sun
  • Swing Out Sisters – It’s Better to Travel
  • T’Pau – Bridge of Spies

Winner: Sting

Best British Female

Presented by Chris de Burgh. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Samantha Fox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sinitta
  • Kim Wilde

Winner: Alison Moyet

Best British Group

Presented by Eddy Grant. Nominees:

  • The Bee Gees
  • Def Leppard
  • Level 42
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Whitesnake

Winner: Pet Shop Boys

Best British Male

Nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • George Michael
  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Steve Winwood

Winner: George Michael

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1 and readers of Radio Times. Presented by Mike Smith. First round nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • Black
  • The Christians
  • Curiosity Killed the Cat
  • Johnny Hates Jazz
  • Living in a Box
  • Mel and Kim
  • Pepsi and Shirlie
  • The Proclaimers
  • Swing Out Sisters
  • T’Pau
  • Wet Wet Wet

Second round nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • The Christians
  • Johnny Hates Jazz
  • T’Pau
  • Wet Wet Wet

Winner: Wet Wet Wet

Best British Producer

Presented by Trevor Horn. Nominees:

  • Brian Eno
  • Julian Mendelsohn
  • Paul O’Duffy
  • Stock, Aitken and Waterman
  • Alan Tarney

Winner: Stock, Aitken and Waterman

Best British Single

Nominees:

  • Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up
  • Bananarama – Love in the First Degree
  • MARRS – Pump Up the Volume
  • Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
  • T’Pau – China in Your Hands

Winner: Rick Astley

Best British Video

Presented by Gary Davies.

Winner: New Order – True Faith

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Andrew Davies – The Mask of Time – Tippet
  • Vernon Handley – Symphony No 5 – Vaughan
  • Roger Norrington – Symphonies 2 and 8
  • Simon Rattle – Symphony No 2 – Mahler
  • Bryden Thomson – Piano Concertos 1 and 2

Winner: Vernon Handley

Best International Group

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Heart
  • Los Lobos
  • U2

Winner: U2

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Wayne Mailloux. Nominees:

  • Beastie Boys
  • Terence Trent D’Arby
  • LL Cool J
  • Los Lobos
  • Bruce Willis

Winner: Terence Trent D’Arby

Best International Solo Artist

Nominees:

  • Whitney Houston
  • Madonna
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Luther Vandross

Winner: Michael Jackson

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by The Bee Gees. Nominees:

  • Los Lobos / Various Artists – La Bamba
  • Original Cast Recording – Follies
  • Original Cast Recording – Les Miserables
  • Original Cast Recording – Phantom of the Opera
  • Various Artists – Dirty Dancing

Winner: Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: The Who

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Albums chart of the year 2013 for stowaways

The albums chart is a little less skewed than the singles. Here’s the top twenty for 2013:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – Electric
  2. Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
  3. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
  4. Little Boots – Nocturnes
  5. Marsheaux – Inhale
  6. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – English Electric
  7. I Monster – Swarf
  8. Front Line Assembly – Echogenetic
  9. Sparks – Interior Design
  10. Claudia Brücken – The Lost are Found
  11. Kevin Pearce – Pocket Handkerchief Lane
  12. Sparks – Two Hands One Mouth
  13. Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne *
  14. Pet Shop Boys – Elysium **
  15. The Presets – Pacifica ***
  16. Front Line Assembly – AirMech
  17. Karl Bartos – Off the Record
  18. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (III)
  19. Boris Blank – Avant Garden Vol. 4
  20. Boris Blank – Avant Garden Vol. 3

* Number 1 in 2012
** Number 2 in 2012
*** Number 34 in 2012

The BPI Awards 1986

Noel Edmonds was at the helm on February 10th 1986 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The BRIT Awards official website proudly tells us that Norman Tebbitt‘s appearance to present the Outstanding Contribution award brought “the first hint of official recognition.” Others might argue it signed a death warrant for the awards, but there we go.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1985 ceremony here, and the 1987 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Presented by Daryl Hall. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
  • Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight
  • Tears for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Female

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Annie Lennox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sade
  • Bonnie Tyler

Winner: Annie Lennox

Best British Group

Presented by Joan Armatrading. Nominees:

  • Dire Straits
  • Eurythmics
  • Simple Minds
  • Tears for Fears
  • U2

Winner: Dire Straits

Best British Male

Presented by Alison Moyet. Nominees:

  • Phil Collins
  • Elton John
  • Sting
  • Midge Ure
  • Paul Young

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Gary Davies.

Winner: Go West

Best British Producer

Presented by Howard Jones. Nominees:

  • Trevor Horn
  • Chris Hughes
  • Steve Lilywhite
  • David A. Stewart
  • Hugh Padgham

Winner: David A. Stewart

Best British Single

Presented by Roger Daltry. Nominees:

  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Hardcastle – Nineteen
  • Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Winner: Tears for Fears

Best British Video

Nominees:

  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away

Winner: Paul Young

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Sir Georg Solti. Nominees:

  • Vernon Handley – Violin Concerto – Elgar
  • Julian Lloyd Webber – Cello Concerto – Haydn
  • Trevor Pinnock – Cannon and Gigue – Pachelbel
  • John Rutter – Requiem – Faure
  • Sir Georg Solti – Messiah – Handel – Chicago

Winner: Vernon Handley

Best International Group

Presented by Elton John. Nominees:

  • The Cars
  • Huey Lewis and The News
  • Kool and The Gang
  • Talking Heads
  • ZZ Top

Winner: Huey Lewis and The News

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Midge Ure from Ultravox. Nominees:

  • Madonna
  • Lionel Richie
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tina Turner
  • Stevie Wonder

Winner: Bruce Springsteen

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Norman Tebbitt.

Winners: Wham! and Elton John

Special Award

Winner: Bob Geldof

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing