The BRIT Awards 1990

The annual British music industry bash had been growing in every way for a number of years. In 1988, it decided to improve itself by stopping being quite so corporate. In 1989, it changed its name to the BRIT Awards and nearly destroyed itself. After the unmitigated disaster of the 1989 ceremony, the 1990 awards switched to a different venue and was altogether a little more self-conscious.

The ceremony would sadly see the last public appearance of Freddie Mercury, but on a lighter note would also see Fine Young Cannibals justifiably return their awards in reaction to a video of Margaret Thatcher choosing her favourite pop song (How Much is That Little Doggie in the Window? although it sadly didn’t win any awards in 1990).

For now, though, it’s February 18th 1990, we’re at the Dominion Theatre in London, and Cathy McGowan out of The 1960s is your host for the evening.

There’s also an introduction video here.

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Tina Turner. Nominees:

  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Shakespears Sister
  • Soul II Soul
  • The Beautiful South
  • The Stone Roses

Longer video here.

Winner: Lisa Stansfield.

Best British Producer

Presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Coldcut
  • Dave Stewart
  • Kate Bush
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Steve Lillywhite
  • Stock Aitken Waterman

Winner: Dave Stewart.

Best Classical Recording

Nominees:

  • Jeffrey Tate – Piano Concerto 24 & 25
  • John Elliot Gardner – St Matthews Passion – Bach
  • Nigel Kennedy – Four Seasons – Vivaldi
  • Ricardo Chailly – Walton – Façade – Stravinsky
  • Simon Rattle – Porgy & Bess – Gershwin

Winner: Simon Rattle.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented by Sinitta, who gets carried on on a stretcher. Nominees:

  • Aspects of Love (Original Cast Recording)
  • Batman (Prince)
  • Beaches (various artists)
  • Henry V (Simon Rattle)
  • The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Michael Nyman)

Winner: Batman.

Best British Group

Presented by Iron Maiden. Nominees:

  • Erasure
  • Eurythmics
  • Fine Young Cannibals
  • Simply Red
  • Soul II Soul
  • Tears for Fears

Video here.

Winner: Fine Young Cannibals.

Best Music Video

Presented by Bobby Brown. Nominees:

  • Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire
  • De La Soul – Eye Know
  • Eurythmics – Don’t Ask Me Why
  • Farley Jackmaster Funk – Free At Last
  • Four Tops – Loco in Acapulco
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses – Paradise City
  • Holly Johnson – Love Train
  • Janet Jackson – Miss You Much
  • Kaoma – Lambada
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Around the World
  • M – Pop Muzik
  • Neneh Cherry – Manchild
  • Paul McCartney – My Brave Face
  • Prince – Batdance
  • Queen – Invisible Man
  • Salif Keita – Nous Pas Bouger
  • Simply Red – If You Don’t Know Me by Now
  • Tears for Fears – Sowing the Seeds
  • The Alarm – A New South Wales
  • The Beautiful South – Song for Whoever
  • The Cure – Lullaby
  • Tina Turner – Simply the Best

Fortunately nobody had to read out that full list of nominees! Video here.

Winner: The Cure.

Best International Group

Presented by Ray Davis, a little too keen to remind us that The Kinks still exist. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • De La Soul
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Gipsy Kings
  • Milli Vanilli
  • U2

Video here.

Winner: U2.

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Gary Glitter, back in the days before we knew what we know now. Ugh. Nominees:

  • Bobby Brown
  • De La Soul
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Paula Abdul

Video here.

Winner: Neneh Cherry.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Adam Ant. Nominees:

  • Bobby Brown
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Prince
  • Tina Turner

Video here.

Winner: Neneh Cherry.

Best British Female

Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Kate Bush
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Mica Paris
  • Yazz

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best British Male

Nominees:

  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Phil Collins
  • Roland Gift
  • Van Morrison

Winner: Phil Collins.

Best British Album

Nominees:

  • Eurythmics – We Too Are One
  • Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw and The Cooked
  • Simply Red – A New Flame
  • Soul II Soul – Club Classics Vol 1
  • Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love

Winner: Fine Young Cannibals.

Best British Single

Voted for by the listeners of the Simon Mayo Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1, and presented by Simon Mayo. Nominees:

  • Band Aid II – Do They Know it’s Christmas
  • Jason Donovan – Sealed With a Kiss
  • Jason Donovan – Too Many Broken Hearts
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Swing the Mood
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – That’s What I Like
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Lets Party
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Around the World
  • Marc Almond & Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart
  • Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise
  • Simple Minds – Belfast Child
  • Sonia – You’ll Never Stop Me
  • Soul II Soul – Back to Life
  • Various Artists – Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey

An astonishing number of nominations, three of which were for Jive Bunny, but fortunately they didn’t manage to win. Unfortunately, um… well, watch the video here.

Winner: Phil Collins.

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: Queen.

Performances

  • Lisa Stansfield -Been Around the World
  • Neneh Cherry – Manchild
  • Nigel Kennedy – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
  • Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise
  • Soul II Soul – What is Soul II Soul

Further Reading / Viewing

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B-Tribe – ¡Fiesta Fatal!

There is a very obvious question which has probably occurred to you by now, which is how on earth I pick which albums I’m going to review on this blog. The truth is, it’s largely random – I let them pick me. There’s a bit of a focus on things which have entered my possession recently, but other than that it’s driven by whatever I feel like listening to and writing about.

B-Tribe are one of those acts about whom I know very little. From my radio days, I have a promo copy of their 1999 ¡Fatal Fatal! single, and it is excellent, so when I saw a full album of theirs in the $1 section of my local record shop, it seemed an obvious one to try.

I’ll be honest before we really kick things off, it’s a bit of a disappointment. By no means is it bad – it’s all relaxing and pleasant, but there’s nothing up to the standard of ¡Fatal Fatal! on here, confusing though that may be. And a fiesta this is not.

After a brief intro, ¡Fiesta Fatal! opens with the the title track, which has three very clear influences:

  1. Flamenco music
  2. Enigma‘s first album
  3. Depeche Mode‘s Waiting for the Night

If you want to try and imagine this song for yourself, combine those three influences in your head, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it sounds like, right down to the heavy breathing and beautiful Spanish guitar meddling. It’s an odd formula, but actually it does work pretty well.

It’s also a general theme which continues throughout the whole album. Nadie Entiende (“nobody understands”) mixes a violent flamenco melody with Enigma‘s panpipes and a very cross sounding lady repeating the title of the song while one of the Gipsy Kings wails over the top.

By Lo Siento I was starting to wonder what on earth was going on here, as the formula was so clearly set out, and it was at this point that I discovered that B-Tribe are exactly the same German producers responsible for Sacred Spirit, an equally formulaic Native American flavoured offering from out of the nineties.

By which I do not mean to imply anything particularly bad about this album – it’s formulaic in the way that only German producers seem to be, but there are also plenty of high points to be found. Una Vez Más (“once more”) is a curiously pleasant if slightly schizophrenic moment.

Love, Tears, Heartaches + Devotion, with its distinctly Enigmatic title, is a particular highlight sitting exactly at the halfway point of the album. Its influences are still clear, but their combination somehow seems to work particularly well on this track.

What the latter half of the album lacks in new ideas, it more than makes up for with repetition, and it’s easy to get pretty bored with the whole thing by this stage. After a series of interludes, reprises, and remixes, you finally make it through to the end of the album with a couple of alternative versions of the title track ¡Fiesta Fatal!

As a bit of an epilogue, though, I thought I should also reacquaint myself with the ¡Fatal Fatal! single. I don’t know quite what it is, I must admit – they seem to have pulled bits from across the entire album for this one track, which is perhaps proof that it may not have needed to be a full album after all. But somehow, straight from the intro, it just works infinitely better than anything on the original album. If you’re going to listen to anything of theirs, I would therefore recommend the single above anything else I’ve heard so far.

B-Tribe (or The Barcelona Tribe of Soulsters, apparently) are, therefore, a bit of a mixed bag. Having started off as a cash-in on the success of Enigma and Deep Forest, they seem to have subsequently found their right niche. But this debut album, although definitely pleasant, could probably be avoided.

This album can be found on iTunes just there.