1 Giant Leap – What About Me?

Pinning down exactly what 1 Giant Leap are isn’t easy. Their eponymous debut album / video-album 1 Giant Leap (2002) was groundbreaking, and featured the likes of Maxi Jazz, Robbie Williams, Michael Stipe, and others, alongside vocalists and musicians from all over the world. On the same tracks.

Once you’ve got the hang of all of that, the opening track on their second album What About Me?, a piece entitled Come to the Edge, makes a lot more sense. Kicking off with a spoken philosophical sample, it then mixes instrumentation and vocals from all over the world, despite only lasting a couple of minutes.

The first proper song Each Step Moves Us On is a little anticlimactic after that opening track and everything that came before it. After a wait of seven years (it was released five years ago this week) this second album was a very long time coming. This time it overflowed onto two discs, becoming a slightly bloated double album, again with a video version for those with the patience.

Maxi Jazz (you’ll remember him from Faithless) turns up for the brilliant How Can I Be a Better Friend to You?, the first of a number of tracks which really hit all of 1 Giant Leap‘s trademarks – there are great vocals, some fun exploratory musical backing, and in general some great songs.

There then follows a whole string of them – There’s Nothing Wrong with Me, Wounded in All the Right Places, and I Have Seen Trouble, featuring mainly African and Middle Eastern influences, with vocals from the likes of kd lang and Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

My favourite track on the first disc is probably the haunting Spanish sound of Solita Sin Solidad, featuring a vocal from Lila Downs but perhaps more remarkably Carlos Santana from The Mighty Boosh on guitar. The rest of the first disc is less remarkable, although the vocal ramblings complete with clicks in Serenity Prayer are a treat to hear.

Disc two opens with Under a Stormy Sky / I’ve Been Away, which features Maxi Jazz again to liven things up, as well as Michael Franti, Eddi Reader, and some other friends. The Farsi rap half way through from Haale is really rather special. The second track What I Need is Something Different is rather brilliant too.

My favourite track on the second half of this album is the driving beat of The Truth is Changing. Apart from a great vocal from former pop idol Will Young, there’s just something very catchy and compelling about it. Similarly Arrival features an appearance from former God Alanis Morissette, and is a very enjoyable track indeed.

Otherwise the second disc has a few less interesting moments, such as the confusing Freedom, or Forgive Me and the last proper track Set Me Free. The closing dub version of What I Need is Something Different is a welcome inclusion.

As a rule I’m not a huge fan of double albums – I think there should always be a good reason for allowing a release to spill over the eighty minute mark. And I’m not sure that reason exists here, apart from the fact that a lot of very talented people put a lot of work in. Even so, it might have benefitted from a little pruning here and there.

But it was definitely worth the seven year wait, and also the work involved in tracking down a copy of the album – when it’s good, it’s every bit as good as the first album, and even when it’s not so great, it’s still a fascinating listen.

Unfortunately What About Me? isn’t the easiest album to get hold of – the DVD is available through Amazon here, but I’ve only ever managed to find the album as an Australian import. But it’s worth the effort!

The BRIT Awards 1996

Ah yes, the year in which Jarvis Cocker found Michael Jackson‘s pretentious performance of Earth Song a little over the top. Chris Evans was the host at Earls Court in London, on 19th February 1996.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1995 ceremony here, and the 1997 ceremony in a couple of days’ time.

Best British Album

Presented by Lenny Kravitz. Nominees:

  • Blur – The Great Escape
  • Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Pulp – Different Class
  • Radiohead – The Bends
  • Paul Weller – Stanley Road

Winner: Oasis

Best British Dance Act

Presented by Vic ReevesBob Mortimer and Ulrika Jonsson. Nominees:

  • Eternal
  • Leftfield
  • M People
  • Massive Attack
  • Tricky

Winner: Massive Attack

Best British Female

Presented by Tina Turner. Nominees:

  • Joan Armatrading
  • PJ Harvey
  • Annie Lennox
  • Shara Nelson
  • Vanessa-Mae

Winner: Annie Lennox

Best British Group

Presented by Pete Townshend from The Who. Nominees:

  • Blur
  • Lightning Seeds
  • Oasis
  • Pulp
  • Radiohead

Winner: Oasis

Best British Male

Presented by Iggy Pop. Nominees:

  • Edwyn Collins
  • Van Morrison
  • Jimmy Nail
  • Tricky
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Paul Weller

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Robbie Williams. Nominees:

  • Black Grape
  • Cast
  • Elastica
  • Supergrass
  • Tricky

Winner: Supergrass

Best British Producer

Nominees:

  • Brian Eno
  • Nellee Hooper
  • John Leckie
  • Owen Morris and Noel Gallagher
  • Stephen Street

Winner: Brian Eno

Best British Single

Presented by Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • Blur – Country House
  • Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You
  • Everything But the Girl – Missing
  • Annie Lennox – No More I Love You’s
  • Oasis – Roll with It
  • Oasis – Wonderwall
  • Pulp – Disco 2000
  • Simply Red – Fairground
  • Supergrass – Alright
  • Take That – Back for Good

Winner: Take That

Best British Video

Presented by Michael Hutchence from INXS. Nominees:

  • Blur – Country House
  • Blur – The Universal
  • Massive Attack – Protection
  • Oasis – Wonderwall
  • Pulp – Common People
  • Radiohead – Just
  • Rolling Stones – Like a Rolling Stone
  • Simply Red – Fairground
  • Supergrass – Alright
  • Take That – Back for Good

Winner: Oasis

Best International Female

Presented by Kylie Minogue. Nominees:

  • Björk
  • Mariah Carey
  • Celine Dion
  • kd lang
  • Alanis Morissette

Winner: Björk

Best International Group

Presented by Celine Dion. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Foo Fighters
  • Garbage
  • Green Day
  • TLC

Winner: Bon Jovi

Best International Male

Nominees:

  • The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
  • Coolio
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Meat Loaf
  • Neil Young

Winner: Prince

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey. Nominees:

  • Tina Arena
  • Boyzone
  • Foo Fighters
  • Garbage
  • Alanis Morissette

Winner: Alanis Morissette

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Nominees:

  • James Horner / London Symphony Orchestra – Braveheart
  • Various Artists – Batman Forever
  • Various Artists – Muriel’s Wedding
  • Various Artists – Natural Born Killers
  • Various Artists – Waiting to Exhale

Winner: Braveheart

Artist of a Generation

Meaningless special award presented by Bob Geldof.

Winner: Michael Jackson

The Freddie Mercury Award

Presented by Roger Taylor from Queen.

Winner: The Help album for the charity War Child. Collected by Brian Eno and Thom Yorke from Radiohead.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by, you know, Tony Blair from off of the Conservative Labour Party.

Winner: David Bowie

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: this piece originally omitted Annie Lennox’s nomination for Best British Single. Incidentally, my notes from 1996 also list Cast as nominated for Best British Video (for Alright) instead of Supergrass, but I suspect this is an error.

The BRIT Awards 1995

Alexandra Palace in London was the venue on 20th February 1995, and Chris Evans took to the stage to present the awards, now with a “voting academy” (I’m sure you were just as excited as everyone else was).

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1994 ceremony here, and the 1996 ceremony in a couple of days’ time.

Best British Album

Presented by Cindy Lauper. Nominees:

  • Blur – Parklife
  • Eternal – Always and Forever
  • Massive Attack – Protection
  • Oasis – Definitely Maybe
  • Pink Floyd – The Division Bell

Winner: Blur

Best British Dance Act

Nominees:

  • Brand New Heavies
  • Eternal
  • M People
  • Massive Attack
  • The Prodigy

Winner: M People

Best British Female

Presented by Jarvis Cocker. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Des’ree
  • Michelle Gayle
  • Eddi Reader
  • Lisa Stansfield

Winner: Eddi Reader

Best British Group

Presented by Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Nominees:

  • Blur
  • Eternal
  • M People
  • Oasis
  • Pink Floyd

Winner: Blur

Best British Male

Nominees:

  • Eric Clapton
  • Elvis Costello
  • Morrissey
  • Seal
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Paul Weller

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Ray Davis. Nominees:

  • Echobelly
  • Eternal
  • Oasis
  • PJ and Duncan
  • Portishead

Winner: Oasis

Best British Producer

Nominees:

  • Ed Buller
  • Flood
  • Nellee Hooper
  • Trevor Horn
  • Stephen Street

Winner: Nellee Hooper

Best British Single

Presented by Lisa I’Anson. Nominees:

  • Blur – Girls and Boys
  • Blur – Parklife
  • China Black – Searching
  • D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better
  • East 17 – Stay Another Day
  • Michelle Gayle – Sweetness
  • Tom Jones – If I Only Knew
  • Oasis – Whatever
  • The Grid – Texas Cowboys
  • Wet Wet Wet – Love is All Around

Winner: BlurParklife

Best British Video

Presented by Simone Angel and Tommy Vance. Nominees:

  • Blur – Parklife
  • Jamiroquai – Space Cowboy
  • The Rolling Stones – Love is Strong
  • Seal – Prayer for the Dying
  • Suede – The WIld Ones

Winner: Blur

Best International Female

Presented by Jimmy Nail. Nominees:

  • Tori Amos
  • kd lang
  • Madonna
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Sinéad O’Connor

Winner: kd lang

Best International Group

Presented by Des’ree. Nominees:

  • Counting Crows
  • The Cranberries
  • Crash Test Dummies
  • R.E.M.
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Winner: R.E.M.

Best International Male

Nominees:

  • Bryan Adams
  • Warren G
  • Youssou N’Dour
  • Prince
  • Luther Vandross

Winner: Prince

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Tom Jones. Nominees:

  • Carleen Anderson
  • Counting Crows
  • Marcella Detroit
  • Warren G
  • Lisa Loeb

Winner: Lisa Loeb

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Nominees:

  • Elton John and Hans Zimmer – The Lion King
  • Various Artists – Forrest Gump
  • Various Artists – Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Various Artists – Philadelphia
  • Various Artists – Pulp Fiction

Winner: Pulp Fiction

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Sting.

Winner: Elton John

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: corrected Echobelly’s entry and added Tom Jones’s missing nomination.

The BRIT Awards 1993

The BRIT Awards 1993 were, by relative standards, uncontroversial and reasonably unexciting. To tell the truth, I only picked this year because of the host. The show took place at London’s glittering Alexandra Palace on February 16th 1993. Here’s a quick introduction, and here’s your host, fresh out of the Crystal Maze, Richard O’Brien.

If you thought he was an odd choice of presenter, you wait till you see the award presenters!

Best British Group

Brilliantly presented by Vic and Bob. Nominees:

  • The Cure
  • Erasure
  • Right Said Fred
  • Shakespears Sister
  • Simply Red

Winner: Simply Red.

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Lenny Kravitz. Nominees:

  • Dina Carroll
  • KWS
  • Take That
  • Tasmin Archer
  • Undercover

Yes, that’s KWS and Undercover up against Take That. Wow.

Winner: Tasmin Archer.

Best British Video

Voted for by the audience of Going Live, and presented by exotic protoplasm par excellence Naomi Campbell. Nominees:

  • Simply Red – For Your Babies
  • Genesis – Jesus He Knows Me
  • Erasure – Take A Chance On Me
  • Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass
  • Shakespears Sister – Stay

The BRITs website also lists the following, which I assume were weeded out in earlier phases of the contest:

  • George Michael – Too Funky
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Woman
  • Peter Gabriel – Digging in the Dirt
  • Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
  • The Cure – I’m in Love

Winner: Shakespears Sister.

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Simon Mayo and Jaki Brambles out of BBC Radio 1. The top five nominees:

  • 5. Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl
  • 4. Take That – It Only Takes a Minute
  • 3. Take That – A Million Love Songs
  • 2. Shakespears Sister – Stay

A soppy bunch of singles this year. Note that already darlings of the music biz, Take That managed to grab three of the top five nominations! They really were that big from day one.

Winner: Take That for Could it Be Magic.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Meat Loaf while everyone else smiled politely. Nominees:

  • Nicholas Parnacourt – Beethoven – 9th Symphony
  • Cecelia Bartoli – Puccini – Heroines
  • Gorecki – Symphony No. 3
  • John Taverner – The Protecting Veil
  • Nigel Kennedy – Violin Concerto – Beethoven

Winner: Nigel Kennedy.

Best British Female

Presented by Lulu. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Kate Bush
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Siobhan Fahey
  • Tasmin Archer

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented by Roger Taylor out of Queen. Nominees:

  • Bugsy (Ennio Morricone)
  • Frankie and Johnny (various artists)
  • Hook (John Williams)
  • Mo’ Money (various artists)
  • Wayne’s World (various artists)

Winner: Wayne’s World.

Best International Group

Presented by Chrissie Hynde. Nominees:

  • Crowded House
  • En Vogue
  • Nirvana
  • R.E.M.
  • U2

Winner: R.E.M.

Best British Album

Sponsored by the Britannia Music Club, and presented by Ruby Wax. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox – Diva
  • Elton John – The One
  • Genesis – We Can’t Dance
  • Right Said Fred – Up
  • Shakespears Sister – Hormonally Yours
  • The Orb – U.F. Orb

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best British Male

Presented by Lisa Stansfield. Nominees:

  • Elton John
  • Eric Clapton
  • George Michael
  • Joe Cocker
  • Mick Hucknall
  • Phil Collins

Winner: Mick Hucknall.

Best International Newcomer

Quite literally presented, in character, by Smashie and Nicey (Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse), and I’d agree that The Shamen should have been up for every award. Nominees:

  • Arrested Development
  • Boyz II Men
  • Curtis Stigers
  • Nirvana
  • Tori Amos

Curtis Stigers, you will remember, had The One and Only one hit.

Winner: Nirvana.

Best British Producer

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne
  • Pete Waterman
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Steve Lipsom
  • Trevor Horn

Winner: Peter Gabriel.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Kylie Minogue. Nominees:

  • Curtis Stigers
  • Enya
  • kd lang
  • Madonna
  • Prince

Winner: Prince.

Most Successful Live Act

Presented by Billy Bragg in honour of the most successful live act of 1992.

Winner: U2.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Long John Baldry.

Winner: Rod Stewart.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: removed numerous videos that are no longer available (13 August 2017).