Sparks – Interior Design

By 1988, Sparks were already nearly two decades into their career, and although their success had waned somewhat, they were still going strong. For their fifteenth album Interior Design, they were embracing the late 1980s sound just as they had embraced so many different genres previously.

The album opens with So Important, the opening single, and probably the catchiest track on here. What’s notable, though, is the lack of comedy from earlier releases. Neither this nor preceding album Music That You Can Dance To (1986) made the charts anywhere in the world, although both yielded some minor US dance hit singles.

Just Got Back from Heaven has a wry humour to it, and a lot of influence from Madonna‘s 1980s sound. By this period they were well in the swing (ha) of producing their own material, and they were both confident and competent, but just not quite tapping into the sound of the charts in time to make it themselves.

There’s a lot owing to their influences, though – Lots of Reasons sounds suspiciously like Devo, although honestly it’s better than most of the flowerpot-hatted group ever achieved.

Most of the tracks on here are good, but not great. You Got a Hold of My Heart and Love-O-Rama are entirely competent, the latter showing off some great late 1980s drumming, but none of these were ever going to change the world.

Side B introduces us to The Toughest Girl in Town, which wakes you up a bit with its enormous bass line, and Let’s Make Love is catchy, but still not particularly great. It would be easy to conclude that relatively little effort went into this album unfortunately. Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before just sounds like every other generic 1980s track at this point.

A Walk Down Memory Lane is next, a pleasant track which may have seen a little more effort, but still isn’t especially memorable. This is a short album, but by this stage it’s really starting to drag, unfortunately.

But then comes Madonna, the closing track on here, and one that shares literally nothing in common with the rest of the album. It’s catchier and more confident, and sees Sparks in one of their occasional flights of fantasy, dreaming of meeting Madonna and spending an evening with her. It’s an interesting closer, in that it almost shares more with the 1994 follow-up Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins than this album.

In fact, some of the most interesting material on here is hidden on the CD’s bonus tracks – although that does involve working your way through a lot of alternative versions of Madonna, you do eventually make your way to the lovely The Big Brass Ring, the instrumental that appeared as a b-side to So Important. And right at the end, the extended mix of So Important is worth hearing too.

This was the album before Sparks‘ first extended hiatus, as they returned to their near-native Hollywood to try to make a film, a musical version of a manga comic. It is tempting to wonder whether they saw themselves drifting into less exciting areas at this point, or whether they just wanted to do something different. But on balance, Interior Design isn’t bad; it’s just not all great either – but it’s worth hearing as an interesting chapter in Sparks‘ history, and it does have its moments.

There is supposedly a 2008 CD reissue of Interior Design, but I’ve never seen a copy – your best bet is to just dive in with the digital release, available here.

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NME Awards – 2004-2006

I’ve split the more recent years of the NME Awards out into multiple posts, as there’s a lot more to say about them. So here’s 2004-2006:

NME Awards 2004

Hosted on 12 Feb 2004, by Vernon Kay.

  • Best Video: Radiohead, for There There. Also nominated: Radiohead, for There ThereThe Darkness, for I Believe in a Thing Called LoveThe White Stripes, for The Hardest Button To ButtonMuse, for Time is Running Out
  • Best Album: Radiohead, for Hail to the Thief. Also nominated: The White Stripes, for ElephantMuse, for AbsolutionThe DarknessThe Strokes
  • Best New Band: Kings of Leon
  • Best International Band: Kings of Leon. Also nominated: The White Stripes
  • Living Legend: Arthur Lee
  • Best Live Band: Queens of the Stone Age. Nominated: RadioheadMuse
  • Best UK Band: The Libertines. Nominated: RadioheadQueens of the Stone AgeMuse
  • Best Single: The White Stripes, for Seven Nation Army. Also nominated: Radiohead, for There ThereThe Darkness, for I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  • Best Solo Artist: Ryan Adams
  • Worst Single: Fast Food Rockers, for Fast Food Song
  • Most Missed: Johnny Cash
  • Best Website: NME.com
  • Hero of the Year: Pete Doherty
  • Villainof the Year: George H. W. Bush
  • Fight of the Year : Jack White vs Jason von Bondie
  • Waster of the Year: Pete Doherty
  • Sexiest Man: Har Mar Superstar
  • Sexiest Woman: Brody Dalle
  • Best Haircut: Caleb Followill
  • Best Live Venue: Brixton Academy
  • Best Album Artwork: Radiohead, for Hail to the Thief
  • Best TV Show: The Office
  • Best Film: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • The Fuck Me! Award For Innovation: Dizzee Rascal

Shockwaves NME Awards 2005

Host: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

  • Best Radio Show: Zane Lowe. Also nominated: Steve LamacqChris MoylesColin Murray and Edith BowmanChristian O’Connell
  • Best Solo Artist: Graham Coxon. Also nominated: Ian BrownEminemMorrisseyThe Streets
  • Best Live Band: Muse. Also nominated: BabyshamblesFranz FerdinandThe LibertinesRazorlight
  • Best Track: Franz Ferdinand, for Take Me Out. Also nominated: The Libertines, for Can’t Stand Me NowRazorlight, for Golden TouchThe Streets, for Dry Your EyesU2, for Vertigo
  • Best Music DVD: Oasis, for Definitely Maybe. Also nominated: Nirvana, for With the Lights OutPixies, for PixiesScissor Sisters, for We are Scissor Sisters and So Are YouThe White Stripes, for Live Under Blackpool Lights
  • Philip Hall Radar Award: Kaiser Chiefs
  • Best TV Show: Little Britain
  • Best International Band: The Killers. Also nominated: Kings of LeonScissor SistersThe StrokesU2
  • Best New Band: Razorlight. Also nominated: BabyshamblesBloc PartyKasabianThe Killers
  • Best Video: Green Day, for American Idiot. Also nominated: Beastie Boys, for Triple TroubleEminem, for MoshFranz Ferdinand, for Take Me OutThe Streets, for Fit But You Know It
  • Special Award for Lifelong Service to Music: John Peel
  • John Peel Award for Musical Innovation: The Others
  • Best Film: Shaun of the Dead
  • Best Album: Franz Ferdinand, for Franz Ferdinand. Also nominated: Green Day, for American IdiotThe Libertines, for The LibertinesScissor Sisters, for Scissor SistersThe Streets, for A Grand Don’t Come for Free
  • Best Live Event: Glastonbury
  • Best British Band: The Libertines. Also nominated: KasabianFranz FerdinandMuseSnow Patrol
  • Godlike Genius Award: New Order & Joy Division
  • Best Dressed: Brandon Flowers, of The Killers
  • Worst Dressed: Jonathan Ross
  • Best Live Venue: London Carling Brixton Academy
  • Best Website: NME.com
  • Hero of the Year: John Peel
  • Sexiest Man: Brandon Flowers
  • Sexiest Woman: Barbara Knox
  • Worst Album: Insane Clown Posse, for Carnival of Carnage
  • Worst Band: Insane Clown Posse

Shockwaves NME Awards 2006

Host: Russell Brand

  • Best New Band: Arctic Monkeys. Also nominated: Editors, Magic NumbersMaximo ParkWe Are Scientists
  • Best Video: Oasis, for The Importance of Being Idle. Also nominated: Franz Ferdinand, for Do You Want ToGorillaz, for DareKaiser Chiefs, for I Predict a RiotThe Strokes, for Juicebox
  • Best International Band: The Strokes. Also nominated: Arcade FireGreen DayThe KillersFoo Fighters
  • Best TV Show: Gonzo. Also nominated: Little BritainLostThe Mighty BooshPeep Show
  • Best Solo Artist: Kanye West. Also nominated: Antony and the JohnsonsRichard AshcroftIan BrownGraham Coxon
  • Philip Hall Radar Award: The Long Blondes
  • Best Radio Show: Zane Lowe. Also nominated:, Steve LamacqChris MoylesLauren LaverneColin Murray and Edith Bowman
  • Best Event: Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals. Also nominated: Glastonbury, Live8, T in the Park, V Festival
  • Best Live Band: Franz Ferdinand. Also nominated: Arctic MonkeysGreen DayKaiser ChiefsOasis
  • Best Music DVD: Live 8. Also nominated: Dig!Green Day, for Bullet in a BibleKaiser Chiefs, for EnjoymentMorrissey, for Who Put the M in Manchester
  • Best Film: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Also nominated: Batman BeginsCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryKing KongSin City
  • John Peel Music Innovation Award: Gorillaz
  • Best Track: Arctic Monkeys, for I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Also nominated: Babyshambles, for Fuck ForeverFranz Ferdinand, for Do You Want ToKaiser Chiefs, for I Predict a RiotOasis, for The Importance of Being Idle
  • Best Album: Kaiser Chiefs, for Employment. Also nominated: Babyshambles, for Down in AlbionBloc Party, for Silent AlarmFranz Ferdinand, for You Could Have it So Much BetterOasis, for Don’t Believe the Truth
  • Best British Band: Arctic Monkeys. Also nominated: Bloc PartyKaiser ChiefsFranz FerdinandOasis
  • Godlike Genius Award: Ian Brown
  • Best Website: NME.com. Also nominated: Kaiser Chiefs, MySpace.com, OasisWe Are Scientists
  • Best Venue: London Brixton Carling Academy. Also nominated: Glasgow Barrowlands, London Astoria, London KOKO, Manchester Apollo
  • Hero of the Year: Bob Geldof. Also nominated: Carl BarâtPete DohertyLiam GallagherAlex Turner
  • Villain of the Year: George W. Bush. Also nominated: Tony BlairJames BluntPete DohertyJustin Hawkins
  • Best Dressed: Ricky Wilson. Also nominated: Pete DohertyBrandon FlowersLiam GallagherAlex Kapranos
  • Worst Dressed: Justin Hawkins. Also nominated: Pete DohertyChris MartinJack WhiteRobbie Williams
  • Worst Album: James Blunt, for Back to Bedlam. Also nominated: Babyshambles, for Down in AlbionThe Bravery, for The BraveryThe Darkness, for One Way Ticket to Hell… And BackMcFly, for Wonderland
  • Worst Band: Son of Dork. Also nominated: BabyshamblesColdplayThe DarknessMcFly
  • Sexiest Man: Pete Doherty
  • Sexiest Woman: Madonna

See also

Edited 12 June 2018 – added some winners

NME Awards – 2000-2003

The 2000s was, of course, the decade when nothing could be achieved without a heavy dose of corporate sponsorship, so the NME Awards flitted from Carling to Shockwave and the awards all gained individual sponsors. Let’s take a look at the first half of that decade.

NME Premier Awards 2000

Hosted at the Mermaid Theatre in London on 1 February 2000, by Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs.

  • Philip Hall On Award: Terris
  • Live Act of the Year: Mogwai
  • Best Live Act: Super Furry Animals
  • On the Decks Award for Dance Act of the Year: Death in Vegas
  • Carling Premier Best New Artist: Muse
  • Breezeblack Mix of 1999: Junior Carter
  • Best Solo Artist: Beck
  • Best Album Ever: The Stone Roses, for The Stone Roses
  • Best Single Ever: Nirvana, for Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Total Genius Of The Year: Ali G
  • Greatest Musical Event Ever: Woodstock
  • Best Radio Show: Radio 1 Evening Session
  • Carling Premier Best LP: The Flaming Lips, for The Soft Bulletin
  • NME Album of the Year: The Flaming Lips, for The Soft Bulletin
  • NME Single of the Year: Aphex Twin, for Windowlicker
  • Best TV Show: The Royle Family
  • Musical Event of the Year: Glastonbury
  • Best Venue: Brixton Academy
  • Dickhead of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Best Website: NME
  • Worst Record Of The Year: The Vengaboys, for We’re Going to Ibiza
  • Best Film: The Blair Witch Project
  • Best DJ: Fatboy Slim
  • NME.COM Award for Best NME Premier Show Performance: Ooberman
  • Best Dance Act: The Chemical Brothers
  • Best Music Video: Blur, for Coffee and TV
  • Best Band: Blur
  • Best Single: Blur, for Tender
  • Best Band Ever: The Beatles
  • Godlike Genius Award for Services to Music: Shaun Ryder
  • Radio 1 Evening Session Session of the Year: Supergrass
  • Artist of the Year: Travis

NME Awards 2001

Hosted at Planit Arches, London, on 6 February 2001, by Peter Kay.

  • Best Band: Radiohead. Also nominated: ColdplayOasisPrimal ScreamU2
  • Best Dance Act: Fatboy Slim. Also nominated: Artful DodgerMobySoniqueUnderworld
  • Best Radio Show: Steve LamacqThe Evening Session. Also nominated: Mark Radcliffe and Lard (Mark Riley), Chris MoylesJohn PeelDreem Team
  • Best Metal Act: Marilyn Manson. Also nominated: At the Drive-InLimp BizkitQueens of the Stone AgeSlipknot
  • Best Club DJ: Carl Cox. Also nominated: Fatboy SlimDavid HolmesJudge JulesPaul Oakenfold
  • Radio 1 Evening Session of the Year: Coldplay
  • Best New Artist: Coldplay. Also nominated: At the Drive-InBadly Drawn BoyDovesJJ72
  • Best Single: Coldplay, for Yellow. Also nominated: Blur, for Music is My RadarEminem, for StanLimp Bizkit, for Take a Look AroundOasis, for Go Let it Out
  • NME Carling Awards Tour Award: Amen / JJ72 / Alfie
  • Best Rock Act: U2. Also nominated: OasisManic Street PreachersAC/DCThe Beatles
  • Hero of the Year: Liam Gallagher
  • Godlike Genius: U2
  • Best Hip Hop/Rap Act (presented by Run DMC): Eminem. Also nominated: Cypress HillDr. DreOutkastWu-Tang Clan
  • Villain of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Philip Hall Award – Brightest Hope for 2001: Starsailor
  • Best Pop Act: All Saints. Also nominated: FiveMadonnaS Club 7Britney Spears
  • Best Club: Cream. Also nominated: Fabric, Gatecrasher, Home, Rock City
  • Best Album: Primal Scream, for XTRMNTR. Also nominated: Badly Drawn Boy, for The Hour of BewilderbeastColdplay, for ParachutesEminem, for The Marshall Mathers LPRadiohead, for Kid A
  • Best R&B/Soul Act: Kelis. Also nominated: Craig DavidDestiny’s ChildMacy GraySugababes
  • Best Solo Artist: Badly Drawn Boy
  • Best Film: Gladiator
  • Musical Event of the Year: Carling Weekend Reading and Leeds. Also nominated: Glastonbury, OasisRadiohead, T in the Park
  • NME.com Fans Award for Best Live Act: Moby
  • Best TV Programme: The League of Gentlemen. Also nominated: The Royle FamilyThe SimpsonsTrigger Happy TVThe Sopranos

NME Carling Awards 2002

Hosted at Planit Arches, London, on 25 February 2002, by Zane Lowe.

  • Best New Act: The Strokes. Also nominated: Gorillaz, Linkin Park, Starsailor, The White Stripes
  • Band of the Year: The Strokes. Also nominated: The CharlatansRadioheadU2The White Stripes
  • Album of the Year: The Strokes, for Is This It. Also nominated: The Charlatans, for WonderlandMuse, for Origins of SymmetryRadiohead, for AmnesiacSlipknot, for Iowa
  • Best Pop Act: Kylie Minogue. Also nominated: Britney SpearsMadonnaS Club 7Robbie Williams
  • Best Solo Artist: Ian Brown. Also nominated: Ryan AdamsPJ HarveyKylie MinogueAndrew WK
  • Best Music Video: Radiohead, for Pyramid Song. Also nominated: Basement Jaxx, for Where’s Your Head AtFatboy Slim, for Weapon of ChoiceGorillaz, for Clint EastwoodU2, for Elevation
  • Best Live Act: U2. Also nominated: Ash, Linkin Park, Muse, Radiohead
  • Outstanding Contribution to NME: The Charlatans
  • Best Radio 1 Session: The Charlatans
  • Best Heavy Metal Group: Lostprophets. Also nominated: Andrew WKLinkin ParkSlipknotSystem of a Down
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: Lostprophets
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: Andrew WK
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: The Coral
  • Philip Hall On Award: The Coral
  • Best Radio Show: The Evening Session
  • Best Hip-Hop/Rap Act: Missy Elliott. Also nominated: Bubba SparxxEminemD12OutkastRoots Manuva
  • Best R&B/Soul Act: Aaliyah. Also nominated: Alicia KeysCraig DavidDestiny’s ChildSo Solid Crew
  • Best Dance Act: Basement Jaxx. Also nominated: The AvalanchesAphex TwinDaft PunkFatboy Slim
  • Best TV Show: The Office. Also nominated: JackassLater with Jools HollandThe SimpsonsThe Sopranos
  • Best Film: Moulin Rouge. Also nominated: American Pie 2Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingShrek
  • Godlike Genius Award: Nick Kent and Pennie Smith
  • Best Single: Ash, for Burn Baby Burn. Also nominated: Ian Brown, for FearDandy Warhols, for Bohemian Like YouGorillaz, for Clint EastwoodKylie Minogue, for Can’t Get You Out of My Head, and The Strokes, for Hard to Explain

NME Carling Awards 2003

Hosted at Hammersmith Palais, London, 13 February 2003, by Bill Bailey.

  • Best Album: Coldplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Album of the Year: Coldplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • NME Artist of the Year: Oasis. Also nominated: Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubColdplayEminemPinkThe Vines
  • Best UK Band: Oasis
  • Best New Band: The Libertines
  • Best Live Band: The Datsuns. Also nominated: The HivesMuseOasisThe Polyphonic SpreeThe Vines
  • Best Radio Show: Steve Lamacq (The Evening SessionLamacq Live). Also nominated: Chris MoylesMary Anne Hobbs (The Breezeblock), Gary CrowleyMark Radcliffe and Lard (Mark Riley), John Peel
  • Greatest Music Moment of the Year: Ozzfest. Also nominated: Oasis at Finsbury Park, Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, T in the Park, V2002
  • Best Single: The Vines, for Get Free. Also nominated: Foo Fighters, for All My LifeQueens of the Stone Age, for No One KnowsDoves, for There Goes the FearColdplay, for The ScientistAsh, for Envy
  • Single of the Year: Doves, for There Goes the Fear
  • Best International Band: The Hives
  • The Fuck Me! Award For Innovation: The Polyphonic Spree
  • Philip Hall Radar Award: Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Also nominated: JetThe KillsKings of LeonThe ThrillsThe Warlocks
  • Best International Band: The Hives. Also nominated: Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubFoo FightersThe VinesThe White Stripes
  • Best Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, for Whatever Happened To My Rock And Roll (Punk Song)
  • Best Solo Artist: Ryan Adams. Also nominated: EminemAvril LavigneMs. Dynamite, PinkThe Streets
  • Hero of the Year: Ozzy Osbourne. Also nominated: Graham CoxonLiam GallagherDave GrohlChris MartinCraig Nicholls
  • Hottest Woman: Avril Lavigne. Also nominated: Karen OCharlotte HatherleyChristina AguileraMegan Martha WhiteKylie Minogue
  • Hottest Man: Chris Martin. Also nominated: Liam GallagherFabrizio MorettiCraig NichollsDave GrohlJulian Casablancas
  • Best TV Show: The Osbournes. Also nominated: The OfficeJackassGonzoI’m Alan PartridgePhoenix Nights
  • Best Live Venue: London Astoria. Also nominated: Brixton Academy, Barrowland Ballroom, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Rock City, O2 Academy Birmingham
  • Best Haircut: Liam Gallagher. Also nominated: Didz HammondCraig NichollsDave GrohlFabrizio MorettiJack White
  • Best Dressed: The Hives
  • Best Website: NME. OasisFoo FightersBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club, Popbitch
  • Event of the Year: Reading and Leeds Festivals
  • Villain of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Worst Album: Robbie Williams, for Escapology, Gareth Gates, for What My Heart Wants to SayThe Streets, for Original Pirate MaterialThe Vines, for Highly EvolvedWestlife, for UnbreakableColdplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Worst Single: Robbie Williams – ‘Feel’
  • Worst Band: Nickelback. Also nominated: S Club JuniorsWestlifeStereophonicsAtomic KittenBlue
  • Worst Haircut: Jack Osbourne. Also nominated: Gareth GatesKelly OsbourneKelly JonesPinkChad Kroeger
  • Worst Dressed: Christina Aguilera

See also

Stowaway Heroes – William Orbit

For a while, William Orbit just seemed to be everywhere. Comfortably among the most influential producers worldwide, he was working with MadonnaAll SaintsPet Shop Boys, and many more.

His career started out with the trio Torch Song, who saw heavy underground success in the mid-1980s. In 1993, they reappeared with a final album Toward the Unknown Region, which included the brilliant Shine on Me:

He famously launched Beth Orton‘s career with this, the sublime Water from a Vine Leaf:

But this was the moment where he really became a household name – in 1995, he recorded Pieces in a Modern Style, which was briefly released and then quickly pulled due to copyright issues. Five years later, it reappeared, heralded by this brilliant Ferry Corsten remix of Samuel Barber‘s Adagio for Strings:

So let’s give respect where it’s due, to the brilliant stowaway hero William Orbit.

Retro chart for stowaways – 24 January 2004

Here are the top ten singles from fourteen years ago this week:

  1. Liberty X – Everybody Cries
  2. Sugababes – Too Lost in You
  3. Pet Shop Boys – Miracles
  4. Girls Aloud – Jump
  5. Martin L. Gore – Loverman
  6. Madonna – Love Profusion
  7. Goldfrapp – Twist
  8. Dave Gahan – Bottle Living
  9. Kylie Minogue – Slow
  10. Sugababes – Hole in the Head

NME Poll Winners 1952-1992 (Part One)

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that we’ve spent the last few weeks working through the history of the NME Polls, from 1952 to 1992. It’s a long and complicated history, and one that pretty much encapsulates the first forty years of modern popular music in the UK. So as a side-step, it’s worth taking a couple of posts to look at them, award by award.

With such a complex history, it’s hard to trace the winners of a particular category through time, so I’ve taken a few liberties here. Essentially anything that seems to be roughly the same category has been treated as the same thing. Also, for the year ranges, there are a few missing years here and there, so for instance 1967-1970 could mean anything between 2 and 3 wins, but it definitely isn’t 4, as we have no information for the poll results from 1969, or even any meaningful confirmation that the poll took place.

Best and Worst Single, Video and Album Categories

Here are all the winners for specific singles, videos, and albums, including the wonderful “Best Dressed Album” (later “Best Dressed Sleeve”) award.

Best British Disc / Single

  • 1959 – Cliff Richard – Living Doll
  • 1960 – The Shadows – Apache
  • 1961 – John Leyton – Johnny Remember Me
  • 1962 – Frank Ifield – I Remember You
  • 1963 – The Beatles – She Loves You
  • 1964 – The Animals – The House of the Rising Sun
  • 1965 – The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • 1966 – The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
  • 1968 – The Beatles – Hey Jude
  • 1971 – Mungo Jerry – In the Summertime
  • 1972 – George Harrison – My Sweet Lord
  • 1973 – Golden Earring – Radar Love (World) & The Who – 5.15 (British)
  • 1975 – Bad Company – Can’t Get Enough
  • 1976 – Thin Lizzy – The Boys are Back in Town
  • 1977 – Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen
  • 1978 – The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  • 1979 – The Specials – Gangsters
  • 1980 – The Jam – Going Underground
  • 1981 – The Specials – Ghost Town
  • 1982 – The Jam – Town Called Malice
  • 1983 – New Order – Blue Monday
  • 1984 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
  • 1985 – The Jesus and Mary Chain – Never Understand
  • 1986 – The Smiths – Panic
  • 1987 – Prince – Sign O The Times
  • 1988 – The House of Love – Destroy the Heart
  • 1989 – The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold
  • 1990 – The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
  • 1991 – Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • 1992 – Suede – The Drowners

Best Dance Record

  • 1982 – Wham! – Young Guns (Go for It)
  • 1986 – Cameo – Word Up
  • 1987 – M/A/R/R/S – Pump Up the Volume
  • 1989 – Happy Mondays – WFL

Worst Record

  • 1991 – Bryan Adams – Everything I Do (I Do It for You)
  • 1992 – The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode

Best Music Video

  • 1982 – Madness – House of Fun
  • 1983 – Michael Jackson – Thriller
  • 1984 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes
  • 1985 – Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere

Best Long Player / Album

  • 1971 – The Beatles – Let it Be
  • 1972 – T. Rex – Electric Warrior & John Lennon – Imagine (tie)
  • 1973 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  • 1975 – Rod Stewart – Smiler
  • 1976 – Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same
  • 1977 – Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks
  • 1978 – The Jam – All Mod Cons
  • 1979 – The Jam – Setting Sons
  • 1980 – The Jam – Sound Affects
  • 1981 – Echo and the Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here
  • 1982 – The Jam – The Gift
  • 1983 – Elvis Costello – Punch the Clock
  • 1984 – Cocteau Twins – Treasure
  • 1985 – The Smiths – Meat is Murder
  • 1986 – The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
  • 1987 – The Smiths – Strangeways Here We Come
  • 1988 – R.E.M. – Green
  • 1989 – The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
  • 1990 – Happy Mondays – Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches
  • 1991 – Primal Scream – Screamadelica
  • 1992 – R.E.M. – Automatic for the People

Best Dressed Album / Sleeve

  • 1973 – Yes – Yessongs
  • 1975 – Yes – Relayer
  • 1976 – Led Zeppelin – The Song Remains the Same
  • 1978 – The Rolling Stones – Some Girls
  • 1980 – The Jam – Sound Affects
  • 1981 – Echo and the Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here
  • 1982 – Siouxsie and the Banshees – A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
  • 1983 – New Order – Power, Corruption and Lies
  • 1984 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome
  • 1985 – The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy and the Lash

Media Categories

The group of media awards, for radio, TV, films, and venues, are particularly fascinating, since other award ceremonies rarely have anything like this.

Best Disc Jockey

  • 1955-1957 – Jack Jackson
  • 1958-1959 – Pete Murray
  • 1960-1963 – David Jacobs
  • 1965-1972 – Jimmy Savile
  • 1973 – John Peel
  • 1975 – Noel Edmonds
  • 1976-1980 – John Peel

Best Music Radio Show

  • 1975-1976 – Alan Freeman
  • 1977-1992 – John Peel

Best TV Show

  • 1965-1972 – Top of the Pops
  • 1973-1977 – The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • 1978 – Revolver
  • 1979 – Fawlty Towers
  • 1980 – Not the Nine O’Clock News
  • 1981 – Coronation Street
  • 1982 – The Young Ones
  • 1983-1984 – The Tube
  • 1985 – The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • 1986 – The Singing Detective
  • 1987-1988 – Brookside
  • 1989 – Blackadder
  • 1990-1991 – Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out
  • 1992 – Have I Got News for You

Best Film

  • 1978 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • 1979 – Quadrophenia
  • 1980 – The Elephant Man
  • 1981 – Gregory’s Girl
  • 1982 – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • 1983 – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
  • 1984 – Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • 1985 – Letter to Brezhnev
  • 1986 – Mona Lisa
  • 1987 – Angel Heart
  • 1988 – A Fish Called Wanda
  • 1989 – Dead Poets’ Society
  • 1990 – Wild at Heart
  • 1991 – The Silence of the Lambs
  • 1992 – Wayne’s World

Best Club / Venue

  • 1986 – Town and Country Club
  • 1989 – The Haçienda
  • 1990-1992 – Town and Country Club

Best Fashion Item

  • 1989 – Flares
  • 1990-1992 – Dr. Marten Boots

People Categories

In later years, the poll included some odd nominations for people, often outside of the world of music, which provide an interesting window on the past.

Most Wonderful Human Being

  • 1976-1977 – Johnny Rotten
  • 1978 – Sid Vicious
  • 1979 – John Peel
  • 1980-1983 – Paul Weller
  • 1984 – Arthur Scargill
  • 1985 – Bob Geldof
  • 1986-1988 – Morrissey

Klutz/Prat/Creep/Bastard of the Year

  • 1975 – Steve Harley
  • 1977 – Freddie Mercury
  • 1978 – John Travolta
  • 1979 – Gary Numan
  • 1980 – Margaret Thatcher
  • 1981 – Adam Ant
  • 1982-1989 – Margaret Thatcher
  • 1990-1991 – Saddam Hussein
  • 1992 – John Major

Best Dressed Male

  • 1979 – Gary Numan
  • 1980 – Adam Ant
  • 1981 – Michael Foot
  • 1982 – Paul Weller
  • 1983 – David Bowie
  • 1984 – Paul Weller
  • 1985 – Morrissey

Best Dressed Female

  • 1982-1983 – Siouxsie Sioux

Worst Dressed Person

  • 1985 – Bob Geldof

Most missed Dead Person

  • 1976 – Jimi Hendrix
  • 1981 – John Lennon

Political and Real World Categories

These are some of the oddest categories – I’m honestly not sure what the “Hype of the Year” category was all about, but it is interesting to see just what was catching people’s eyes at the time.

Event of the Year

  • 1977 – Death of Elvis Presley
  • 1980 – Death of John Lennon
  • 1982 – The Jam Split
  • 1986 – 1986 FIFA World Cup
  • 1987 – Nuclear Agreement
  • 1988 – Nelson Mandela’s Birthday Bash
  • 1989 – Revolution in Eastern Europe
  • 1990 – Margaret Thatcher’s Resignation
  • 1991 – The release of the hostages
  • 1992 – Bill Clinton winning the US election

Pin-Up/Sex SYmbol/Object of Desire

  • 1978 – Debbie Harry
  • 1986 – Joanne Whalley
  • 1988-1989 – Wendy James
  • 1990 – Betty Boo
  • 1991-1992 – Toni Halliday

Bad News of the Year

  • 1987 – Another Conservative Victory at the General Election
  • 1988 – US Election Result

Hype of the Year

  • 1985 – The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • 1989 – Batman
  • 1990 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • 1992 – Madonna – Sex

That concludes part one of the summary of NME Poll Winners. Next week, we’ll look at the artist categories.

NME Poll Winners – The 1990s

For the first half of the 1990s, the NME Poll continued as a quiet annual newspaper poll, focusing very strongly now on indie rock, and ignoring pretty much everything else that was going on in the world of music. But then, in 1994, it suddenly went public, relaunching an annual awards ceremony, The NME Brat Awards. More on that later, so for now, here are the last three years of poll results:

NME Readers’ Poll 1990

  • Best Single: The Charlatans, for The Only One I Know
  • Best LP: Happy Mondays, for Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches
  • Best New Band/Artist: The Charlatans
  • Best Band: Happy Mondays
  • Event of the Year: Margaret Thatcher‘s Resignation
  • Solo Artist: Morrissey
  • Radio Show: John Peel
  • TV Show: Vic Reeves‘ Big Night Out
  • Film of the Year: Wild at Heart
  • Club or Venue: Town and Country Club
  • Hype of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Fashion Item of the Year: DM Boots
  • Bastard of the Year: Saddam Hussein
  • Object of Desire: Betty Boo
  • Word/Phrase: ‘You wouldn’t let it lie!”

NME Readers’ Poll 1991

  • Best Band: R.E.M.
  • Best LP: Primal Scream, for Screamadelica
  • Best Single: Nirvana, for Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Best New Band: Kingmaker
  • Best Venue: Town and Country Club
  • Best Solo Artist: Morrissey
  • Bastard of the Year: Saddam Hussein
  • Film of the Year: The Silence of the Lambs
  • Radio Show of the Year: John Peel
  • Fashion Item: DM Boots
  • Event of the Year: The release of the hostages
  • Object of Desire: Toni Halliday
  • TV Show: Vic Reeves‘ Big Night Out
  • Worst Record: Bryan Adams, for (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
  • Word/Phrase: “You fat bastard”

NME Readers’ Poll 1992

  • Best Band: R.E.M.
  • Best Album: R.E.M., for Automatic for the People
  • Solo Artist: Morrissey
  • Venue: Town and Country Club
  • Single: Suede, for The Drowners
  • Worst Record: The Shamen, for Ebeneezer Goode
  • New Band: Suede
  • Event: Bill Clinton winning the US election
  • Fashion Item: Dr. Martens
  • Bastard of the Year: John Major
  • Hype of the Year: Madonna, for Sex
  • TV Show of the Year: Have I Got News for You
  • Word/Phrase of the Year: “Not!”
  • Film of the Year: Wayne’s World
  • Radio Show of the Year: John Peel
  • Object of Desire: Toni Halliday

See also