Artist of the Week – Jean-Michel Jarre

Let’s have another artist of the week from my old radio show Music for the Masses now. My apologies for any unintentional plagiarism, hyperbole, or errors that may follow.

Jean-Michel Jarre was born in 1948, son of the classic film musician Maurice Jarre, who was responsible for the soundtracks to Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, among others. Jean-Michel played in various jazz groups until studying at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris in the mid-1960s.

It was in 1968, however, that he discovered, and practically invented, electronic music. After several successful musical experiments and soundtracks in the early 1970s, 1976 saw the release of the groundbreaking classic Oxygène, which would become a huge success across the world.

The follow-up Équinoxe was released in 1978, and album after followed, and over the next three decades he would be responsible for completely new styles of music and would popularise new musical techniques: for instance his 1981 album Magnetic Fields was one of the first to use sampling, something he would really explore on 1984’s Zoolook.

However, in the 1980s, he became less well known for his albums, but almost infamous for his live concerts. After playing to over a million people at the Place de la Concorde in 1979, he became the first Western musician to be allowed into China in 1981. In 1986 he set the skies of Houston and Lyon alight with the first of his impressive laser shows, repeating the spectacle in London in 1988 and Paris in 1990.

After 1991’s memorable greatest hits album Images and his 1993 studio album Chronologie, he performed his first proper tour, across Europe and also later in Hong Kong, to huge success and acclaim.

In 1997, he celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of Oxygène with “volume two”, Oxygène 7-13. Similar in style to the original, it was extremely successful, and he followed this up with his biggest tour to date.

Further live extravaganzas followed, as he celebrated the coming of the new millennium at the Pyramids in Giza, following this with the Acropolis in June 2001, and a Danish wind farm at the end of 2002.

Most recently [in 2004], to celebrate the release of his latest greatest hits album, which is still riding high on the charts, he’s just returned to Beijing for another concert extravaganza.

So, [blank space which was never filled in] albums on, with 55 million copies sold worldwide, what next? Well, legend has it he’s gone into even darker dance, and is currently working with Underworld on new material [this is an interesting statement, for which I can see no evidence].

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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