Q Awards 1990-1993

The first couple of years of the Q Awards seem to have been largely forgotten by the internet, falling into that early 90s gap before everything was reported and recorded. With this in mind, here’s everything I could find out about the first few years of the awards…

1990

The inaugural Q Awards were held in October 1990. This much is beyond dispute. Apart from that, though, it isn’t easy to find information about what actually happened.

Best Album

Winner: World Party for Goodbye Jumbo

Best Reissue / Compilation

Winner: Beach Boys for Pet Sounds

Best Live Act

Winner: Rolling Stones

Best Act in the World Today

Winner: U2

Best New Act

Winner: They Might Be Giants

Best Producer

Winner: Paul Oakenfold / Steve Osborne

Songwriter Award

Winner: Prince

Merit Award

Winner: Paul McCartney

1991

October 1991 saw the second ceremony, with the following winners:

Best album

Winner: R.E.M. for Out of Time

Best live act

Winner: Simple Minds

Best Act in the world today

Winner: R.E.M. / U2

Best new act

Winner: Seal

Best producer

Winner: Trevor Horn

Songwriter award

Winner: Richard Thompson

Merit award

Winner: Lou Reed

1992

In October 1992 the third awards ceremony took place. Here’s a picture of Brett Anderson out of Suede at the awards.

BEST ALBUM

Winner: R.E.M. for Automatic for the People

Best reissue / compilation

Winner: Bob Marley for Songs of Freedom

BEST LIVE ACT

Winner: Crowded House

BEST ACT IN THE WORLD TODAY

Winner: U2

BEST NEW ACT

Winner: Tori Amos

BEST PRODUCER

Winner: Daniel Lanois / Peter Gabriel / The Orb

SONGWRITER AWARD

Winner: Neil Finn

Q Inspiration award

Winner: B.B. King

MERIT AWARD

Winner: Led Zeppelin

1993

In October 1993 the fourth awards ceremony took place. Here’s a picture of Brett Anderson again, this time with Morrissey.

BEST ALBUM

Winner: Sting for Ten Summoner’s Tales

BEST REISSUE / COMPILATION

Winner: Beach Boys for Good Vibrations

BEST LIVE ACT

Winner: Neil Young

BEST ACT IN THE WORLD TODAY

Winner: U2

BEST NEW ACT

Winner: Suede

BEST PRODUCER

Winner: Flood / Brian Eno / The Edge

SONGWRITER AWARD

Winner: Neil Finn

Q INSPIRATION AWARD

Winner: Donald Fagen

MERIT AWARD

Winner: Elton John

Epilogue

It would probably help if I had a copy of Q Magazine to hand, so I could tell you a little more about what happened, but unfortunately all my back issues are stored away somewhere half way round the world. I’ll report back, some day in the future…

FURTHER INFORMATION

Various Artists – Electrospective

The basic way this blog works is that when I’m reviewing an album, I listen to it in full, and while doing so write what I feel about what I’m hearing. How, then, do I tackle a two-and-a-half hour long compilation? I feel the skip button may be seeing some usage on this occasion.

Electrospective is the centrepiece of a recent record company campaign to get us buying mid-price synth-based albums of which I heartily approve. The compilation is a fascinating and wonderful journey, encompassing maybe ten tracks from each of the primary decades of electronic music. But its omissions are also fascinating. Perversely, almost, it contains none of the pioneering sound of Jean Michel Jarre or Kraftwerk. The early 1980s focus rightly on OMD and The Human League, but there’s no sign of Soft Cell or Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The late 1980s largely forego the “indie dance” and trip hop movements in favour of pop and soul. But then, if you were faced with the task of compiling a forty-track journey through the history of electronic music, how would you tackle it?

Electrospective opens, as all definitive electronic compilations should, with Delia Derbyshire‘s 1963 version of Ron Grainer‘s essential Doctor Who theme. Fifty years on, in an age where literally anybody can make music with their portable telecommunications devices, it’s difficult to picture the boffins of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop slaving away generating tape samples and cutting them into exactly the right length to sync and make quite astonishing music. In a sense it’s unsurprising that they didn’t really succeed with the syncing (Derbyshire also revisited the theme in 1967 to create a rather more orderly but definitely less charming version).

Some of the other early tracks are a little odder. Roxy Music‘s Virginia Plain is, I can only assume, here to show some of the early electronic experimentation in which popular acts of the early 1970s were indulging, and it has a few nice Moog sounds in it, but frankly it’s largely tolerable at best. Even Brian Eno, introducing this album to its first taste of ambience, fails to impress particularly with Here Come the Warm Jets (1974).

The 1970s start to look a lot stronger after this, with Tangerine Dream‘s Rubycon and Can‘s brilliant I Want More before launching into another unmissable moment with The Normal‘s Warm Leatherette. The final trio of Cabaret VoltaireTelex and Simple Minds round of 1979 in less compelling fashion, and you should be clear by now that electronics is firmly planted in the world of music.

We then enter the 1980s in typically variable fashion. OMD‘s excellent Messages carries into Ultravox‘s more questionable SleepwalkThe Human League‘s astonishing The Things That Dreams are Made Of is followed by rather more questionable choices from Duran Duran and Heaven 17, and then a distinctly dodgy choice of remix for Yazoo‘s Don’t Go.

The mid-1980s are, as you might expect, rather stronger. Together in Electric Dreams is perhaps a little unnecessary, coming as it does only five tracks after the previous Human League moment, but then West End Girls mixes into Who Needs Live (Like That), and you’re definitely reminded that the eighties weren’t nearly as bad as everyone seems to suggest.

All this is not to say that this album is without its surprises. Nitzer Ebb‘s Control I’m Here is an unexpected pleasure, as is Soul II Soul‘s Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), which ends the 1980s a couple of tracks into the second disc.

The 1990s are, of course, where electronic music comes of age. A whole slew of enormous, exceptional, and very well chosen hits follow from Depeche ModeMobyThe Future Sound of LondonDaft Punk and Adam FMassive Attack turn up, as indeed they should, but here they are represented by the slightly disappointing choice of Inertia Creeps, by no means bad, but a track which surely belongs in the middle of Mezzanine rather than here?

Air‘s wonderful Kelly Watch the Stars and St. Germain‘s Rose Rouge are here to represent the rest of the late 90s French invasion, which is inevitably followed by the experimental indie of Radiohead and The Chemical Brothers.

Finally, our potted history of electronic music has brought us into the 2000s, by which time “electronic” had definitely ceased to be a label for weird experimental noises or extravagant expressionism. It had, in every imaginable way, gone mainstream. In a good way.

Goldfrapp hammer this home beautifully with the essential Strict Machine, and then Dare by Gorillaz leads us through to a string of 21st century floor fillers. Eric Prydz‘s probably Bo Selecta-inspired Proper Education with its Pink Floyd elements leads us into some less interesting tracks from David GuettaDeadmau5, and finally a total abomination by Swedish House Mafia. Not a great ending, admittedly, but a fair assessment of the journey of electronic music over the past half century.

Make no mistake – in terms of meeting its remit of compiling a handful of tracks from every decade of electronic music, this is a great release. But it’s difficult to ignore the many omissions – you can’t help but feel that perhaps a themed or era-specific compilation might tick the boxes a lot more convincingly. In the end, all you get is fleeting glimpses of particular acts and eras. All told though, for all its failings it’s a great listen, and I can’t help but recommend it.

There’s also a companion remix album, which we’ll touch on in a future week. If you’re in the US you can find Electrospective here; if you’re in the UK try here; and if you’re anywhere else then you’ll have to fend for yourself.

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

Live – Devo

Grab your flower pot hat and go and see them – whatever you may think of them, they’re absolutely brilliant live. Personally I’d hardly heard of them when I saw them at Coachella 2010, but I was very glad I went.

Devo are touring with someone called Blondie across the US in September, and supporting Simple Minds in Australia in December. Full dates are listed at Songkick. Catch ’em if you can.