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

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The BRIT Awards 2007

Earls Court in London was the venue for the 2007 BRIT Awards, with Russell Brand hosting the first live broadcast since the disastrous 1989 ceremony. Voiceovers came from Tom Baker.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2006 ceremony here, and the 2008 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Sean Bean. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – Alright, Still
  • Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
  • Snow Patrol – Eyes Open
  • Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

Best British Single

Presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen – Smile
  • Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On
  • The Feeling – Fill My Little World
  • The Kooks – She Moves in Her Own Way
  • Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This
  • James Morrison – You Give Me Something
  • Razorlight – America
  • Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
  • Take That – Patience
  • Sandi Thom – I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker
  • Will Young – All Time Love

Five nominees were decided by commercial radio hit40uk and The A List listeners, and the winner was then chosen by the radio and TV viewing audience live on the night. According to Wikipedia, Corinne Bailey RaeThe Kooks and Sandi Thom were eliminated in the first round, and Lily AllenLeona Lewis and James Morrison dropped out in the second, leaving the following nominees on the night:

  • The Feeling – Fill My Little World
  • Razorlight – America
  • Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
  • Take That – Patience
  • Will Young – All Time Love

Winner: Take That

Best British Male

Presented by Joss Stone. Nominees:

  • Jarvis Cocker
  • Lemar
  • James Morrison
  • Paolo Nutini
  • Thom Yorke

Winner: James Morrison

Best British Female

Presented by Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Jamelia
  • Nerina Pallot
  • Amy Winehouse

Winner: Amy Winehouse

Best British Group

Presented by Anthony Head. Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Kasabian
  • Muse
  • Razorlight
  • Snow Patrol

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

Best British Breakthrough Act

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Jarvis Cocker. Nominees:

  • Lily Allen
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • The Fratellis
  • The Kooks
  • James Morrison

Winner: The Fratellis

Best British Live Act

The nominees were chosen by a panel of experts in association with The Live Music Forum, and the winner was chosen by BBC Radio 2 listeners. Presented by Keith Allen. Nominees:

  • Guillemots
  • Kasabian
  • George Michael
  • Muse
  • Robbie Williams

Winner: Muse

Best International Album

Presented by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Nominees:

  • Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
  • Bob Dylan – Modern Times
  • The Killers – Sam’s Town
  • Scissor Sisters – Ta-Dah
  • Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds

Winner: The Killers

Best International Male

Presented by Erin O’Connor and Roland Mouret. Nominees:

  • Beck
  • Bob Dylan
  • Jack Johnson
  • Damien Rice
  • Justin Timberlake

Winner: Justin Timberlake

Best International Female

Presented by Ricky Wilson. Nominees:

  • Christina Aguilera
  • Beyoncé
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Pink
  • Cat Power

Winner: Nelly Furtado

Best International Group

Presented by the obvious combination of Aerosmith‘s Steve Tyler and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Nominees:

  • Gnarls Barkley
  • The Flaming Lips
  • The Killers
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Scissor Sisters

Winner: The Killers

Best International Breakthrough Act

Voted for by MTV Spanking New Music viewers, and presented by Toni Collette. Nominees:

  • Gnarls Barkley
  • Ray Lamontagne
  • Orson
  • The Raconteurs
  • Wolfmother

Winner: Orson

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Russell Brand.

Winner: Oasis

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 2005

On 9th February 2005, Chris Evans hosted what was billed as the 25th anniversary BRIT Awards show (history seems to prefer to pretend that the first show was in 1981, rather than 1977). The venue was Earls Court in London, and an average of 6.3 million people watched the coverage the following day on ITV.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2004 ceremony here, and the 2006 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Clive Owen. Nominees:

  • Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  • Keane – Hopes and Fears
  • Muse – Absolution
  • Snow Patrol – Final Straw
  • The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free

Winner: Keane

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of independent radio, and presented by Minnie Driver. Nominees:

  • Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
  • Jamelia – Thank You
  • LMC vs. U2 – Take Me to the Clouds Above
  • Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme
  • Will Young – Your Game

Winner: Will Young

Best British Male

Presented by Naomi Harris. Nominees:

  • Jamie Cullum
  • Lemar
  • Morrissey
  • The Streets
  • Will Young

Winner: The Streets

Best British Female

Presented by Lisa Stansfield. Nominees:

  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Jamelia
  • PJ Harvey
  • Joss Stone
  • Amy Winehouse

Winner: Joss Stone

Best British Group

Presented by Sharon and Kelly Osbourne. Nominees:

  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Kasabian
  • Keane
  • Muse
  • Snow Patrol

Winner: Franz Ferdinand

Best British Breakthrough Act

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Keane
  • Joss Stone
  • The Zutons

Winner: Keane

Best British Rock Act

Voted for by viewers of Kerrang TV, and presented by Brian May. Nominees:

  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Kasabian
  • The Libertines
  • Muse
  • Snow Patrol

Winner: Franz Ferdinand

Best British Urban Act

Voted for by viewers of MTV Base, and presented by Jazzy B. Nominees:

  • Dizzee Rascal
  • Jamelia
  • Lemar
  • Joss Stone
  • The Streets

Winner: Joss Stone

Best British Live Act

Voted for by The Live Music Forum, and presented by Shirley Manson from Garbage. Nominees:

  • Jamie Cullum
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Kasabian
  • The Libertines
  • Muse

Winner: Muse

Best Pop Act

Voted for by viewers of CD:UK and readers of The Sun, and presented by Jodie Kidd. Nominees:

  • Natasha Bedingfield
  • Girls Aloud
  • Avril Lavigne
  • McFly
  • Westlife

Winner: McFly

Best International Album

Presented by Siouxsie Sioux. Nominees:

  • The Killers – Hot Fuss
  • Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
  • Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
  • Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
  • U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Winner: Scissor Sisters

Best International Male

Presented by Natalie Imbruglia. Nominees:

  • Eminem
  • Usher
  • Tom Waits
  • Kanye West
  • Brian Wilson

Winner: Eminem

Best International Female

Presented by Charlie Creed Miles. Nominees:

  • Anastacia
  • Kelis
  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Gwen Stefani

Winner: Gwen Stefani

Best International Group

Nominees:

  • Green Day
  • Maroon 5
  • Outkast
  • Scissor Sisters
  • U2

Winner: Scissor Sisters

Best International Breakthrough Act

Presented by Simon Pegg. Nominees:

  • Jet
  • The Killers
  • Maroon 5
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Kanye West

Winner: Scissor Sisters

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Presented by Jools Holland.

Winner: Bob Geldof

BRITS 25 Best Song Award

Chosen by listeners of BBC Radio 2. Presented by Matt Lucas and David Walliams in character as Mark Owen and Howard Donald from Take That respectively. Nominees:

  • ABC – The Look of Love
  • Bee Gees – Night Fever
  • David Bowie – Heroes
  • Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
  • The Clash – London Calling
  • Coldplay – Yellow
  • Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
  • David Gray – Babylon
  • The Jam – That’s Entertainment
  • Elton John – Sacrifice
  • Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • Annie Lennox – Why?
  • Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
  • George Michael – Careless Whisper
  • Oasis – Wonderwall
  • Queen – We are the Champions
  • Seal – Kiss from a Rose
  • Simply Red – Holding Back the Years
  • Spandau Ballet – True
  • Rod Stewart – I Don’t Want to Talk About it
  • Sting – Fields of Gold
  • The Stranglers – Golden Brown
  • The Streets – Dry Your Eyes
  • Robbie Williams – Angels
  • Will Young – Leave Right Now

The top five entries made it from round 1 to the final list of nominees, leaving:

  • Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
  • Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • Queen – We are the Champions
  • Robbie Williams – Angels
  • Will Young – Leave Right Now

Winner: Robbie Williams

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Mercury Music Prize 2004-2006

By 2006, speculation seemed to be mounting that somehow winning the prize was a curse, meaning you would never do anything meaningful again. Which, if you look back through the list of winners, may not be a million miles away from the truth. But then, how many artists release more than one exceptional album?

Nationwide Mercury Prize 2004

The 2004 ceremony took place on 7th September.

Nominees:

  • Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash
  • Belle and Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress
  • Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  • Jamelia – Thank You
  • Keane – Hopes and Fears
  • Snow Patrol – Final Straw
  • Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions
  • The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free
  • Ty – Upwards
  • Amy Winehouse – Frank
  • Robert Wyatt – Cuckooland
  • The Zutons – Who Killed… The Zutons?

Winner: Franz Ferdinand

Nationwide Mercury Prize 2005

The first week in September always saw the Mercury Prize ceremony during this period, and this year’s was on 6th September 2005

Nominees:

  • Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now
  • Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
  • Coldplay – X&Y
  • Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV
  • Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
  • KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope
  • M.I.A. – Arular
  • Maxïmo Park – A Certain Trigger
  • Polar Bear – Held on the Tips of Fingers
  • Seth Lakeman – Kitty Jay
  • The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike
  • The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers

Winner: Antony and the Johnsons

Nationwide Mercury Prize 2006

The award ceremony took place on 5th September 2006

Nominees:

  • Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Ballad of the Broken Seas
  • Editors – The Back Room
  • Guillemots – Through the Windowpane
  • Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
  • Hot Chip – The Warning
  • Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
  • Zoë Rahman – Melting Pot
  • Lou Rhodes – Beloved One
  • Scritti Politti – White Bread Black Beer
  • Sway – This is My Demo
  • Thom Yorke – Eraser

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

Further information

Q Awards Winners 1990-2012 (Part One)

Having worked our way through the 1990s, it’s time to come straight up to speed with a look at all of the winners of the Q Awards. There are a lot of them, so I’ve split the list into two parts…

Best Single and Video Awards

After a decade or so of only caring about albums, Q Magazine finally took an interest in singles in 1998, with videos following a couple of years later. Unlike other award ceremonies, they still care.

Best Single / Best Track

  • 1998 – Catatonia – Road Rage
  • 1999 – Travis – Why Does it Always Rain on Me?
  • 2000 – David Gray – Babylon
  • 2001 – Ash – Burn Baby Burn
  • 2002 – Sugababes – Freak Like Me
  • 2003 – Christina Aguilera – Dirrty
  • 2004 – Jamelia – See it in a Boy’s Eyes
  • 2005 – KT Tunstall – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
  • 2006 – Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  • 2007 – Manic Street Preachers – Your Love Alone is Not Enough
  • 2008 – Keane – Spiralling
  • 2009 – Lily Allen – The Fear
  • 2010 – Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love
  • 2011 – Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  • 2012 – Plan B – Ill Manors

Q Classic Song

  • 2005 – Ray Davies – Waterloo Sunset
  • 2006 – Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
  • 2007 – Stereophonics – Local Boy in the Photograph
  • 2008 – Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell
  • 2009 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
  • 2011 – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
  • 2012 – Dionne Warwick – Walk on By

Best Video

  • 2000 – Kelis – Caught Out There
  • 2001 – Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
  • 2002 – Pink – Get the Party Started
  • 2003 – Electric Six – Gay Bar
  • 2004 – Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  • 2005 – Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc
  • 2006 – The Killers – When You Were Young
  • 2007 – Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
  • 2008 – Vampire Weekend – A-Punk
  • 2009 – Lady Gaga – Just Dance
  • 2010 – Chase & Status – End Credits
  • 2011 – Jessie J – Do it Like a Dude
  • 2012 – Keane – Disconnected

Best Album Awards

The Best Album award is one of the few original awards, and seems to tend to go to the top indie album every year…

Best Album

  • 1990 – World Party – Goodbye Jumbo
  • 1991 – R.E.M. – Out of Time
  • 1992 – R.E.M. – Automatic for the People
  • 1993 – Sting – Ten Summoner’s Tales
  • 1994 – Blur – Parklife
  • 1995 – Blur – The Great Escape
  • 1996 – Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
  • 1997 – Radiohead – OK Computer
  • 1998 – Massive Attack – Mezzanine
  • 1999 – The Chemical Brothers – Surrender
  • 2000 – Coldplay – Parachutes
  • 2001 – Travis – The Invisible Band
  • 2002 – Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • 2003 – Blur – Think Tank
  • 2004 – Keane – Hopes and Fears
  • 2005 – Oasis – Don’t Believe the Truth
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • 2007 – Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  • 2008 – Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
  • 2009 – Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
  • 2010 – The National – High Violet
  • 2011 – Bon Iver – Bon Iver
  • 2012 – Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe

Best Reissue / Compilation

  • 1990 – Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
  • 1992 – Bob Marley – Songs of Freedom
  • 1993 – Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
  • 1994 – Various Artists – Tougher Than Tough
  • 1995 – Various Artists – Help
  • 1996 – The Beatles – Anthology
  • 1997 – Various Artists – The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers

classic album award

  • 2007 – The Verve – Urban Hymns
  • 2009 – U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
  • 2010 – Wings – Band on the Run
  • 2012 – Manic Street Preachers – Generation Terrorists

One-Off and Occasional Awards

Just in case there wasn’t a way to squeeze U2 into the standard award ceremony, Q have periodically added new ones especially for the Irish four-piece.

Special Award / Q Special Award

  • 1997 – Phil Spector
  • 2001 – Brian Eno
  • 2003 – Scott Walker
  • 2005 – John Lennon

Q People’s Choice Award

  • 2001 – U2
  • 2005 – Oasis
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys

Q Unwanted

  • 2002 – Simon Cowell

Q Birthday Honour

  • 2005 – Michael Eavis

Q Outstanding Performance Award

  • 2006 – Faithless

Q Award of Awards

  • 2006 – U2

Q Groundbreaker Award

  • 2006 – Primal Scream

Q Charity of the Year

  • 2006 – War on Want

Q HERO

  • 2007 – Anthony H. Wilson
  • 2010 – The Chemical Brothers
  • 2012 – Johnny Marr

Q’s Greatest Act of the Last 25 Years

  • 2011 – U2

Q Spirit of Independence

  • 2012 – The Cribs

More next week…

Various Artists – (Ahk-toong Bay-bi) Covered

Ah, Achtung Baby. An incredibly important album, or so we’re told. So important that a little under two years ago Q Magazine put together a compilation of covers entitled (Ahk-toong Bay-bi) Covered.

The original by U2 isn’t actually an album that I know, and if I’m honest I actually only tracked down this album so I could hear the Depeche Mode track. But in a way, having tracked it down, I feel I should be fair and review it in full, and so here we go. To make this a little more challenging, I’m not going to look up anything about the original album or the artists, so we’ll see where this takes us. Let’s hope I don’t say anything too stupid or rude, and there aren’t too many real U2 fans passing.

The first track is Zoo Station, covered in an industrial rock style by Nine Inch Nails. Since this genre is pretty much what U2 do, it would be interesting to know how different it is. It’s pretty pleasant, but it does drag on a bit at six and a half minutes, including a minute or two of droning feedback in the middle. I guess Zoo Station is a reference to the Zoologischer Garten railway station in the central shopping area of West Berlin.

Second is actually a remix rather than a cover – Jacques Lu Cont takes on one of the huge hits from this album Even Better Than the Real Thing, and rather wonderfully turns it into a modern rock/dance crossover track. I think it’s probably fair to say that this is the best track on this album, melding together the original elements (such as the drumming) with the more contemporary sounds.

Acoustic / folk singer Damien Rice‘s take on One is very good, full of emotion and feeling, although it does rather lack the energy of the original. Patti Smith‘s Unti the End of the World is just about listenable. I wonder what her fans thought of this? Or maybe she’s always as bad as this; I really don’t know.

Then another track where I know the original, albeit not especially well. Garbage have taken Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses, and they have turned it into a typical Garbage track. Which is all good and fine – all the ingredients are there for an excellent song. Unfortunately somewhere it slightly misses its mark – the softer verses are pleasant, but the rocky chorus doesn’t quite work somehow.

Which is symptomatic of the whole album really for me – there are lots of great artists, performing great pieces of music, and not doing a particularly great job of it. Depeche Mode suffered a lot of criticism from their fans for So Cruel, but when you listen you realise that, unfortunately, this is entirely right. From the fun growly overloaded synths at the start through to the clicking and bleeping half way through, and with Dave Gahan‘s typically powerful vocal, all the ingredients are there. The end result isn’t bad, but it just isn’t particularly memorable, in any way. As with much of this album.

The original Achtung Baby obviously took a lot of influences from Germany, but don’t take that to mean the pronunciation guide on this album is correct – Ahk-toong Bay-bi would give you an entirely erroneous impression of the name (actually I believe the album title is correctly stylised as (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered, which I suspect is closer, but I didn’t want to use that everywhere in this post as it would probably quickly start to become illegible to anyone without access to those symbols). I wonder therefore if that’s an in-joke that I’m missing.

Gavin Friday turns up next to do a really adventurous take of The Fly, full of wobbly electronic noises and creaking sounds, and successfully sounding absolutely nothing like the original but also very good at the same time. It’s another strong track, probably second only to Even Better Than the Real Thing on this collection.

Snow Patrol‘s version of the brilliant Mysterious Ways starts off pretty unpromisingly, but builds into a good track towards the end, and then just as it’s getting started it’s over already. Of course, what made the original special was the combination of all its parts, but in particular the guitar effects, of which there is no sign this time around.

Then The Fray take on Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World for one of the less notable tracks on the whole compilation, followed by The Killers doing a pleasant but largely forgettable version of Ultra Violet (Light My Way) and just in case you thought the mediocrity was become a little monotonous, Glasvegas turn up with a largely hideous take of Acrobat.

The final track sees Jack White take on Love is Blindness, again leaving something pleasant but fairly unremarkable behind him. Things get a bit more exciting as he wanders towards the crescendo at the end, but then most of the tracks on this album had something going for them.

The general theme of (Ahk-toong Bay-bi) Covered, then, is “pleasant but forgettable.” As a tribute to a great album, is this really doing its job? I’ll let you decide. At least it’s all for charity.

You can find (Ahk-toong Bay-bi) Covered on iTunes and all the normal download locations. The physical format is probably available second hand too, but of course that’s not for charity…

Thirty years of CDs

Happy birthday! The compact disc celebrates its thirtieth birthday this month, just a matter of months after CD sales were finally overtaken by downloads in the USA, and also the same month that the UK singles chart turns sixty.

The Official Charts Company (OCC) has celebrated this by compiling a chart of the top 30 UK CDs of all time, which I hope they won’t mind me reproducing here:

  1. Abba – Gold (1992)
  2. Adele – 21 (2011)
  3. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
  4. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
  5. James Blunt – Back to Bedlam (2004)
  6. Dido – No Angel (2000)
  7. Shania Twain – Come on Over (1997)
  8. Leona Lewis – Spirit (2007)
  9. The Verve – Urban Hymns (1997)
  10. David Gray – White Ladder (1998)
  11. Dido – Life for Rent (2003)
  12. The Beatles – 1 (2000)
  13. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
  14. Take That – Beautiful World (2006)
  15. Keane – Hopes and Fears (2004)
  16. Michael Bublé – Crazy Love (2009)
  17. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters (2004)
  18. The Corrs – Talk on Corners (1997)
  19. Coldplay – X&Y (2005)
  20. Travis – The Man Who (1999)
  21. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)
  22. Lady Gaga – The Fame (2008)
  23. Norah Jones – Come Away with Me (2002)
  24. Kings of Leon – Only by the Knight (2008)
  25. Robbie Williams – I’ve Been Expecting You (1998)
  26. Robbie Williams – Greatest Hits (2004)
  27. Robbie Williams – Swing When You’re Winning (2001)
  28. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
  29. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open (2006)
  30. George Michael – Ladies and Gentlemen – The Best Of (1998)

Abba Gold has sold over four million copies! There are a number of interesting things about this list actually. The first thing I noticed was the British bias – by far the vast majority are British artists, which surprised me. There’s only one album older than fifteen years on there, and also only one from the last three, which says a lot about the popularity of CDs. But then there’s Adele selling 3.6 million copies of an album which came out last year, and you realise just how much hold the humble CD still has.

More at the OCC’s website here.