Chart for stowaways – 20 February 2016

Here are the top ten singles this week:

  1. Massive Attack – Ritual Spirit EP
  2. Pet Shop Boys – Inner Sanctum
  3. Goldfrapp – Stranger
  4. Pet Shop Boys – The Pop Kids
  5. Conjure One feat. Hannah Ray – Kill the Fear
  6. New Order feat. Elly Jackson – Tutti Frutti
  7. Roísín Murphy – Exploitation
  8. Massive Attack, Tricky & 3D – Take it There
  9. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
  10. Roísín Murphy -Hairless Toys (Gotta Hurt)

Massive Attack – Blue Lines (2012 Mix / Master)

How is it possible that Blue Lines could be 21 years old already? Well, it isn’t – it’s 23 now – but even so. One of the most important albums of the 1990s, and it’s already old enough to do all the things that adults get to do.

To celebrate its coming of age, a reissue was produced – a new remastered and remixed version which perhaps isn’t entirely necessary – I don’t remember there being anything particularly wrong with the original recording. It does sound amazing, admittedly, but it’s difficult to remember the previous version sounding bad.

The packaging this time around feels like a bit of a letdown. There’s a nice card slipcase, which makes opening the package up quite exciting, but there’s no booklet whatsoever, and the credits have been inexplicably hidden behind the black CD housing so that you can’t actually read them. I suppose it’s nicely minimal though.

The track listing is exactly the same as it ever was – and what is there to say? From the opening lines of single Safe from Harm it’s dark, and thick with dreamy atmosphere and its incredible vocals from Shara Nelson, through to the lovely One Love, the first of many collaborations with Horace Andy.

Looking back, it’s quite incredible that Massive Attack should have put out such a perfect debut. By the time the album was unleashed, they just had a handful of singles to their name, and no real indications of what they might be capable of. Now of course, with Protection and Mezzanine behind them, we know they find it difficult not to be amazing, but then it must have come as a bit of a shock.

Blue Lines is the title track, and is perhaps actually the weakest track on the album, which isn’t saying a huge amount – it’s still quite exceptional. Then the exceptional Be Thankful for What You’ve Got, with vocals from Tony Bryan.

What the first album brings you is a whole lot of Tricky, such as on Five Man Army, which makes for a rather special experience – when you think of just how many legends you’re listening to simultaneously, it’s really a rather humbling experience.

Then Unfinished Sympathy kicks off. Maybe you’ve listened to it a few too many times, or maybe you don’t like the fact that it was such a huge hit single. But if you’re able to remain open minded, this is one of the finest songs ever recorded – Shara Nelson‘s brilliant vocal alongside the beautiful string samples and slightly trippy drum sounds. On this version of the album it positively shimmers.

Later tracks Daydreaming and Lately are similarly perfect – it would be impossible to be critical of more than one or two tracks on here. And finally, before you know it, you’re onto the album closer Hymn of the Big Wheel. Like all the best albums, Blue Lines is concise – it doesn’t mess around – there are just nine tracks, but every one of them comes together to build something quite perfect.

Ultimately, this updated mix and master of Blue Lines may be unnecessary – I honestly can’t ever remember having thought the original needed cleaning up – but it does sound amazing, and if nothing else it’s a worthwhile reminder that this is an album which deserves to be picked up every few months.

It’s a shame there wasn’t room somewhere to fit on Nellee Hooper‘s moving single version of Unfinished Sympathy or the beautiful b-side Home of the Whale – although neither should have ever been on the album, they would have graced a bonus disc rather nicely. But that’s just a minor niggle.

You can find the 2012 mix / master of Blue Lines through all major retailers.

The BRIT Awards 1997

Girl power and all that. Ben Elton took the reins at Earls Court on 24th February 1997.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1996 ceremony here, and the 1998 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Presented by Zoë Ball. Nominees:

  • Kula Shaker – K
  • Lighthouse Family – Ocean Drive
  • Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
  • George Michael – Older
  • Ocean Colour Scene – Moseley Shoals

Winner: Manic Street Preachers

Best British Dance Act

Presented by Samantha Fox. Nominees:

  • The Chemical Brothers
  • Jamiroquai
  • Mark Morrison
  • The Prodigy
  • Underworld

Winner: The Prodigy

Best British Female

Presented by Naomi Campbell. Nominees:

  • Dina Carroll
  • Gabrielle
  • Donna Lewis
  • Louise
  • Eddi Reader

Winner: Gabrielle

Best British Group

Presented by Colin Jackson and Vinnie Jones. Nominees:

  • Kula Shaker
  • Lightning Seeds
  • Manic Street Preachers
  • Ocean Colour Scene
  • Spice Girls

Winner: Manic Street Preachers

Best British Male

Presented by Elton John. Nominees:

  • Mick Hucknall
  • George Michael
  • Mark Morrison
  • Sting
  • Tricky

Winner: George Michael

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • Alisha’s Attic
  • Ash
  • Babybird
  • The Bluetones
  • Kula Shaker
  • Lighthouse Family
  • Longpigs
  • Mansun
  • Mark Morrison
  • Skunk Anansie
  • Space
  • Spice Girls

Winner: Kula Shaker

Best British Producer

Presented by Sharleen Spiteri from Texas. Nominees:

  • Absolute and Richard Stannard
  • Mike Hedges
  • Hugh Jones
  • John Leckie
  • Tricky

Winner: John Leckie

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of independent radio. Presented by Mrs. Merton. Nominees:

  • Babybird – You’re Gorgeous
  • Kula Shaker – Tattva
  • Lighthouse Family – Lifted
  • Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life
  • George Michael – Fastlove
  • Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
  • Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger
  • The Prodigy – Firestarter
  • Spice Girls – Wannabe
  • Underworld – Born Slippy

Winner: Spice Girls

Best British Video

Presented by Frank Skinner. Voted for by viewers of VH-1. Nominees:

  • The Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun
  • Dodgy – Good Enough
  • Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity
  • Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life
  • George Michael – Fastlove
  • Orbital – The Box
  • The Prodigy – Breathe
  • The Prodigy – Firestarter
  • Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There
  • Spice Girls – Wannabe

Winner: Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There

Best International Female

Presented by Eddie Izzard. Nominees:

  • Toni Braxton
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Celine Dion
  • Joan Osborne

Winner: Sheryl Crow

Best International Group

Presented by Lennox Lewis. Nominees:

  • Boyzone
  • The Fugees
  • The Presidents of the United States of America
  • R.E.M.
  • Smashing Pumpkins

Winner: The Fugees

Best International Male

Nominees:

  • Bryan Adams
  • Babyface
  • Beck
  • Robert Miles
  • Prince

Winner: Beck

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Gary Barlow from Take That and Louise from Eternal. Nominees:

  • Fun Lovin’ Criminals
  • Robert Miles
  • Joan Osborne
  • The Presidents of the United States of America
  • The Tony Rich Project

Winner: Robert Miles

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by Lenny Henry. Nominees:

  • Madonna / Various Artists – Evita
  • Chris Rea – La Passione
  • Various Artists – Dangerous Minds
  • Various Artists – Mission: Impossible
  • Various Artists – Trainspotting

Winner: Trainspotting

Freddie Mercury Award

Winner: Elton John for Candle in the Wind 1996

International Sales Award

Winner: Spice Girls

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Tim Rice.

Winner: Bee Gees

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

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.

Q Awards Winners 1990-2012 (Part Two)

We’ll look at this year’s ceremony next week, but for now here’s a continuation of the list that we started last week, of all the winners to date, by award:

Songwriter and Producer

Although seemingly now discontinued, these were a couple of Q’s better awards, recognising the contributions of the people behind the music.

Best Songwriter / Q Classic Songwriter

  • 1990 – Prince
  • 1991 – Richard Thompson
  • 1992 – Neil Finn
  • 1993 – Neil Finn
  • 1994 – Morrissey
  • 1995 – Van Morrison
  • 1996 – Rod Stewart
  • 1997 – Paul McCartney
  • 1998 – Paul Weller
  • 1999 – Ian Dury / Chas Janke
  • 2000 – Guy Chambers and Robbie Williams
  • 2001 – Kate Bush
  • 2002 – Jimmy Cliff
  • 2003 – Dexys Midnight Runners
  • 2004 – Elton John
  • 2005 – Nick Cave
  • 2006 – Noel Gallagher
  • 2007 – Billy Bragg
  • 2008 – John Mellencamp
  • 2009 – Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)
  • 2010 – Neil Finn
  • 2011 – Gary Barlow

Best Producer

  • 1990 – Paul Oakenfold / Steve Osborne
  • 1991 – Trevor Horn
  • 1992 – Daniel Lanois / Peter Gabriel / The Orb
  • 1993 – Flood / Brian Eno / The Edge
  • 1994 – Stephen Street
  • 1995 – Tricky
  • 1996 – John Leckie
  • 1997 – Nellee Hooper
  • 1998 – Norman Cook
  • 1999 – William Orbit
  • 2000 – Pete Devereux and Mark Hill (Artful Dodger)
  • 2001 – Nigel Godrich
  • 2002 – Moby
  • 2003 – Nigel Godrich
  • 2004 – Mick Jones
  • 2005 – Gorillaz / Danger Mouse

Best Newcomer

One thing the Q Awards do pretty well is having lots of almost identically-named awards. They do show a pretty good track record with the newcomer and breakthrough artists though…

Best New Act

  • 1990 – They Might Be Giants
  • 1991 – Seal
  • 1992 – Tori Amos
  • 1993 – Suede
  • 1994 – Oasis
  • 1995 – Supergrass
  • 1996 – Alanis Morissette
  • 1997 – Fun Lovin’ Criminals
  • 1998 – Gomez
  • 1999 – Basement Jaxx
  • 2000 – Badly Drawn Boy
  • 2001 – Starsailor
  • 2002 – Electric Soft Parade
  • 2003 – The Thrills
  • 2004 – Razorlight
  • 2005 – James Blunt
  • 2006 – Corinne Bailey-Rae
  • 2007 – The Enemy
  • 2008 – The Last Shadow Puppets
  • 2009 – White Lies
  • 2011 – WU LYF
  • 2012 – Django Django

BEST BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST

  • 2007 – Kate Nash
  • 2008 – Duffy
  • 2009 – Mr Hudson
  • 2010 – Plan B
  • 2011 – Ed Sheeran

Q’s Next Big Thing

  • 2010 – Clare Maguire
  • 2011 – Lana del Rey

Best Live Act

One of the jewels in the Q Awards’s crown:

  • 1990 – Rolling Stones
  • 1991 – Simple Minds
  • 1992 – Crowded House
  • 1993 – Neil Young
  • 1994 – Pink Floyd
  • 1995 – Oasis
  • 1996 – Pulp
  • 1997 – The Prodigy
  • 1998 – Roni Size / Reprazent
  • 1999 – Stereophonics
  • 2000 – Oasis
  • 2001 – Manic Street Preachers
  • 2002 – The Hives
  • 2003 – Robbie Williams
  • 2004 – Muse
  • 2005 – U2
  • 2006 – Muse
  • 2007 – Muse
  • 2008 – Kaiser Chiefs
  • 2009 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2010 – Biffy Clyro
  • 2011 – Blur

Best Artist

The oddly named ‘Best Act in the World Today’ Award goes right back to the Q Awards’ beginnings in 1990, but was also recently joined by special solo awards too…

Best Act in the World Today

  • 1990 – U2
  • 1991 – R.E.M. / U2
  • 1992 – U2
  • 1993 – U2
  • 1994 – R.E.M.
  • 1995 – R.E.M.
  • 1996 – Pulp
  • 1997 – Oasis
  • 1998 – Manic Street Preachers
  • 1999 – Blur
  • 2000 – Travis
  • 2001 – Radiohead
  • 2002 – Radiohead
  • 2003 – Radiohead
  • 2004 – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • 2005 – Coldplay
  • 2006 – Oasis
  • 2007 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2008 – Coldplay
  • 2009 – Muse
  • 2011 – Coldplay
  • 2012 – Muse

Best Male

  • 2010 – Paolo Nutini
  • 2011 – Tinie Tempah

Best Female

  • 2010 – Florence + The Machine
  • 2011 – Adele

Best Solo Artist

  • 2012 – Emeli Sandé

Q Innovation Award / Innovation in Sound

Perhaps the most fascinating of all the awards, except for the couple of years when it was given to really dull and non-innovative artists.

  • 2002 – Depeche Mode
  • 2003 – Muse
  • 2004 – The Human League
  • 2005 – The Prodigy
  • 2006 – The Edge
  • 2007 – Sigur Rós
  • 2008 – Massive Attack
  • 2009 – Sonic Youth
  • 2010 – Mark Ronson
  • 2011 – Kaiser Chiefs
  • 2012 – Underworld

Outstanding Lifetime Icon / Idol Achievement Awards

I suspect that, like me, you’re totally taken aback by this slew of near-identical awards. But hats off to them for finding a hundred different ways to honour U2 and R.E.M.!

Special Merit Award

  • 1990 – Paul McCartney
  • 1991 – Lou Reed
  • 1992 – Led Zeppelin
  • 1993 – Elton John
  • 1999 – Keith Richards
  • 2000 – Jerry Dammers / The Specials
  • 2001 – Elvis Costello
  • 2002 – Tom Jones
  • 2004 – Shane McGowan
  • 2006 – Manic Street Preachers
  • 2007 – Ryan Adams

Q Inspiration

  • 1992 – B.B. King
  • 1993 – Donald Fagen
  • 1994 – The Kinks
  • 1995 – David Bowie / Brian Eno
  • 1996 – U2
  • 1997 – Patti Smith
  • 1998 – Blondie
  • 1999 – New Order
  • 2000 – Joe Strummer
  • 2001 – John Lydon
  • 2002 – Echo and the Bunnymen
  • 2003 – The Cure
  • 2004 – Pet Shop Boys
  • 2005 – Björk
  • 2006 – a-ha
  • 2007 – Damon Albarn
  • 2008 – Cocteau Twins
  • 2009 – The Specials
  • 2010 – Suede
  • 2011 – Fatboy Slim
  • 2012 – Pulp

Lifetime Achievement

  • 1997 – The Who
  • 1998 – R.E.M.
  • 2003 – Duran Duran
  • 2004 – Roxy Music
  • 2005 – Bee Gees
  • 2006 – Peter Gabriel
  • 2007 – Johnny Marr

Q Icon

  • 2003 – Jane’s Addiction
  • 2004 – U2
  • 2005 – Jimmy Page
  • 2006 – Jeff Lynne
  • 2007 – Sir Paul McCartney
  • 2008 – Adam Ant
  • 2009 – Marianne Faithfull
  • 2010 – Bryan Ferry
  • 2011 – Noel Gallagher
  • 2012 – Dexys Midnight Runners

Q Outstanding Contribution to Music Award

  • 2005 – Paul Weller
  • 2006 – Smokey Robinson
  • 2007 – Johnny Marr
  • 2008 – David Gilmour
  • 2009 – Robert Plant
  • 2011 – Siouxsie Sioux

Q Legend

  • 2005 – Joy Division
  • 2006 – The Who
  • 2007 – Ian Brown
  • 2008 – Glen Campbell
  • 2009 – Edwyn Collins

Q Idol

  • 2006 – Take That
  • 2007 – Kylie Minogue
  • 2008 – Grace Jones
  • 2009 – Spandau Ballet
  • 2010 – Madness
  • 2012 – Brandon Flowers

Hall of Fame Award

  • 2010 – Take That
  • 2011 – Queen

Mercury Music Prize 1995-1997

By the mid-1990s, the Mercury Prize was firmly placed as a reliable guide to the albums worth hearing of that year. Certainly there were omissions – indie always seemed to be overrated, while the pop and R&B inclusions were a little unpredictable, but there are still a huge number of great albums in the lists below.

Mercury Music Prize 1995

Nominees:

  • Guy Barker – Into the Blue
  • Elastica – Elastica
  • PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
  • Leftfield – Leftism
  • James MacMillan – Seven Last Words from the Cross
  • Van Morrison – Days Like This
  • Oasis – Definitely Maybe
  • Portishead – Dummy
  • Supergrass – I Should Coco
  • Tricky – Maxinquaye

Winner: PortisheadNoel Gallagher famously thought he should have won for Definitely Maybe, but he turned out to be wrong.

Mercury Music Prize 1996

Took place on 10th September 1996.

Nominees:

  • Artists for War Child – Help
  • Black Grape – It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah!
  • Peter Maxwell Davies / BBC Philharmonic – The Beltane Fire / Caroline Mathilde
  • Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
  • Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
  • Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
  • Courtney Pine – Modern Day Jazz Stories
  • Pulp – Different Class
  • Underworld – Second Toughest in the Infants
  • Norma Waterson – Norma Waterson

Winner: Pulp. Presented to Jarvis Cocker, who then immediately handed over the award to Brian Eno and Tony Crean for the Help project.

Mercury Music Prize 1997

Took place on 28th August 1997, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Nominees:

  • The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
  • Beth Orton – Trailer Park
  • Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
  • The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
  • Radiohead – OK Computer
  • Roni Size / Reprazent – New Forms
  • Spice Girls – Spice
  • Suede – Coming Up
  • John Tavener – Svyati
  • Mark-Anthony Turnage – Your Rockaby

Winner: Roni Size / Reprazent

Further information