“Green light, Seven Eleven
You stop in for a pack of cigarettes
You don’t smoke, don’t even want to”.
The 1994 Brit Awards were the 14th edition of the biggest UK pop ceremony and took place on 14 February at London’s Alexandra Palace. The hosts were Elton John and RuPaul. The accompanying album contained 32 tracks and was the sixth in the series.
Best International Group: U2 are in pole position. In 1993 they won Best International Live Band, later that summer they released the brooding electronic soundscape Zooropa. Stay (Faraway So Close) reached #6, a moody late night driving tune. An alternative version was used in Wim Wenders’ film, Faraway So Close. Together alone; Crowded House and the deeply melancholy Distant Sun. World cup standard pop.
Best International Male Artist: Lenny Kravitz gives it socks on the searing riffage of Are You Experience, sorry – Are You Gonna Go My Way. Neil Young rolls back the years on the pastoral beauty Harvest Moon and a fantastic Unplugged set. Terence Trent D’Arby was on the comeback trail but Do You Love Me Like You Say was a mess of bad funk rock. Elsewhere there’s Meat Loaf’s mysterious I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).
Best International Female Artist: Bjork debuted with the simmering beats of Debut. Big Time Sensuality is the video that had us glued to late night MTV in Marlborough Road. It manages to be simultaneously irritating and sexy. Meanwhile Nanci Griffith’s Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness is mournful country blues. And Tina Turner went all personal on the life story of her life – What’s Love Got To Do With It. No community games for her.
Best International Newcomer: In this category are The Spin Doctors; I have a mostly hate / dislike relationship with Two Princes. There’s also 4 Non Blondes, nominated for their powerful What’s Up? And SWV’s stunning re-working of Human Nature on Right Here.
Best British Group: Jamiroquai earned five nominations with their debut album Emergency On Planet Earth delivering the Innervisions-like soul of Too Young To Die. Suede opened their debut album with So Young which was followed by the glammed-up Animal Nitrate. M People soundtracked urban dinner parties all through 1993 and 1994.
Best British Male Artist: One for the hipsters and Nurse With Wound misanthropes – Sting’s glorious Fields Of Gold from Ten Summoner’s Tales. Paul Weller continued his upwardly mobile solo career with another fine LP, the folky and spacious Wild Wood. The title track is included here. You also get Rod Stewart’s hokey Have I Told You Lately.
Best British Female Artist: PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me was immense, a cathartic Steve Albini production. And then there was the raw accompaniment of 4 Track Demos. 50Ft Queenie saw Rob Ellis on drums. 2:26 of intensity. Dina Carroll takes a smoother approach on the heartfelt So close while Beverley Craven delivers another fine ballad in Love Scenes.
Best British Newcomer: All the way from Birmingham, Apache Indian and the insanely annoying Boom Shack-A-Lack. Fusion headwreck. Find your way to London and Gabrielle’s gorgeous Dreams before departing Down That Road with Shara Nelson.
Best British Dance Act: The trio of Rob B, DJ The Head and Owen If – known as the Stereo MCs – reached #19 with Creation. It was taken from the Connected LP which was nominated for Best British Album. Worth a purchase but not on vinyl. Meanwhile you and I dance to the beat of a different drum: The Shamen continued to mine Boss Drum with the jammin’ throwdown Phorever People.
Best British Producer: Brian Eno produced U2’s Zooropa and James’ hazy, minimalist Laid. Sometimes is taken from the latter, a deep burrowing into the soul.
Best British Single: 1993 was Take That’s most excellent year with Pray-mania the clear high point. New Order bounced back with the just-ok Republic but lead 45 Regret was A1.
Best British Music Video: From the atmospheric Black Tie, White Noise came David Bowie and the edgy Jump They Say. Former Best British Single winners Depeche Mode got nominated for I Feel You, the first single from the killer follow-up to Violator, Songs Of Faith Of Devotion. And lastly Peter Gabriel works up a head of steam for Us.
U2 – Stay (Faraway So Close)
PJ Harvey – 50Ft Queenie
Paul Weller – Wild Wood
Sting – Fields Of Gold
Lest we forget
David Bowie – Jump They Say