The 1995 Brit Awards were the 15th edition of the biggest UK pop ceremony and took place on 20 February at London’s Alexandra Palace. The host was Chris Evans. The accompanying album contained a record 37 tracks and was the seventh in the series.
Best International Group: In the line of fire are R.E.M. and What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? A jarring highlight of the Monster album. And from Sleeps With Angels, Neil Young and Crazy Horse crank out the gorgeous My Heart. Meanwhile the Crash Test Dummies won our hearts with the dreamy and evocative Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. Elevate me later; The Cranberries create arguments on the searing riffage of Zombie.
Best International Male Artist: Bryan Adams gets a nod for his Live! Live! Live! LP. You can guess what that is. A passable Run To You features. Youssou N’Dour – of Shaking The Tree and In Your Eyes fame – is here because of his sublime duet with Neneh Cherry; 7 Seconds. And that old devil crooner, Luther Vandross provides another Neil Young connection with a heartfelt cover of Buffalo Springfield’s Love The One You’re With.
Best International Female Artist: Tori Amos has the edge here with the intense but wonderful Cornflake Girl. It’s the album version though – check out Hits ’94 – Volume 1 for the single mix. Sinéad O’Connor’s Thank You For Hearing Me doesn’t compare to that Prince cover [nothing really does] but is a pleasant incantation.
Best International Newcomer: No half measures – Marcella Detroit’s epic performance of I Believe while Carleen Anderson proves she’s the spiritual soulstress on Mama Said.
Best British Group: M People move onto the next pure phase forever known as Bizarre Fruit. The track here is the slow building Sight For Sore Eyes. And just as the battle lines are taking shape, out come Blur with the starshaped Girls And Boys. And waiting to close off CD2 are Oasis; Live Forever was truly their great leap forward.
Best British Male Artist: Seal’s goes all thought-provoking on the heavy vibes of Kiss From A Rose. Elvis Costello moves from Mighty Like A Rose to Brutal Youth’s gripping Sulky Girl. Fellow new wave legend Paul Weller digs the new breed on his Live Wood; Hung Up is the chosen one. Elsewhere Morrissey’s fourth album Vauxhall and I proved to be his best yet; get yer menaces with The More You Ignore Me, The Closer Get. Also in the frame – Eric Clapton and the bluesy Motherless Child.
Best British Female Artist: Eddi Reader grows up and leaves the fairground for more exotic attractions. Patience Of Angels is a sweet lullaby. Kate Bush puts on her Red Shoes which satisfies after many listens. Phew! No such waiting for Des’ree; You Gotta Be is understated but addictive from the off. Equally wholesame is Michelle Gayle’s intoxicating Sweetness while Lisa Stansfield floats in space on the purely phrased So Natural.
Best British Newcomer: Head to south London for Eternal; Vernie Bennett, Easther Bennett, Kelly Bryan and Louise Nurding combined makes for a cracking R&B band. Just A Step From Heaven was their third single. There’s indie gold as Echobelly give us orgasmic bass and wonderful harmonies on the cracking Insomniac. As the saying goes: “Scratchy film projections, a red dress, a blonde wig, a union jack t-shirt….all good ways to make a simple performance video memorable”. And it was the year that Portishead released the stupendous trip hop masterpiece Dummy; all uplifting miserablism. Numb gives us drums, bass, love and beauty. The heart and soul of Portishead.
Best British Dance Act: The Brand New Heavies go right back to 1974 with a cracking cover of Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis. And Massive Attack proved they’re no one album wonder with the stunning Protection. The enigmatic Sly really hits the mark.
Best British Single: It’s a rum do. There’s China Black’s Searching, originally a reggae hit in 1992, and beefed up during the summer of ’94. Things only get better with Tom Jones’s surreal If I Only Knew; a fantastic Trevor Horn production. And more joy for East 17 on their unintentional seasonal #1 Stay Another Day. In fact, it’s about the suicide of Tony Mortimer’s brother Ollie. Meanwhile D:Ream on. You know the score.
Best British Music Video: Jamiroquai continues to plough a 70s Wonder furrow with exceptional results on Half The Man. Suede unveil their magnum opus, the deeply troubled Dog Man Star. The Wild Ones is one of its many highlights. Utterly beautiful.
Best Soundtrack: There’s two nominations. Philadelphia throws up Peter Gabriel’s low key and atmospheric street serenade Lovetown. Meanwhile Elton John’s Circle Of Life is appropriately majestic for Walt Disney’s film The Lion King.
Portishead – Numb
Massive Attack – Sly
Oasis – Live Forever
Suede – The Wild Ones
Lest we forget
Echobelly – Insomniac