The 1997 Brit Awards were the 17th edition of the biggest UK pop ceremony and took place on 24 February at London’s Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The host was Ben Elton. The accompanying album contained a record 39 tracks and was the ninth in the series.
As with The ’96 Brit Awards, the 1997 selection packs a powerful punch. CD1 contains a Britpop majority and opens with the Manic Street Preachers’ continental drift Australia. The irrepressible Kula Shaker present a mystical gift in the shape of Govinda with The Bluetones unleashing a guitar storm on Marblehead Johnson. Sugar Coated Iceberg is yet another poptastic effort from Liverpool’s Lightning Seeds before the mood is rudely marred by the ugly sound of The Fun Lovin’ Criminals. After some well known tunes in the form of Oh Yeah, You’re Gorgeous and Neighbourhood, it’s time for Ocean Colour Scene to shine on The Circle, sublime melodies all. And Sheryl Crow sings the blues on the resigned rocker If It Makes You Happy. Sister bliss: Alisha’s Attic – I Am, I Feel. Joy.
Richard Hawley, the ultimate late night final singer, was once a member of Longpigs. Their debut LP yielded four singles, She Said is a lively TFI Friday tune. The wailing banshee sound of Skunk Anansie comes next; the malevolent Twisted (Everyday Hurts). Dodgy’s breezy Good Enough bridges the gap before R.E.M. and the emotionally wonderful Bittersweet Me, the second 45 from New Adventures In Hi-Fi. Meanwhile Trainspotting hangs heavy over these awards; Pulp’s fantastic jaunt Mile End is one of the soundtrack’s highlights. And Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life will always be associated with the film’s credit sequence. Elsewhere check out Mansun’s provocative Stripper Vicar but skip over the inexplicably popular Peaches. And almost inevitably – Don’t Look Back In Anger.
“Choose rotting away at the end of it all”
CD2 focuses on beats. Many have already cropped up on other 1996 compilations. The Prodigy had two #1s; Breathe gets the nod. Jamiroquai’s terminally groovy Cosmic Girl leads into The Fugees’ sentimental No Woman, No Cry. Time for swingbeat as Mark Morrison lays out his ace Return Of The Mack while Simply Red’s Angel is an unholy slowie with refugee assistance. The Spice Girls phenomenon is represented by Say You’ll Be There. Elsewhere Gabrielle churns out the agreeable Give Me A Little More Time with the relaxed vibe continuing on Tony Rich’s Nobody Knows. Next: Toni Braxton’s soulful You’re Makin’ Me High and Lighthouse Family’s Ocean Drive.
Babyface – presumably massive U2 fans – employ Eric Clapton on the gentle jam Talk To Me. We’re off to dreamland with Robert Miles and Maria Nayler’s peerless One and One. More: Neneh Cherry’s inventive and erotic Kootchi. Plus Tricky’s haunted Christiansands, getting in early with some pre-millennium tension. The Chemical Brothers drop Loops Of Fury, a progressive and atmospheric power blast of big beat and mean acid techno. Two more from Trainspotting – Underworld’s show-stealer Born Slippy along with Leftfield’s brooding bass-heavy A Final Hit. We stay in the cinema for the closer: Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton’s massive re-arrangement of the Misson Impossible theme.
“This was Begbie’s nightmare. The dodgiest scam in a life time of dodgy scams, being perpetrated with three of the most useless and unreliable fuck-ups in town”
R.E.M. – Bittersweet Me
Chemical Brothers – Loops Of Fury
Pulp – Mile End
Leftfield – A Final Hit
Lest we forget
Mansun – Stripper Vicar