The 1999 Brit Awards (Columbia, 1999)

Brit Awards 99

Brit Awards 99 r

The 1999 Brit Awards were the 19th edition of the biggest UK pop ceremony and took place on 16 February at the London Arena. The host was Johnny “Big Breakfast” Vaughan. The accompanying album contained 39 tracks and was the 11th in the series.

Many of its songs have already been covered here. You’ll find them on:
New Hits ’98: Natalie Imbruglia – Big Mistake, Another Level – Be Alone No More, Five – When The Lights Go Out, Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix).
Now That’s What I Call Music 39: Billie Myers – Kiss The Rain, Radiohead – No Surprises.
Smash Hits Summer ’98: Massive Attack – Teardrop.
Fresh Hits ’98: Catatonia – Road Rage.
Now That’s What I Call Music 40: Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight, All Saints – Lady Marmalade.
Big Hits ’98: Des’ree – Life, Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, Jamiroquai – Deeper Underground.
Now Dance ’98: Lynden David Hall – Sexy Cinderella (Cutfather and Joe Remix), Billie – Girlfriend (D*Influence Real Live Mix).
Now That’s What I Call Music 41: Robbie Williams – No Regrets, The Beautiful South – Perfect 10, Sheryl Crow – My Favourite Mistake.
Hits ’99: The Corrs – So Young, B*witched – Rollercoaster, Will Smith – Miami.

Daysleeper was the lead single for R.E.M.’s 11th LP, the much undervalued Up. It’s sung from the point of view of a night shift worker and deals with the disorientation of time and circadian rhythm in such a lifestyle. Or crashing out when others are at work. Surely the solution is not to go to bed when you get home from a night shift? Music from another room: Savage Garden’s rather lush Truly Madly Deeply, a song that takes me back to a different lifetime. Pras drops some quality hip hop on the slammin’ Blue Angels while Hinda Hicks’ I Wanna Be Your Lady is a prime slice of sensual R&B, a Blackmarket slow jam. Elsewhere the inclusion of 1983’s Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is due to the nomination of Eurythmics in the Outstanding Contribution To Music category.

The 1999 Brit Awards is great for gathering up some of the missing tracks that I wanted to see on 1998’s Now and Hits albums. There’s Alanis Morissette’s Thank U, a terrific and hypnotic tale of spiritual awakening with a crystalline melody. Next come Air and Kelly Watch The Stars, all retro electronics and table tennis. Their debut LP, the long-awaited Moon Safari remains a superb AM listen. Meanwhile Lauryn Hill’s crucial Doo Wop (That Thing) comes off as classic rap meets neo soul uptown. The journey continues for Fatboy Slim and Praise You which features samples from Camille Yarbrough’s Take Yo’ Praise (vocal), JBL’s Balance And Rehearsal (piano) and from an old Disneyland compilation, It’s A Small World (guitar). Staying big beat: the Propellerheads’ frantic Bang On.

From the soundtrack of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels comes E-Z Rollers’ wicked jungle blaster Walk This Land. Down votes to Fun Lovin’ Criminals and the inexplicably popular Love Unlimited before Beck’s gorgeous Tropicalia which was lifted from his masterpiece Mutations (beloved of Blue Jam). Mercury Music prize champions Gomez’s Whippin’ Piccadilly is a sheer joy, beefed up drumbeat for single release. The distinctive sound of Flood is on PJ Harvey’s uptempo A Perfect Day Elise, lead 45 for Is This Desire? The indie disco sees us home – there’s Placebo’s grinding raw power of Pure Morning. And free from the shackles of The Stone Roses and Suede are Ian Brown and Bernard Butler. My Star is nicely played space rock; see you in Asda. And we close with an epic: Stay.
Select magazine nailed it on their singles review page, February 1998: “A classic rock collage: descending chords a la Dear Prudence, Whatever, The Changingman, an impassioned middle eight that sounds almost gospel-esque, a huge arrangement, and plaintive lyrics, sufficiently simple to need no deciphering whatsoever.”

Favourite tracks
Alanis Morissette – Thank U

Gomez – Whippin’ Piccadilly (Turbo Version)

Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)

Air – Kelly Watch The Stars

Lest we forget
Bernard Butler – Stay

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12 Responses to The 1999 Brit Awards (Columbia, 1999)

  1. Feel the Quality says:

    Eurythmics were nominated?

  2. andynoax says:

    Isn’t that the one that’s just dished out automatically? Presumably no-one else was available that year….

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