1991

Grunge prepares to hit the mainstream...

Massive Attack are forced to shorten their name to Massive as the Gulf War rages. In the latest of a series of clampdowns on the burgeoning gangsta rap explosion, NWA‘s ‘Efil4Zaggin’ – like 2 Live Crew‘s ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’ the previous year – is declared obscene.

Gone: Positivity, hope, jokes, fashion-sense, beats, tunes… The grunge storm-cloud is looming, and it will rain long and heavily.

Album of the year: Screamadelica – Primal Scream

Single of the year: Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack

Band / Artist of the year: Nirvana

1991 belonged to: Post-rave come-down kids clutching copies of ‘Screamadelica’ on the one hand, matt-haired dead-eyed slackers on the other.

Key event: Richey Manic carves ‘4 Real’ into his arm, spawning a dubious myth which his band do their damndest to dissipate over the next few years. Meanwhile, Bryan Adams stays at number one for several aeons with ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’. Despite two bloated double albums from Guns N’Roses, ’91 is a year of truly classic LPs like ‘Blue Lines’, ‘Screamadelica’, ‘Bandwagonesque’, the Creation-crippling ‘Loveless’ and, of course, Nirvana‘s all-conquering ‘Nevermind’.

Flannel shirts and suicidal poses are de rigeur as grunge prepares to hit the mainstream and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ reverberates across the globe. Despite the opening of the Ministry of Sound in September, for many it’s goodbye smiley face, hello angsty frown.