What happened to these bands after they won Best Album at the NME Awards?

The victorious have had mixed fortunes over the years

You don’t often think about what happens after a victory when considering awards ceremonies. The focus is always on the act of winning – it seems a given that any time after would be one of joy and contentment. As some of the winners of Best Album at the NME Awards over the years prove, though, that’s not always the case. Dig into some examples – both positive and negative – below, and let’s all keep our fingers crossed whoever reigns supreme in the Best Album supported by Orange Amplification category (and beyond) at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 on February 14 ends up on the happier side of things.

The Beatles


When: 1970
Album: ‘Let It Be’
What happened next?: Despite having split up in 1970, released ‘Let It Be’ in the same year, and also already having claimed the Best Album trophy, for some reason the old NME gatekeepers decided to bestow the honour on them in 1971 too. For ‘Let It Be’. Go figure.

The Smiths


When: 1987
Album: ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’
What happened next?: The group’s 1987 win was the last of three consecutive victories, largely because they split a few months later. At least they went out with a bang.

The Stone Roses

Stone Roses

When: 1989
Album: ‘The Stone Roses’
What happened next?: Riding high on a wave of acclaim, the Ian Brown-led Mancunians then took five years to release a follow-up in ‘Second Coming’. When that record finally arrived, it was met with a mixed and muted response.


Boo Radleys

Boo Radleys

When: 1994
Album: ‘Giant Steps’
What happened next?: ‘Giant Steps’ was the predecessor to Boo Radleys’ most commercially successful record, ‘Wake Up!’, which gave them their only Number One record of their career. After that, things went downhill, until they called it a day in 1998.



When: 1996
Album: ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’
What happened next?: Gigantic things, and then slightly less gigantic things. First, the band played their first stadium show at Manchester City’s Maine Road, before causing a roadblock around Knebworth as they played two sold out gigs in the grounds of the very posh Knebworth House. Then, a year later, they released ‘Be Here Now’ – an album that was widely criticised, despite huge sales.

The Strokes

The Strokes

When: 2002
Album: ‘Is This It’
What happened next?: The much-hyped New York five-piece maintained their place as one of the biggest indie bands in the world, even without the sales to match their debut’s phenomenal success.



When: 2004
Album: ‘Hail To The Thief’
What happened next?: The band took a brief hiatus to work on solo projects and catch up on some family time, before returning three years later to change the entire music industry as we knew it. With seventh album ‘In Rainbows’, they let fans choose how much they paid for it in an experiment that likely had an impact on the future of digital music, as well as raising debate over how to place value on records in the digital age.


Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys

When: 2007
Album: ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’

What happened next?: Back when they were just four fresh-faced scamps from Sheffield in danger of being hyped up a little bit too much, Arctic Monkeys (pictured here with friend and actor Stephen Graham) collected the Best Album gong for their debut album. Faced with the task of living up to a) all the buzz around them and b) the standards they’d set themselves on the award-winning record, they made becoming even better look like a walk in the park, and swiftly became one of the biggest bands in the world. Easy.

The Maccabees

The Maccabees

When: 2013
Album: ‘Given To The Wild’
What happened next?: The south London lads released their career best album in ‘Marks To Prove It’, made their major festival headlining debut at Latitude in 2016, and then promptly announced they were calling it quits. Talk about an anti-climax.