This was the year you couldn’t even give your music away. Well, you could, if you were Prince or Ray Davies, whose new albums came free with newspapers.
With so much music out there, punters have been less willing to fork out, so Radiohead left it up to fans to decide how much they wanted to pay for their new album. Most paid nothing; the rest forked out an average of four quid..
With record sales tumbling into minus figures, and young hypefuls such as The View and The Twang burning out faster than a roach end, the music industry looked to the old uns to stave off the bailiffs. The Led Zep reunion ballooned into a global event; the Police reunion netted Sting and co the biggest paycheck of their careers, while the reformed Take That seem to be back in the charts for good. Money is making the Spiceworld go round again, and the lure of the euro has brought Boyzone back out of palookaville.
The pop kids are screaming for a new breed of Irish bands – The Flaws, Delorentos, The Immediate, La Rocca, Dark Room Notes and Fight Like Apes. Arcade Fire have ousted the Catholic Church, poaching more Irish worshippers every time their revue rolls into town, and Bruce has replaced Bono as God’s rock’n’roll envoy on earth. And meet the new Apostles: Matthew, Caleb, Jared and Nathan aka Kings of Leon. Hallelujah! Highs of the year 1. A free Radiohead album (oh, all right, here’s a fiver) 2. Irish rock bands not being shite 3. Old rockers (Young, Plant, Springsteen et al) revived Lows of the year 1. Reunions – thought they threw away each other’s numbers 2. Mika (right) – the new Leo Sayer 3. Amy Winehouse – oh, beehive! CDs of the year 1. The Good, The Bad & The Queen 2. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible 3. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raising Sand 4. Field Music – Tones of Town
Gig of the year Daniel Courtney, Delivery Room, Holles St, July