Pop: And just what did we really, really want?

Moments That Made The Year: The Spice Girls slipped in where Take That left off. And Techno terrorists went chartside. By Emma Forrest

It was the year that Britain's techno terrorists took over the pop charts. The Prodigy had two No 1 hits with "Firestarter" and "Breathe". Underworld's "Born Slippy" (taken from the Trainspotting soundtrack) dominated summer radio. The Chemical Brothers and Noel Gallagher had a No 1 with "Setting Sun" (an appropriation of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows", affectionately known as "Tomorrow Never Noels"). Tori Amos went the other way; her single "Professional Widow" didn't make much of an impact on the charts, but the re-mix by Armand Van Helden was the club-land hit of 1996.

After a disastrous performance at the Reading Festival, the Stone Roses finally called it a day (irrepressible bassist Mani defected to Primal Scream, while guitarist John Squire has written with Liam Gallagher). Their Manchester peers, the Charlatans, suffered the loss of their keyboardist Rob Collins in a car crash. But they returned with "One To Another", a kind of Nineties "I Will Survive" and the unchallenged single of the year.

Similarly, Manic Street Preachers overcame the loss of guitarist Richey Edwards to produce Everything Must Go, their most accessible and successful album yet. Fellow Welsh boys Super Furry Animals made Fuzzy Logic - as innovative an album as Beck's Odelay but more fun to listen to.

The Spice Girls sold Girl Power to the nation's young females and then urged them to vote Tory. The post break-up careers of the boys from Take That proved that context is everything. Away from his pals, band clown Robbie Williams became a drunken fool. Gary Barlow's solo effort was so tedious it made Celine Dion look like Frank Zappa. And little Mark Owens appears to be going for the Michael Jackson "I'm so creepy" market. Jackson's star fell as that of his evil nemesis Jarvis Cocker shot to the stratosphere. And Madonna, taking on the role of Evita, metamorphosed from pop tart to torch singer.

Blur spoke of their joy at being the underdogs again and of the spiritual enlightenment they have found while recording their new album in Iceland. Kula Shaker offered us their own danceable slices of mystic mumbo-jumbo. A spate of Oasis biographies were published that almost all managed to make a dreary story out of the most exciting band in Britain. The exception was Paul Mathur's witty Take Me There, which was affectionate without being sycophantic.

On the rap front, The Fugees made it huge with their lifestyle album The Score, while LL Cool J bounced back with the brilliant re-mix of "Loungin'". Tupac was killed and Chuck D compiled a list of reasons trying to prove that the long-lashed gangsta had faked his own death.

Richard Fearless was the best DJ in London, taking up residency at The Heavenly Social (the club that launched The Chemicals).

The gig of the year was Bruce Springsteen, stripping it down at the Brixton Academy (where he sang a stunning "Born in the USA" without ever saying those words).

Hotly tipped for 1997 are Hurricane - Alan McGee's latest signing to Creation - and Kylie's collaboration with James Manic. Meanwhile, Bjork is still unlistenable and Frank Sinatra is still not dead.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'