Better than the Brits: <i>The IoS</i> offers an alternative selection

On Tuesday, the nation's premier music awards will announce the best British album of the past 30 years. The shortlist, though, has been met with derision. We asked the experts for some more fitting suggestions

Peter Hook, Joy Division/New Order

The Stone Roses

"The Stone Roses' first LP for me captures a wonderful band at a peak, coinciding with a great musical movement, inspired by Manchester, Madchester and coming perfectly after the summer of love in 1988. Great tunes that I still hear everywhere I go now."

Beverley Knight

Blue Lines, Massive Attack

"One album I always will go back to as generation-changing is Blue Lines. From start to finish, it is dark, glorious, unique and innovative. This was the sound of Britain's multiculturalism, set in the heart of Bristol, and the world sat up and took notice. Shame the Brits committee hasn't."

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Different Class, Pulp

"As a portrait of British society at the end of the 20th century, it's untouchable. It's got a bit of everything: romance, sex, a lot of humour, wry social observation and some proper club bangers."

Mike Batt, songwriter

Chess – The Original Cast Album, various artists

"People often miss great music because they may be averse to 'musicals' but this is a fantastic score by Benny Andersson with masterful lyrics by Tim Rice and Bjorn Ulvaeus. It's everything that Mamma Mia isn't."

Terry Hall, The Specials

Parklife, Blur

"It has to be Parklife by Blur. That album helped to redefine the British pop group. Blur showed their influences and moved them on in Parklife while still proving to be a major songwriting force."

Emmy the Great

Hounds of Love, Kate Bush

"This has two lyrics that mean more to me than any other. One is the title track's description of love 'coming for me through the trees', and the other is on 'Cloudbusting': 'I just know that something good is going to happen'."

Paul Gambaccini, Radio DJ

Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits

"When I was purged from the Brits' voting list last year, I assumed I wasn't the only over-50 who had been dumped. One result is this risible list. Brothers in Arms runs away with it for the quality of songwriting and musicianship."

Tjinder Singh, Cornershop

Don't Stand Me Down, Dexy's Midnight Runners

"In Wolverhampton Dexy's were deemed the Wolverhampton wanderers, so, correct or not, I had a big affection for them. This album is all about growing up in Wolverhampton, and no one does it better."

Stephen Duffy

Tigermilk, Belle & Sebastian

"What we're forgetting is that the Brits were always a joke: corporate masturbation, put together by people who didn't really like music, who ran record companies. Tigermilk was made as a college project light years away from the rancid bullshit of the Brits."

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Allan Jones, Editor Uncut magazine

Down in Albion, Babyshambles

"Less the messy abomination of popular opinion than a charismatic masterpiece, reminiscent of some of my favourite albums, the kind born out of an inclination towards burn-out, disintegration and ruin. I'm not sure it's the 'best' UK album, but there's nothing else quite like it."

Ian Parton, The Go! Team

Loveless, My Bloody Valentine

"It's the ultimate example of having a sound in your head, then totally nailing it. By making the songs as good as the idea, it blasted away all their shoegazing contemporaries. So ahead of its time that, 19 years on, it still sounds modern."

Barney Hoskyns, Editor, Rock's Back Pages

The Lost Album, Lewis Taylor

"After 20 years of Record Collection Rock I thought I was weary of magpies like Taylor serving up simulacra of Brian Wilson, Arthur Lee and Todd Rundgren. But it made me cry tears of joy at music's power to undo the mind's control of the heart."

Robyn Hitchcock

Avalon, Roxy Music

"In the lush, musky production is embedded an exquisite collection of Bryan Ferry songs where the singer mourns a broken heart yet lives with it. Amidst the pain and resignation flutters the butterfly of pure pop. Genius, Bryan!"

Richie Hawtin AKA Plastikman

Violator, Depeche Mode

"A brilliant combination of pop, technology and great songwriting with a depth that inspired today's generation. To quote from Depeche Mode, if there was ever a record that brought the introspective and introverted side of electronic 'music to the masses', this has to be it."

Blaine Harrison, Mystery Jets

Time, Electric Light Orchestra

" Time sounds like it was written as a love letter to the future. But to me it feels like the perfect sonic document of the era it was released in. It is the loving sound of technology being stretched beyond its means by pop music."

Rob Da Bank, DJ

OK Computer, Radiohead

"Oh crikey where do I start with this record? I'm not sure even Radiohead knew if this was going to work as an album, but as with classic Beatles, the more you listen to this sonic wonder the better it gets. 'Paranoid Android', 'No Surprises' and 'Karma Police' – say no more."

Joe Elliott, Def Leppard

Rant, Ian Hunter

"My choice for best British album in the past 30 years is the seriously brilliant return to form by Ian Hunter with the 2001 album Rant. It had such strong songwriting as 'Death of a Nation' and the brilliant 'Dead Man Walking'. It truly is a genius piece of work."

Simon Price, music critic

The Holy Bible, Manic Street Preachers

"As challenging sonically as it was lyrically, The Holy Bible dared existing fans of the Manics' aggressive yet accessible punk-metal to go with them. The Holy Bible stands as the Manics' towering masterpiece."

Mica Levi (Micachu and the Shapes)

Boy in Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal

"British, very British, our own dance/hip-hop/post-punk/genre 100 per cent ugly un-indulged British attitude. Still fresh enough out of teens to be an arsehole and not ramble on about morals. Plus it sounds so weird."

Rod Argent, the Zombies

The Dream of Blue Turtles, Sting

"I loved The Police and really admired Sting when he went solo. This first solo album was written from the heart and not an attempt to write commercial pop songs. I still love it to this very day."


Dummy, Portishead

"As much as I love Sade's Diamond Life, Dummy played a huge part in my teenage years and as far as I am concerned, it's a complete catastrophe it wasn't added to the list. It was everything I thought music should be. Soulful, eclectic and epic."


Original Pirate Material, The Streets

"It's one of my favourites as it came just as garage was getting big, but it had a fresh edge to it. The spoken-word style of rap that Mike Skinner had was so original and raw. This album holds so many memories for me. I still listen to it regularly and it was one of my main inspirations."

Ben Ayres, Rough Trade Records

You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, Orange Juice

This record is one I come back to time and time again, a real gem, perfectly links rock'n'roll and funk and soul in an inspired euphoric mix. Sounds like a greatest hits compilation, truly inspirational."

Annie Lennox

Hats, The Blue Nile

"This is a bit leftfield, but they've got a cult following and Hats was my favourite album of theirs. They only made a few albums and a few live performances. They just made exquisite music that was very haunting and beautiful. They were unique and one of the best bands to come out of Scotland."

Don Letts

The Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow

"Now some might say it's too close to make that call and indeed I found myself juggling Blue Lines, Screamadelica, Soul II Soul's Club Classics, Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas, Björk's Debut. But then I joined the dots. This floored me on first listen and it'll continue to touch me till I leave this place."

Graham Coxon, Blur

Up the Bracket, The Libertines

"The songs on the album were fantastic. There was such a romance to it. I haven't been that excited about something like that since the Jam. The past 30 years have gone a bit downhill if you have a list like the Brits. It's shocking, really."

Chesney Hawkes

The Bends, Radiohead

"When people describe bands like Coldplay as sounding like Radiohead, they usually mean The Bends, the seminal rock-guitar album of our generation. It seemed every band wanted to sound like Radiohead after that, and who can blame them?"

DJ Spoony

Born to Do It, Craig David

"It's a scandal he never won a Brit award, despite being nominated for six one year. How can someone be that successful and not win? It was a groundbreaking album. It was pop; it was street; it was black; it was white; it was suburban; it was urban: it was everything."

Charles Shaar Murray, music writer

Dummy, Portishead

"Bristol noir may seem a contradiction in terms, but Portishead's eerie dreamscape is a soundtrack to a movie that never ends: a delicious cocktail you realise too late contains a mickey finn. It indicated not just a possible future but an alternate past."

Gary Powell of the invasion of...

Club Classics Vol 1, Soul II Soul

"With our generation I don't think there has been a collective of British music that has made such a cultural effect. When 'Keep on Moving' came out, I was in New Jersey and everyone there and in New York was wearing Soul II Soul T-shirts."

The 30th Brit Awards

The great and the good of the British music industry gather at the Earls Court Arena, west London, on Tuesday for the 30th annual Brit Awards. One new award to feature in this year's show, hosted by the comedian Peter Kay, is proving too close to call. It's for the best British album of the past three decades, and the 10-strong shortlist has been scorned in some quarters.

The nominated albums are:

Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head

Dido, No Angel

Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms

Duffy, Rockferry

Keane, Hopes & Fears

Oasis, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

Phil Collins, No Jacket Required

Sade, Diamond Life

The Verve, Urban Hymns

Travis, The Man Who

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