UK Music Hall Of Fame, Channel 4

by | Oct 10, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A democratic and fair method of selecting the best musicians of the last century to join paragons of the creative industry such as Madonna and Elvis Presley.

What to say of you didn’t like it

A whitewash of a show that surrenders the choice of musical excellence to those aurally blinded by marketing and inconsequence.

What was good about it?

• Apart from a few exceptions, it pretty much encapsulated all the best music from the 90s.

• Provided a chance to hear such fabulous songs as Radiohead’s Street Spirit, Nirvana’s Lithium and Live Forever by Oasis.

• Noel Gallagher shocking the world by admitting that Be Here Now is a dreadful indulgence and that he was far more creative when he was unemployed.

• Noel Gallagher, despite being terribly supercilious about his band, being the one commentator who spoke with honesty and humour. “How do I get within slapping distance of Margaret Thatcher?”

• That, based entirely on what we saw and heard, a very clear order emerged: 1: Nirvana; 2: Dr Dre; 3: Radiohead; 4: Oasis; 5: Missy Elliott; 6: Prodigy; 7: Blur; 8: Red Hot Chili Peppers; 9: Robbie Williams; 10: The Spice Girls

• You discovered that all the journalists who once worked on Melody Maker are still alive and eating very, very well.

• The undeserving Robbie Williams was supported by a Who’s Nobody of non-entities like Brian McFadden and Shane Lynch.

• When Blur were dubiously espoused as innovators, only to have this immediately rubbished as their profile was succeeded by that of the very original Dr Dre.

• The hilarious footage of ravers which provided documentary evidence that the early 90s saw the worst dancing in the history of music.

What was bad about it?

• The opinions of Andi Peters, the Josef Stalin of British music, whose amoral promotion of dreadful pre-packaged pop (The Great Dirge) in the 90s condemned a whole generation of Britons to years of misery and mental torture.

• Shaun Ryder’s continuing decline.

• In the Nirvana profile, the blame for the appalling grunge fashion industry was attributed to Kurt Cobain’s music, and perhaps justifiably used as one reason for his suicide.

• The assertion that without Oasis there “would have been no Cool Britannia”. Something we will hold against Oasis for all eternity.

• The Hall of Fame vote is just another senseless poll that solves nothing other than arrogant fans of Robbie Williams being able to prove their idol’s potency through simple democratic popularity – a system that is so badly flawed when judging music as to make it utterly irrelevant.

• Apparently “Britpop peaked” in the tiresome feud between Oasis and Blur when they released singles – Country House and Roll With It – on the same day, neglecting to mention that they were two of worst songs from the entire decade.

• Including Pixies for consideration in the 90s when their two 80s albums are superior by far.

• Almost a decade later, commentators still refer to The Spice Girls’ clarion call of Girl Power as some perceptive championing of female empowerment, when it was merely a marketing gimmick to dupe dim teenage girls out of their pocket money invented by their very male manager Simon Fuller (whose sacking coincided with their rapid descent into relative obscurity).

• The ad breaks were heralded by a disembodied voice shouting “UK” with the accent and application of touring American singers who are too lazy and stupid to discover what city they are currently performing in and so just howl a mindless catch-all platitude.

• Scaring grannies did not make the Prodigy dangerous, and neither did their gruesomely “ironic” video for Smack My Bitch Up (which the band hated, anyhow).

• Radiohead making “intelligent” music. It’s either good or bad, “intelligent” is a spurious adjective to disguise blatant snobbery.


1. The Bob Marley tribute and induction in to the Hall of Fame.

2. Competent host Jamie Theakston damning Blur with faint praise: “If the Beatles were the band of the 60s, then Blur were the quintessentially English band of the 90s.”

3. Damon Albarn stooping over the microphone as though bracing himself for an anal probe.

4. Spotting how many of the musicians, actors and entrepreneurs were sporting altogether unconvincing toupees.

5. Paul Gambaccini’s girth that shows the most out-of-touch critic in British music is metamorphosing into an inverted toadstool.


1. The pathetic and wholly inappropriate appendage after the end credits that the ceremony was dedicated to the memory of John Peel, when many (but not all) of the inductees represented the very things he spent his career fighting against. It was like dedicating a Ku Klux Clan convention to the memory of Martin Luther King.

2. With the American elections still fresh in the mind, those voted into the Hall of Fame (apart from irreparably damaging its credibility) won largely as a triumph of marketing and hype over talent and innovation.

3. The pallid performances of classic songs by modern musicians such as the Thrills and Beverly Knight, to evoke memories of how good those songs were, ended up

as credible as heralding the many virtues of nuclear power through an exhibition of horribly mutated children.

4. The irrelevant opinions of Stephen Dorff and Pat Cash.

5. The arrogance of Dave Stewart and Bono for wearing sunglasses indoors.

6. We weren’t shown the final positions of the bands for each decade.

Launch Show

What was it about?

‘Music experts’ create a UK music hall of fame – it’ll have ten acts. Five, (Beatles, Madonna etc) have already been chosen plus one each from 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s to be chosen each week. This programme covers the 1960s.

What to say if you liked it.

Ah, the good old days, fabulous tunes, pop stars worth looking up to – an altogether happier time.

What to say if you didn’t like it.

Do we need yet another manufactured award programme to fill the autumn schedules?

What was good about it?

• To make these shows watchable, you need a smattering of interviewees who were actually involved at the time. This one had people like Brian Wilson, Eric Burdon and Martha Reeves.

• There was lots of biographical information, not the usual gloss over of the real stories behind the bands.

• The superb tunes, and for once they seem to have picked the best bands as nominees.

• It did not contain the opinions of Kate Thornton or Gina Yashere.

What was bad about it?

• Who cares what Vernon Kay thinks. He wasn’t even born in the 60s.

• We’ve got nothing against Jamie Theakston personally, but there are better presenters around.

• James Brown’s waistband was higher than Simon Cowell’s.

• Why were eight of the contenders American? Isn’t it supposed to be the UK Music Hall of Fame?

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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