1995 will no doubt be remembered most for the Battle of Britpop. Fuelled by the NME and then further by the British tabloids, Blur went head-to-head against Oasis by releasing singles on the same day. Both singles, Blur's 'Country House' and Oasis' 'Roll With It' were pretty average but due to the hype, managed to fill the number one and two spot. (We've left 'Roll With It' out of our list because let's face it, it's crap).
Blur might have won the battle but not the war. Oasis' What's the Story (Morning Glory) album simply wiped the floor with Blur's Great Escape and they arguably became the biggest band in the world for a while. Oasis even managed to crack America, something Blur and many British bands before them had struggled to do.
Many might argue that the Battle of Britpop was dreamt up by the media and that's true to some extent but can you imagine the same thing happening today? What's sad is that we don't have one, let alone two bands that could create such hype right now and on top of that nobody cares what the NME says any more. When was the last time two 'alternative' acts occupied the number one and two slots in the singles chart? Probably 1995, actually.
However, if you're like me and thought both tracks sounded more like Chas & Dave and Status Quo, then there was always Jarvis Cocker to rely on. Pulp's 'Common People' is without doubt the single of the year and has stood the test of time much better than those mentioned above. Without hype from the NME, it only reached number two, famously kept off the top spot by Robson & Jerome! (One of Simon Cowell's first crimes against music).
Glastonbury 1995 may be remembered as the year Robbie Williams escaped from boyband prison to get leathered with Oasis but anyone with any sense knows it was the year Pulp stepped up to headline in place of the Stone Roses and absolutely nailed it. Different Class followed later in the year and cemented their position of one of the best bands of the 90s.
This is possibly the year where Britpop peaked; we were spoilt for choice with what have become classic albums. Radiohead released arguably their greatest album in The Bends, Supergrass dropped their ace debut and even Shaun Ryder got his shit together long enough to make a comeback as Black Grape. The Verve released their best album and Elastica managed to rip everyone off and still sound great.
But there was more to 1995 than Britpop. American alt-rock was still going strong with The Smashing Pumpkins' sprawling Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Sonic Youth released their best album from their slower, less noisy period with Washing Machine and Foo Fighters released a debut full of grungy pop gems recorded by Dave Grohl alone.
Electronic music also played a big part, coming in many shapes and forms. From the Prodigy, Leftfield and Aphex Twin, to the drum n bass classic Timeless from Goldie, The Chemical Brothers invented big beat and Tricky released the trip hop masterpiece Maxinquaye.
Even hip hop was on another level this year, mainly thanks to the solo albums from most of the members of the Wu Tang Clan. Kanye et al take note: This is what hip hop could and should be.
So there you have it, 1995: Possibly the best of the 90s with a bit of all genres, all wrapped up in 12 months, situated slap-bang in the middle of the decade.