The most iconic compilation series in dance music celebrates its 25th edition with a stunning 60-track, three-CD release.
‘Ministry of Sound – The Annual XXV’ embodies the sound of the world’s most famous club, and dance music at large, over the last quarter of a century. It features huge tracks from global stars like Faithless, Underworld, Todd Terry, Fatboy Slim, David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Eric Prydz, Groove Armada and many more and reminds us once again of the huge impact Ministry of Sound has had on the musical landscape.
The first ever edition of The Annual was mixed by Pete Tong and Boy George back in 1995 and was a true statement of British dance culture. Since then, the series has consistently joined the dots between the underground and the more mainstream sides of house, trance and dance with its own iconic adverts and a unique mix of music from global superstars. More than ten million copies of The Annual have been sold worldwide over the years, and its careful curation has always shone a light on all corners of the dance spectrum.
“I never thought The Annual would be that successful! To out-sell established bands at the time was unheard of. To be involved with some of the biggest selling comps of that era was so cool. All the albums are really a true time capsule of club music. But it’s very strange: there’s such nostalgia right now about that era, the samples and the riffs. I was in Ibiza in July and I heard two DJs play ‘Let Me Show You’ by Camisra and the place was going nuts for it! It’s taken 25 years for this stuff to be cool. What I didn’t know at the time was I was capturing a moment!”Tall Paul
The Ministry of Sound club itself is now more than 28 years old, but still sets the agenda thanks to its forward thinking programming. From diverse, inclusive nights like Glitterbox and He.She.They to legendary trance parties like The Gallery and special residencies from royalty like DJ Harvey via a rotating cast of exciting, game changing headline DJs, the multi-roomed club and its world famous sound system are as talked about as ever, for all the right reasons.
‘Ministry of Sound – The Annual XXV’ is a truly historic celebration of all that has happened over the intervening years, touching on eras of dance music that it has been involved in shaping, from euro-dance to deep house, big beat to disco. It is jam packed with classics: music that defined an era and shaped the tastes of a generation of electronic music lovers.
Without The Annual, many artists’ careers would have taken very different paths and countless dancers would have missed out on these vital annual snapshots of the global state of club music.
Ministry of Sound – The Annual XXV
Ministry of Sound
Release Date: 29-11-2019
Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You Faithless - Insomnia (Radio Edit) Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand's Star Trunk Funk Mix Radio Edit) Livin' Joy- Dreamer (Radio Edit) Olive - You're Not Alone (Radio Edit) Robert Miles - Children Underworld - Born Slippy (Nuxx) (Radio Edit) Sash! - Encore Une Fois (Future Breeze Edit) DJ Quicksilver - Bellissima (Radio Edit) Gala - Freed From Desire (Radio Edit) The Lisa Marie Experience, Bizarre Inc - Keep On Jumpin' (Bizarre Inc Remix; Edit) Mighty Dub Katz - Magic Carpet Ride 07’ (Radio Edit) Kenny Dope Presents The Bucketheads - The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind) (Radio Edit) De'Lacy - Hideaway (Deep Dish Radio Edit) Todd Terry - Something Goin' On (Tee's Radio Edit) Rosie Gaines - Closer Than Close (Mentor Radio Mix) Wildchild - Renegade Master (Radio Edit) Ultra Nate - Free (Mood II Swing Radio Edit) Wamdue Project - King Of My Castle (Roy Malone's King Radio Edit) Sandy B - Make the World Go Round (Deep Dish Radio Edit) David Morales Presents The Face Feat. Juliet Roberts - Needin U’ (I Needed U) (Radio Edit) RUN DMC vs. Jason Nevins - It's Like That
Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now (LP Version) Armand Van Helden Feat. Duane Harden - You Don't Know Me (Radio Edit) The Chemical Brothers - Hey Boy Hey Girl (Radio Edit) Modjo - Lady - Hear Me Tonight Roger Sanchez - Another Chance (Radio Edit) Sonique - It Feels So Good (Radio Edit) Delerium Feat. Sarah McLachlan - Silence (DJ Tiesto's In Search Of Sunrise Remix Edit) Darude - Sandstorm (Radio Edit) Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (UK Radio Edit) 32. Public Domain - Operation Blade (Bass In The Place) (7” Radio Edit) Ian Van Dahl - Castles In The Sky (Radio Mix) DJ Jean - The Launch (Radio Edit) ATB-9PM(TillICome)(RadioMixUK) Dario G - Sunchyme (Radio Edit) Phats & Small - Turn Around (Radio Edit) Shaft (Mucho Mambo) - Sway (Radio Edit) 39. M&S Presents... The Girl Next Door - Salsoul Nugget (If U Wanna) (M&S Presents... The Girl Next Door) (M&S Version) Jakatta - American Dream (Radio Edit) Mousse T. Vs Hot 'N' Juicy - Horny '98 (Radio Edit) The Supermen Lovers - Starlight (Radio Edit) Moloko - Sing It Back (Boris Musical Mix; Edit) Rui Da Silva - Touch Me (Radio Edit)
David Guetta Feat. Chris Willis - Just a Little More Love (Wally Lopez Remix) (Edit) Calvin Harris - I’m Not Alone (Radio Edit) Eric Prydz – Pjanoo (Radio Edit) Avicii - Levels (Radio Edit) Swedish House Mafia Feat. Pharrell - One (Your Name) (Radio Edit) Tiësto - Adagio For Strings (Radio Edit) DJ Sammy & Yanou Feat. Do - Heaven (Radio Edit) Tomcraft - Loneliness (Radio Cut) Benny Benassi Presents “The Biz”- Satisfaction (Isak Radio Edit) Groove Armada - Superstylin' Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand Michael Gray - The Weekend (Radio Edit) The Shapeshifters - Lola's Theme Shakedown - At Night Room 5 Feat. Oliver Cheatham - Make Luv Storm Queen - Look Right Through (MK Vocal Edit) Duke Dumont Feat. A*M*E - Need U 100% (Radio Edit) Route 94 Feat. Jess Glynne - My Love CamelPhat & Elderbrook - Cola Jax Jones Feat. RAYE - You Don't Know Me (Radio Edit) Sigala - Easy Love (Radio Edit) MK - 17
Here at Zone Magazine, courtesy of MOS, we have 3 CD Compilations to give away to you lucky readers, all you have to do is share this post, and tell us why you want the CD’s! Simples!
THE ANNUAL XXV: SLEEVE NOTES BY RALPH MOORE
Things were all so much simpler (and dare we say it, more physical?) 25 years ago. There was no streaming, no downloading and no YouTube – and the internet (or the worldwide web as it was known then) was a mere whisper in libraries across the land’s best Universities. But in record stores up and down the country, mix CDs were selling like proverbial hot cakes – and The Annual was undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories of this undeniably golden era. Mixed by Pete Tong and Boy George, it was a two CD package combined with a natty 36-page booklet that made it stick out brilliantly on the shelves of hundreds of high street shops.
To those involved then and now, it became a statement of British culture and remains an important musical artifact of the era. There were other successful mix series’ out there – Liverpool’s ‘Cream’ brand and ‘Renaissance’ in Nottingham among them – but somehow Ministry of Sound’s Annual felt like the mix you’d return to on a Saturday night or indeed a Sunday morning: it was fun and fulfilling and there was very little disco fluff or filling. Thanks to a slew of dance music classics flying in and out of Europe (yes, we’re looking at you, Gala ‘Freed From Desire’!), house and dance-pop crossovers were everywhere at this point, with Ibiza bubbling and UK clubbers flying home in need of a fix, either at the airport or on the high street when they landed: and The Annual provided again and again. And while dance music has had countless high and lows both on and off of the dance-floor, from the birth of House (Masters At Work, David Morales), to the late 90s French House movement (Cassius, Daft Punk, Stardust), through to the rise of EDM (Swedish House Mafia, Avicii) and back to the sound of Deep House in the early 2010s (MK, Disclosure), the importance of the three minute song (or seven minute club mix) has always been at the heart of The Annual series. “The context of the time is important to understand,” recalls Judge Jules. “You didn’t have broadband! You had a limited amount of touch points, which were record shops, Radio 1 and Mixmag and they were British touch points. The Annual in particular became a touch point for a growing international community. You were either into the music or you weren’t and they were calling cards par excellence.” Fellow Gallery DJ Tall Paul has a similar take. “I never thought The Annual would be that successful! To out-sell established bands at the time was unheard of. To be involved with some of the biggest selling comps of that era was so cool. All the albums are really a true time capsule of club music. But it’s very strange: there’s such a nostalgia right now about that era, the samples and the riffs. I was in Ibiza in July and I heard two DJs play ‘Let Me Show You’ by Camisra and the place was going nuts for it! It’s taken 25 years for this stuff to be cool. What I didn’t know at the time was I was capturing a moment!”
Intriguingly, the TV adverts of the era, all available to dissect on YouTube, range from risqué and rude to sleek and downright smart: there’s a particularly clever ad for The Annual IV where a close-up of the hairs on a blue-hued arm go up as the track (‘I Put A Spell On You’ by Sonique) reaches its crescendo. “Only the best tracks get in!” says the rasping voice at the end of the ad: cheeky but brilliant. By the time we’d reached the Millennium Edition (The Annual was mixed that year by Judge Jules and Tall Paul) big beat staples from Fatboy Slim and Urban Takeover had been joined by trance hits from Darude (who could forget the scorching ‘Sandstorm’?) as well as a future number one ‘Groovejet’ by Spiller. Interestingly, there was no Annual 2001: the Annual released in this year was The Annual 2002. This was the very beginning of Annuals looking forward to the year to come as opposed to the year that had just passed: future anthems is what were being shaped, and Jules knew his role well. “As a DJ, I’ve always sat on the cusp between the underground and the mainstream and finding records early enough, that was the philosophy. The Annual remains the biggest selling dance music album in the world and it was quite a responsibility. All you can do is trust your ears and the dance-floor and the ones that reacted, put them on the album!”
The statistics 25 years on are pretty staggering. Sales across all Annuals are currently at 7 million and while the first Annual sold very well (it was certified gold with sales of over 100,000), The Annual II in ’96 sold even more, surpassing 614,000 units and was certified double platinum. That’s over half a million people who walked into their local friendly neighbourhood record store to spend their wages on an iconic red slipcase. Since so many of the songs on it have now become gold standard, it’s worth focusing on The Annual II for a moment. The first disc featured some timely US house and Euro dance from the likes of Felix (‘Don’t You Want Me’) and Livin’ Joy (‘Dreamer’) but it was the Annual II where everything came together. It read like a who’s who of dance music, or what today might more crudely be called the best dance music playlist… ever. It opened with Deep Dish’s stately remix of Sandy B’s ‘Make The World Go Round’, slid effortlessly into Farley and Heller’s timeless instrumental ‘Ultra Flava’, bumped into ‘Want Love’ by Hysteric Ego and took in modern disco nuggets like ‘Keep On Jumpin’, ‘I’m Alive’ by Stretch and Vern and took us to church with the Armand Van Helden remix of Tori Amos. (Pop fact: at the time of release The Annual II was the only place you could get hold of this track, that later became a chart-topping hit in the UK). Then came a natty update of ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald to remind us of the importance of Manchester to this bunch of London upstarts. (Once again, the mixes on Volume 2 came courtesy of Pete Tong and Boy George). The Annual was also a place where oodles of UK dance music number ones lived and breathed, from Roger Sanchez – ‘Another Chance’ to Spiller – ‘Groovejet’.
Of course, there is no Annual without the legendary club. Ministry Of Sound first opened its doors on September 21st 1991, when the club’s resident DJ Justin Berkmann was joined behind the decks by fellow Londoners Jazzy M and DJ and future super-producer Paul Oakenfold. It was Justin Berkmann’s vision – a vision that took two years to reach fruition – that saw MOS come to life. He didn’t do it on his own though: in 1989, he met old Etonian entrepreneurs James Palumbo and Humphrey Waterhouse, who agreed to help him. Justin wanted an after-hours venue focused on US house from Chicago, Detroit and especially New York City. He’d seen the legendary Larry Levan in action playing disco and dance jams at the even more legendary Paradise Garage, the closest dance music history has ever had to electronic after-hour utopia. “James [Palumbo] took Ministry Of Sound to the next level,” noted Paul Oakenfold. It was a move echoed by Lohan Presencer, who runs the business as its chairman today. “They conceived the name, the concept, the experience and by hook or by crook, they got the club open.” And arguably the most transcendent evening the club ever managed in its early years came when Garage resident Larry Levan flew to London for Frankie Knuckles’ birthday. Says Jazzy: “I remember handing over to Larry the first time he played at the club. And he had just turned the system into a technicolour soundscape! He was God and he was on my sound system!”
In the 28 years since the club first opened, dance music has morphed in so many different ways that we just don’t have room to document here. The Annual started off as a platform to serve music played inside the club to a wider audience, and later it arguably became bigger than the club itself. In later years, it set out a journey to educate the mainstream audience on dance music from the edges to the very centre. There’s no question that the series and the club has helped kick start the careers of countless artists over the years too. Intriguingly, some DJs – Armand Van Helden and Marc ‘MK’ Kinchen among them – are as popular now as they were twenty years ago and MK has had something of a creative and commercial rebirth since ‘Look Right Through’ by Storm Queen hit went to number one in 2012. Marc is now a bona fide DJ superstar, which isn’t something that often happens twenty years after your first commercial peak. And the dance music landscape today – which takes in everything from Calvin Harris to Sigala – is more pop and soul-flecked than ever before.
And while the OG Larry Levan sadly isn’t around to see what his creative spark inspired, we’re sure he would approve of the spirit and ethos that’s kept the club cooking ever since. “After broadband, all music became available to all people,” says Jules. “But the reality is that curation and trusted brands remain important. There’s an absurd number of releases every week and it’s essential to have a vehicle that cuts through.” Jules has also been involved in The Annual Classical, a full 50-piece orchestra performing iconic dance classics, completely reimagined. The success of those shows (“an incongruous combination!”) has demonstrated the power and love of the Annual brand in 2019… 25 years since it all began.
Here’s to the next twenty-five.