Massive Attack’s Angel – Everything You Need to Know About This Song!

First Released On: 20th April 1998

Duration: 06:18

Variations/Remixes:

Blur Remix – A remix undertaken by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon of Blur, which is far removed from the regular version, which has polarized many fans to its quality (or lack of!). This was Damon Albarn’s first remix for another artist that was released. He worked with remixing some of Tricky’s songs, two years before, but the pair fell out with each other and the material was never released. Included on all single releases.

Mad Professor Remix – The Mad Professor once more remixes a Massive Attack single. Included only on the promo 12″ vinyl release, and then only in a truncated form, until the arrival of the Singles 90/98 Box Set where this remix was included on CD in its full form.

Radio Edit – A truncated version of the song for radio playback. Trims off much of the beginning and end of the song. Included only on promo releases and on the Singles 90/98 Box Set.

Credits:

Written by Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles and Horace Hinds

Produced by Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles and Neil Davidge

For the Collected version of the song, additional credits are:

Remastered by Mike Marsh at the Exchange and Tim Young at Metropolis Mastering.

Sampled:

Angel uses a sample from the song “Last Bongo In Belgium” by The Incredible Bongo Band. It appears primarily on their 1973 release Bongo Rock. It is not credited officially by Massive Attack.

Vocalist(s):

Horace Andy

Lyrics:

You are my angel

Come from way above

To bring me love

Her eyes

She’s on the dark side

Neutralize

Every man in sight

To love you, love you, love you …

You are my angel

To love you, love you, love you …

History:

Originally, Angel was intended to be a very different sounding song, as it was to be a cover of “Straight To Hell” by The Clash that would have also have included a sample from an old Sex Gang Children record. For this cover version, 3D had earmarked Horace Andy as being the ideal vocalist but by the time it came to record his vocals in London’s Olympic Studios they hit a snag. Horace Andy, a religious man, was unwilling to sing the word “hell” in The Clash song so at the last minute, unexpectedly Massive Attack were forced to improvise a new song on the spot to accommodate Horace Andy’s refusal. In the space of merely four hours, they stripped away much of the originally prepared track, wrote a new melody around it, halved the tempo and removed the Sex Gang Children sample entirely. Finally to use as lyrics for this new untitled song, they took the lyrics almost directly from Horace Andy’s own song You Are My Angel.

Additional Info:

Angel was the third single released from Mezzanine

Horace Andy is credited as Horace Hinds on Angel as this is has real name with “Andy” being his stage name.

It is quite probably the most used Massive Attack song in both TV and movie soundtracks ever having appeared in countless different filmed media. See the Videography section for a sampling of what Angel has been used in.

Live Appearances:

Angel was first played live in it’s finished state at the Olympia in Dublin, Ireland on 15th April 1998. It has since become ome of the permanent fixtures of Massive Attack’s live show, hardly ever leaving the setlist except in the very rare times that Horace Andy was not available to do live vocals. On the 1998/1999 tour, Angel served as the opening song in most cases and duly had a long intro sequence of roughly two minutes before the entrance of Horace Andy’s vocals, but in subsequent tours this intro has been shortened down to only about half a minute. On the 2008 tour, Angel was moved till near the end of the live show typically being the first of the 3/4 encore songs.

Quotes:

Mushroom on Angel – “I like the simplicity of it. You see, I’ve always liked the earlier albums and the elements in that and Angel really takes me back to things on Protection and Blue Lines” [Mezzanine Interview Disc – March 1998]

3D on the meaning behind Angel – “As with many of the tracks [on Mezzanine], it deals with relationships: what you expect from a woman and what you actually get back” [Vox Magazine – May 1998]

3D on the initial recording of Angel – “In the space of four hours we stripped all the music away, wrote loads of stuff around it, keeping some of the old melody, putting in Horaces’ new melodies, taking the Sex Gang sample away, halving the tempo and adding new words” [Q Magazine – January 1999]



Source by Richard Coffey

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