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"Unfinished Sympathy"
Single by Massive Attack featuring Shara Nelson
from the album Blue Lines
Released 11 February 1991
Format CD, 12", Cassette
Recorded 1990
Genre Trip hop
Length 5:14
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Grantley Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Robert Del Naja, Jonathan Sharp, Shara Nelson
Producer Massive Attack, Jonny Dollar
Massive Attack featuring Shara Nelson singles chronology
"Daydreaming"
(1990)
"Unfinished Sympathy"
(1991)
"Safe from Harm"
(1991)

"Unfinished Sympathy" is a song by Massive Attack. The song originally appeared on the group's 1991 debut album Blue Lines, and was the second single released from the album on 11 February 1991. It features Shara Nelson on lead vocals, and is generally recognized as a pioneering song in the trip hop genre. It is also one of the group's most successful singles, reaching #13 in the UK Singles Chart and #1 in the Dutch Top 40. It was written by Grantley Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Robert Del Naja, Jonathan Sharp, Shara Nelson. At the time of the release of the single, the group was pressured to change its name due to the outbreak of the Gulf War in 1991. They were briefly known as simply "Massive," and it is the name which features on the cover of this single.[1]

The song has been covered by Tina Turner for her 1996 album Wildest Dreams, and her version reached #9 in France.

Contents

Song information

The percussion loop of the song is based on a "belly break" sampled from a Bob James' cover of Paul Simon's "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" which was also used by Run DMC on "Peter Piper."[2]. The voice at the beginning of the song is a sample of John McLaughlin, whose voice was sampled without clearance.[3]

Track listing

  1. "Unfinished Sympathy" – 5:14
  2. "Unfinished Sympathy" (Nellee Hooper 7" Mix) – 4:33
  3. "Unfinished Sympathy" (Nellee Hooper 12" Mix) – 5:49
  4. "Unfinished Sympathy" (Perfecto Mix) – 5:17
  5. "Unfinished Sympathy" (Instrumental) – 4:08

Samples

Music video

The video for "Unfinished Sympathy" was directed by Baillie Walsh, and filmed in January 1991 on West Pico Boulevard between S. New Hampshire Avenue and Dewey Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Dan Kneece, SOC was the Steadicam Operator. Scott Ressler was the Focus Puller. John Mathieson, who later went on to shoot Gladiator for Ridley Scott, was the DP. It features Shara Nelson walking along the sidewalk, unaware or uncaring of her surroundings, which includes drunks, gangs, bikers and the three members of Massive Attack (Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles). It was one of the earliest music videos to use one continuous shot. The video was later paid homage to in the music video for The Verve's song "Bitter Sweet Symphony".[4] The art director for the video was Leigh Bowery.

Critical acclaim

In European media, "Unfinished Sympathy" has frequently been placed highly on lists of "the best songs of all time":

  • The TV Channel MTV2 in the UK ranked it #1 in a poll of the best songs of all time
  • Face Magazine (UK) - Singles of the Year, ranking #1[1]
  • Melody Maker (UK) - Singles of the Year, ranking #1[2]
  • New Musical Express (UK) - Singles of the Year, ranking #8[3]
  • Iguana (Spain) - Singles of the Year, ranking #2 [4]
  • A BBC Radio 2 poll ranked it #44 in the best songs of all time
  • Reviewer Julie Burchill has described as her favourite song of all time.
  • Dance music producer Darren Tate has described as his favourite record ever
  • Mixmag (UK) - The 100 Best Dance Singles of All Time (1996) 10
  • New Musical Express (UK) - The Top 100 Singles of All Time (2002) 10
  • Q (UK) - The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003), ranking #37
  • Q (UK) - Top 20 Singles from 1980-2004 (2004), ranking #8
  • RDL (Spain) - The 100 Best Songs from 1990 to 1998 (1999), ranking #1
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The Top 100 Songs from 1984-1993 (1993), ranking #4
  • BBC Radio 1 (1998), ranking #1
  • Q Magazine (1998), ranking #15
  • EveryHit.com poll of poll, ranking #21
  • Triple J Hottest 100 Of All Time 2009 (Australia), ranking #93

See also

References

External links

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Simple English

"Unfinished Sympathy"
Single by Massive Attack featuring Shara Nelson
from the album Blue Lines
Released 11 February 1991
Format 7", 12", CD
Recorded 1990
Genre Trip hop
Length 5:12
Label Virgin Records
Writer(s) Grantley Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Robert Del Naja, Jonathan Sharp, Shara Nelson
Producer Massive Attack, Jonny Dollar
Massive Attack featuring Shara Nelson singles chronology

"Daydreaming"
(1990)
"Unfinished Sympathy"
(1991)
"Safe from Harm"
(1991)
Shara Nelson singles chronology
"Daydreaming"
(1990)
"Unfinished Sympathy"
(1991)
"Safe from Harm"
(1991)

Unfinished Sympathy is a song by trip-hop band Massive Attack. It was released in 1991.


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