Info → Angel
UK Release: 13th July 1998
UK Highest Chart: #30
Track Duration: 06:18
Formats: CD, Vinyl, Cassette, Digital. View Discography Entry.
Written By: Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles and Horace Hinds
Produced By: Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, Andrew Vowles and Neil Davidge
Promo Video Directed By: Walter Stern
Video Producer: Laura Kanerick
2nd Assistant Director: Gin Clarke
Costume Designer: Emma Sutton
Filming Location: Metropolitan Car Park & Old Goods Yard, Paddington, London, UK
Date Of Filming: 8th - 10th June 1998
Video Duration: 05:23
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.
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 External Links section at the bottom of the page for a sampling of what Angel has been used in.
Since the Mezzanine era, Angel has become one 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. From the 2008 tour onwards, Angel was moved till near the end of the live show typically being the first of the 4/5 encore songs.
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.
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.
Heavy metal band Sepultura covered Angel for inclusion on their limited release EP “Revolusongs” which came out in 2002.
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]
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 …
At the time of the single release of Angel, Massive Attack decided (for cited reasons as not capturing the mood of the song) to not use the already shot promo video for Angel (which had reputably cost £20,000 to shoot) to promote the single. For this reason the video would remain unseen for over three years where it would finally see the light of day on the Eleven Promos DVD release.
Neil Davidge also appears in this video as one of the angry mob chasing Daddy G.
An edited version of Angel is used for the video reducing the length of the video to nearly a minute shorter than the album version. This edit does not appear on any other release besides the video.
3D on why the video for Angel was never officially released until the advent of the Eleven Promos DVD – “We never put it out at the time because we felt it didn’t represent what we were trying to put across. It was a good piece of film but it didn’t achieve what we felt the song had in it, the song had drama to it and so did the video but the video didn’t really represent the song. But looking back on it, its still a good piece of work. It needs to be in [Eleven Promos] for historical reasons, just for the time line” [The Raft – November 2001]
- PopCornNoises.com Review
- NPA 1998 Live Performance
- T In The Park 2004 Live Performance
- Wireless Festival 2006 Live Performance
- Glastonbury 2008 Live Performance
- Adidas 1998 TV Ad Featuring Angel On The Soundtrack
- Emporio Armani 1998 TV Ad Featuring Angel On The Soundtrack
- Clip From The 1999 Movie “Go” Featuring Angel On The Soundtrack
- Clip From The 2000 Movie “Snatch” Featuring Angel On The SoundtrackClip From The 2001 Movie “Antitrust” Featuring Angel On The Soundtrack
- Clip From The 2006 Movie “Firewall” Featuring Angel On The Soundtrack