This year, unbelievably, the Manic Street Preachers clockéd up their 22nd British Top 40 hit with the sitar-flecked, tidal pop of Tsunami. In capping the first half of what has already been an astounding 1999 for the trio, the steam-rolling worldwide success of the Manic Street Preachers' fifth album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, continued apace.
Not only did the record scoop the Best Album award at the Brits - the first time any group has received the accolade twice consecutively, following in the wake of '97 winner Everything Must Go - but the trio were again voted Best British Band. At this point, in fact, it has to be suspected that the Manic Street Preachers' trophy cabinet might even rival that of Manchester United's, with these new awards sardined in alongside their Ivor Novello and Brit for A Design For Life, not forgetting their 1998 Q Award for Best Band In The World Today.
All in all, it's a remarkable list of achievements for the band who have long - and spectacularly - reneged on their manifesto promise to split after the release of their double album debut, Generation Terrorists, in 1992.
That's not to say that the Manic Street Preachers have simply become pillars of the establishment, trading in their initial uncompromising stance for an armful of glittering prizes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, bassist Nicky Wire's mouth Continues to get him into trouble - his recent onstage comments about the proportions of Billy Bragg's hooter acting as something of a tantalising appetiser to what he might come out with as of their V99 set.
In fact, the Manic Street Preachers managed to get up establishment noses in May of this year, when they refused to perform at a concert celebrating the historic opening of the Welsh Assembly - alongside Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church and Alarm - because it entailed the age old anti-monarchists performing in front of the Queen.
But, then again, the Manic Street Preachers' instincts have served them well. The manner in which the group managed to survive the disappearance of Richey Edwards in 1995 - while "frozen with disbelief", in the words of Nicky Wire - and make such a triumphant return has been compared, not least by the group themselves, in their desire to find dignified parallels, to the birth of New Order out of Joy Division following the suicide of singer Ian Curtis.
This episode - and indeed the whole head-spinning history of the most unlikely million-selling rock band of the '90s - was expertly chronicled earlier this year by author Simon Price in his Virgin biography, Everything: A Book About Manic Street Preachers, and examined in visual detail in BBC2's Close Up documentary last year.
This, essentially, is what makes the Manic Street Preachers' presence on the V99 bill all the more special - the very fact that they're still with us. Typically, however, Wire maintains that the
group's apocalyptic final appearance with Edwards at London's Astoria in 1994, when they trashed £210,000 worth of their own equipment, was the dramatic peak of their live career. "We'll never
be that good again," he insists.
Despite this, the Blackwood-born trinity have since maintained a touring schedule that would likely exhaust many of their contemporaries. The band's seemingly never-ending world jaunt has this year alone taken in three different continents, with gigs in Japan, Europe and Australia. The rewards are there to be seen however - This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours has now officially become the Manic Street Preachers' most successful album ever, achieving triple platinum status. Perhaps of greater personal significance, however, on 30 August last year, the single If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next became the group's first British number one (A Design For Life having been frustratingly held off the top slot by Mark Morrison's Return Of The Mack). In keeping with their growing domesticity, Nicky Wire has hinted that the band's next album may be a mellower affair - "a tender, soft record", perhaps in the vein of Bruce Springsteen's intimate, stripped-down collection, Nebraska.
Maybe then - keeping in mind the amount of business that he's done for them in flagging up the wonders of their products - the gangly bassist might consider doing a sponsorship deal with the
makers of Dyson vacuum cleaners...