Back in 2005, the seminal British political talk show Newsnight, and its sister channel Newsnight Review, held a series of cultural surveys. They sought to discover those albums, films, books, art and theater shows most important to their viewers.
Nobody quite foresaw what would happen next. People would have put money on The Beatles or Pink Floyd as certain winners in the music category.
It was Manic Street Preachers' The Holy Bible.
Newsnight's editors were left floundering. Chief Editor Peter Barron wrote, 'The biggest surprise was the triumph of The Holy Bible by the Manic Street Preachers, an album which I suspect most quintessential Newsnight employees have never heard. On the whole we're not big Manics fans, but I understand they like us.'
The album had beaten Dark Side of the Moon. Van Morrison's Astral Weeks was relegated to a mere fifth place. The Beatles weren't even there!
People who had been sniffing about the Manics since the early 90s were suddenly having to find excuses about it. Had fans of the Manics launched some kind of en masse voting operation, thus skewing the survey's results? Nope. It wasn't even mentioned on any forum.
The Holy Bible won because it is, in the words of the NME, 'a work of genuine genius'.
In October 2013, nineteen years after the album's release, NME named The Holy Bible the 44th greatest album of all time. In 2005, Kerrang! decided it was more like the 10th. In the same year, Rolling Stone waxed lyrical about the Manics, calling them 'Guns N' Roses with brains, a Welsh Public Enemy with guitars', and discussing The Holy Bible in terms of 'biblical in weight', ' sturdy, roaring beauty inside dense manifestos' and 'the life-affirming force that hits you with the very first song'.
Most of these accolades were referring to the 10th anniversary of the album - and particularly the remastered double CD release that accompanied it. We're now twenty years down the line. If you haven't heard it yet, then you're a little late to the party, but better late than never.
And for those who won't join in - on the general principle that it's Manic Street Preachers - then you deserve never to have heard The Holy Bible. That's YOUR nothing.