British Rock & Pop Awards 1979-1981

From 1982 (confusingly the 1981 ceremony thanks to the year numbering) onwards, the British Rock & Pop Awards were happening concurrently with the British Record Industry Awards (later the BPI Awards, and even later the BRIT Awards).

1979

The awards for 1979 seem to have taken place on 26th February 1980. Simulcast on BBC TV and BBC Radio 1, and again at the Café Royal, London (see BFI record). Presented by Dave Lee Travis and Sue Lawley. Awards included:

  • Best Single
  • Best Album
  • Best Male Singer
  • Best Female Singer
  • Best Group or Band
  • Radio 1’s Disc Jockeys’ Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Pop Music
  • Daily Mirror Readers’ Award for the Outstanding Pop Personality
  • Nationwide Golden Award for the artist or group with the most all-round family appeal

Presenters included Barron KnightsKate BushMarianne FaithfullAndy Gibb, and Leo Sayer.

Rick Wakeman presented The Police with the Best Album award for Regatta de Blanc.

Kate Bush seems to have either won Best Female Singer for a second year running, or the previous entry was an error (see here). Paul McCartney won the Daily Mirror Readers’ Award.

Dave Lee Travis introduced John Peel to present Jerry Dammers with Radio 1’s Disc Jockeys’ Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Pop Music for his work with The Specials. Apparently Gary Numan also won “multiple awards” (see video entry for next year).

1980

Again presented by Dave Lee Travis and Sue Lawley (see BFI record here) on 24th February 1981. This entry on a Wikipedia talk page is largely apocryphal, but mentions The Jam winning the Best Single Award for Going Underground, which is mentioned in more detail here.

Best Male Singer nominees included:

  • Gary Numan
  • Cliff Richard
  • Paul McCartney
  • David Bowie

Winner: David Bowie. Presented by Lulu. See also image here and entry here. There’s an alternative recording of the video here.

Ultravox were nominated for Best Video for Passing Strangers, but failed to win.

Showaddywaddy were also in attendance according to this page, and MadnessAdam and the Ants, Hazel O’ConnorHot ChocolateMadness, and Ronnie Hazlehurst and His Orchestra all performed (see here).

1981

The 1981 ceremony took place on 8th February 1982 at the Lyceum, London, and were presented by Dave Lee Travis and Sue Cook (see BFI record).

Ultravox won the Best Single award for Vienna (see here). Toyah Willcox won the Best Female Singer award (see Daily Mirror article here and record company coverage here, but note that her IMDB biography is incorrect). She also performed I Want to Be Free:

Shakin’ Stevens also won the Best Male Singer award (see here), while Duran Duran were nominated for Best Newcomer, and performed Girls on Film and My Own Way (see here). Bananarama performed Shy Boy (see here).

If you would like to see the comparison, the 1982 BRIT Awards are covered here.

This series will continue next week with 1982.

The BPI Awards 1988

On February 8th 1988, Noel Edmonds once again presented the BPI Awards (the last show by that name) at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Apparently TV viewers didn’t get to see Rick Astley collecting his awards, which must have been a very great shame indeed.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1987 ceremony here, and the 1989 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Nominees:

  • George Michael – Faith
  • Pet Shop Boys – Actually
  • Sting – Nothing Like the Sun
  • Swing Out Sisters – It’s Better to Travel
  • T’Pau – Bridge of Spies

Winner: Sting

Best British Female

Presented by Chris de Burgh. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Samantha Fox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sinitta
  • Kim Wilde

Winner: Alison Moyet

Best British Group

Presented by Eddy Grant. Nominees:

  • The Bee Gees
  • Def Leppard
  • Level 42
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Whitesnake

Winner: Pet Shop Boys

Best British Male

Nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • George Michael
  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Steve Winwood

Winner: George Michael

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1 and readers of Radio Times. Presented by Mike Smith. First round nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • Black
  • The Christians
  • Curiosity Killed the Cat
  • Johnny Hates Jazz
  • Living in a Box
  • Mel and Kim
  • Pepsi and Shirlie
  • The Proclaimers
  • Swing Out Sisters
  • T’Pau
  • Wet Wet Wet

Second round nominees:

  • Rick Astley
  • The Christians
  • Johnny Hates Jazz
  • T’Pau
  • Wet Wet Wet

Winner: Wet Wet Wet

Best British Producer

Presented by Trevor Horn. Nominees:

  • Brian Eno
  • Julian Mendelsohn
  • Paul O’Duffy
  • Stock, Aitken and Waterman
  • Alan Tarney

Winner: Stock, Aitken and Waterman

Best British Single

Nominees:

  • Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up
  • Bananarama – Love in the First Degree
  • MARRS – Pump Up the Volume
  • Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
  • T’Pau – China in Your Hands

Winner: Rick Astley

Best British Video

Presented by Gary Davies.

Winner: New Order – True Faith

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Andrew Davies – The Mask of Time – Tippet
  • Vernon Handley – Symphony No 5 – Vaughan
  • Roger Norrington – Symphonies 2 and 8
  • Simon Rattle – Symphony No 2 – Mahler
  • Bryden Thomson – Piano Concertos 1 and 2

Winner: Vernon Handley

Best International Group

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Heart
  • Los Lobos
  • U2

Winner: U2

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Wayne Mailloux. Nominees:

  • Beastie Boys
  • Terence Trent D’Arby
  • LL Cool J
  • Los Lobos
  • Bruce Willis

Winner: Terence Trent D’Arby

Best International Solo Artist

Nominees:

  • Whitney Houston
  • Madonna
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Luther Vandross

Winner: Michael Jackson

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by The Bee Gees. Nominees:

  • Los Lobos / Various Artists – La Bamba
  • Original Cast Recording – Follies
  • Original Cast Recording – Les Miserables
  • Original Cast Recording – Phantom of the Opera
  • Various Artists – Dirty Dancing

Winner: Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: The Who

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 1989

Oh yes, 1989. The single most important year in the history of the BRITs. Broadcast live from London’s Royal Albert Hall, it’s the pop music event of the year. Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood famously presented for the first year that it was even called the BRIT Awards.

If you think that pairing a miniature Page Three model with an enormous Fleetwood Mac baldy might be a bad idea, you have little idea of the shambles which would follow. So disastrous was it, that the event wouldn’t be broadcast live for another decade. But on the plus side, we can watch the whole thing thanks to YouTube. So let’s sit back and enjoy the event of a lifetime in full. Part 1:

The show opens relatively poorly with Gloria Estefan, before the bizarrely paired hosts stumble on stage, eventually find their way to the microphones, and stumble their way through the show introduction.

Best British Single

Phil Collins arrives to put the hosts out of their misery, but disappointingly fails to kill either of them. Julian Lennon, although announced by the hosts, does not. Nominees:

  • Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day
  • Tanita Tikaram – Twist In My Sobriety
  • Tom Jones & Art of Noise – Kiss

Cue some embarrassed filling by the hosts while the winners try to find the stage.

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best British Group

Presented by the fabulous The Fo… the wonderful The Four… the brilliant The Four Tops. Oh, it’s Boy George. Nominees:

  • Christians
  • Def Leppard
  • Erasure
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Wet Wet Wet

Winner: Erasure.

Best International Male Solo Artist

This time, with a bit of culture (you know, because he was in Culture Club) it’s Boy Geo… oh, OK, The Four Tops. Nominees:

  • Alexander O’Neal
  • Luther Vandross
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Terence Trent D’Arby

A clean sweep for… why on earth did he feel it necessary to bring race into it? The Four Tops steal the award, claiming they’ll pass it onto the winner “at some point”.

Winner: Michael Jackson.

At which point Fairground Attraction start doing bird impressions.

Best International Female

In possibly the worst introduction yet, we learn that Madonna has been busy glorying in her bask. Presented by Michael Hutchence and John Farris out of INXS. Nominees:

  • Anita Baker
  • Enya
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Whitney Houston

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Best British Album

Presented by Carol Decker and Mike Rutherford. Nominees:

  • Aztec Camera – Love
  • Fairground Attraction – First of a Million Kisses
  • Pet Shop Boys – Introspective
  • Steve Winwood – Roll With It
  • The Pasadenas – To Whom It May Concern

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best International Group

Whose turn is it? Um… no idea, let’s just fade the hosts out. Presented by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme out of 10cc. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • INXS
  • U2
  • Womack & Womack

Winner: U2.

Next up, Yazz, who sat on top of the chart for five weeks. Which must have been uncomfortable. Then Mark Knopfler and Alan Price bang on about the BRITs School for a bit.

Best British Newcomer

In an interesting move designed to completely outfox (ha!) the presenters, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman turn up with a mystery third person, without having shown us a list of “possibilities”. So the only nominee we know about is:

  • Bros

What a dreadful acceptance speech. Thanks Mum.

Winner: Bros.

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox out of Eurythmics, who seem to have locked the winner in a studio. Nominees:

  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Enya
  • Michelle Shocked
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa
  • Tracy Chapman

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Def Leppard turn up for some heavy, heavy metal. And massive perms.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Courtney Pine and Mica Paris. Nominees:

  • Andre Previn – Violin & Viola Concertos: Walton
  • Jeffrey Tate – Opera Arias – Mozart – Kiri te Kanawa
  • Phillip Brunelle – Paul Bunyan – Britten
  • Simon Rattle – Symphony No 2 – Mahler
  • Trevor Pinnock – Messiah – Handel

Handel has been totally up there for loads of years.

Winner: Trevor Pinnock.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

If we’re not careful then the whole show might grind to an abysmal and moody halt. Which would leave everyone feeling very pleased, probably. Presented by Justin Hayward, someone else out of The Moody Blues, and Belinda Carlisle.

  • Buster (various artists)
  • Good Morning Vietnam (various artists)
  • Hairspray (various artists)
  • Rattle and Hum (U2)
  • The Princess Bride (Mark Knopfler)

Winner: Buster, accepted by Phil Collins and The Four Tops.

Tanita Tikaram then performs in a suit.

Best Music Video

Voted for by viewers of Going Live on BBC1, and presented by Jools Holland, outshouted by Ken Russell. Nominees:

  • Bananarama – Nathan Jones
  • George Harrison – When We Was Fab
  • Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
  • The Christians – Harvest for the World
  • Wet Wet Wet – Temptation

Winner: Michael Jackson.

Best British Male Solo Artist

By this stage we’ve pretty much settled into a pretty dreadful style. Presented by Joan Armatrading and Joe Elliott. Nominees:

  • Chris Rea
  • George Michael
  • Phil Collins
  • Robert Palmer
  • Steve Winwood

Winner: Phil Collins.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Tina Turner, complete with the kind of sexist introduction that you’ve never seen in any tabloid newspaper. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Mica Paris
  • Sade
  • Tanita Tikaram
  • Yazz

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Bros follow with a lot of jumping around.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by the chairman of the BPI Peter Jamieson, who should really have been hanging his head in shame by this stage.

Winner: Cliff Richard. After an appallingly pseudo-religious speech, Cliff deservedly leaves the stage to almost total silence.

Which artist could be singled out to close a show like this? I think we’d agree, no one. Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup close the show with a song which even the performers don’t even seem to be enjoying, and finally the thing comes to an end.

Performances

  • Bros – I Owe You Nothing
  • Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
  • Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup – Falling in Love
  • Tanita Tikaram – Good Tradition
  • Yazz – Got to Share

Further Reading / Viewing