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).


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).


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).


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.

British Rock & Pop Awards 1976-1978

Have you ever heard of the British Rock & Pop Awards? Honestly, neither had I until very recently. They’re thought by some to have been the predecessor to the BPI Awards, which would later become the BRIT Awards, but the two ceremonies actually ran in parallel for a few years.

Over the next few weeks we’ll examine what seems to have been – as far as I can make out – the ceremony’s eight year history, from 1977 to 1984, using all the information which I could find online. Note that due to the sources used, some of the information may not be accurate.


The first ceremony seems to have taken place in 1977, celebrating the previous year of music, and was televised by ATV (a record exists in the BFI database here, with a second record here). If this book is to be believed, the award ceremony had a connection with the Daily Mirror too.

Winners and participants included:

  • The Bay City Rollers
  • David Essex
  • Eric Faulkner
  • Elton John and Kiki Dee
  • Paul McCartney / Wings (winners of Best Rock Band and Best Pop Band)
  • John Miles
  • Real Thing
  • Status Quo

Interestingly 1977 saw the British Record Industry Britannia Centenary Awards take place, which would later become the BRIT Awards. The presenter seems to have been Noel Edmonds, who of course appeared at the BRITs on a number of occasions too.


I can’t find any trace of a 1977 ceremony – perhaps it took a year off, or perhaps it has just been lost in time. Maybe one day, someone with a bit too much time on their hands will trawl through the press from the year and confirm for us.


The 1978 ceremony seems to have taken place on 11th April 1979, at the Café Royal, London, and this time was broadcast by the BBC (BFI record here). Presenters included Bob Wellings and David Jensen.

Kate Bush won Best Female Vocalist (see here and here). Dusty Springfield presented Best Group to Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees (see here).

Top of the Pops resident dancers Legs & Co performed a medley of Rod Stewart‘s D’Ya Think I’m SexyThe Bee Gees‘ Night FeverBrian and Michael‘s Matchstalk Men and You’re the One That I Want from Grease (see here).

The end credits from the ceremony, including footage from the awards, can be viewed here: Winners:

  • Best Single: Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
  • Best Album: ELO – Out of the Blue
  • Best Male Singer: Leo Sayer
  • Best Female Singer: Kate Bush
  • Best Group: The Bee Gees
  • Radio 1 DJs’ Award: Nick Lowe
  • Daily Mirror Readers’ Award: Ian Dury
  • Nationwide Golden Award: Barron Knights

A detailed write-up, including a review from Clive James, is available here. This post quotes this document, erroneously referring to the ceremony as having later become the BRIT Awards, but also describes further participants as including:

  • Dave Dee
  • Georgie Fame
  • Mary Hopkin
  • Hank Marvin

The event date is also corroborated by this post. The BBC TV series Nationwide covered the event on 15th February and 29th March.

We’ll work our way forward to 1979 next week!