NME Poll Winners 1952-1992 (Part Two)

Finally, having worked through all the other categories, let’s take a look at the artist winners for the NME Polls from 1952 to 1992. As I mentioned last week, it’s hard to trace the winners of a particular category through time, so I’ve taken a few liberties. Essentially anything that seems to be roughly the same category has been treated as the same thing. Also, for the year ranges, there are a few missing years here and there, so for instance 1967-1970 could mean anything between 2 and 3 wins.

Best Newcomer

For thirty-five years, the NME Poll included a newcomer award, variously titled “World’s Most Promising New Name”, “Best New Group”, and various other things. It’s an amazing time capsule of new acts throughout the ages – who would have thought that Cliff Richard and The Stone Roses could appear on the same list?

Best New Artist

  • 1956 – Ronnie Scott
  • 1958 – Cliff Richard
  • 1959 – Craig Douglas
  • 1960 – Emile Ford
  • 1961 – John Leyton
  • 1962 – Frank Ifield
  • 1963 – Gerry Marsden
  • 1964 – Mick Jagger
  • 1965 – Seekers (group) & Donovan (solo)
  • 1966 – Spencer Davis Group (group) & Stevie Winwood (solo)
  • 1967 – Bee Gees (group) & Engelbert Humperdinck (solo)
  • 1968 – Love Affair (group & Mary Hopkins (solo)
  • 1970 – Jethro Tull
  • 1971 – McGuinness Flint (group) & Elton John (solo)
  • 1972 – New Seekers (group) & Rod Stewart (solo)
  • 1973 – Golden Earring (World) & Leo Sayer (British)
  • 1975 – Bad Company
  • 1976 – Eddie and the Hot Rods
  • 1977 – Tom Robinson
  • 1978 – Public Image Ltd.
  • 1979 – The Specials
  • 1980 – UB40
  • 1981 – Altered Images
  • 1983 – The Smiths
  • 1984 – Bronski Beat
  • 1985 – The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • 1986 – The Housemartins
  • 1987 – The Proclaimers
  • 1988 – The House of Love
  • 1989 – The Stone Roses
  • 1990 – The Charlatans
  • 1991 – Kingmaker
  • 1992 – Suede

Technical Categories

A lot of categories seem to have come and gone throughout the history of the awards to celebrate particular types of performer. Here are some of the highlights!

Musician of the Year

  • 1952 – Ronnie Scott
  • 1954 – Eric Delaney
  • 1957 – Eddie Calvert

Best Guitarist

  • 1954 – Bert Weedon
  • 1973 – Eric Clapton
  • 1976 – Jimmy Page
  • 1978 – Mick Jones
  • 1979-1982 – Paul Weller
  • 1983 – The Edge

Best Bassist

  • 1973, 1976 – Paul McCartney
  • 1978 – Jean Jacques Burnel
  • 1979-1982 – Bruce Foxton
  • 1983 – Peter Hook

Best Keyboardist/Electronics

  • 1973, 1976-1977 – Rick Wakeman
  • 1978-1981 – Dave Greenfield
  • 1982 – Vince Clarke
  • 1983 – Steve Nieve

Best Drummer

  • 1973, 1975 – Carl Palmer
  • 1976 – John Bonham
  • 1977 – Paul Cook
  • 1978 – Keith Moon
  • 1979-1982 – Rick Buckler
  • 1983 – Budgie

Best Instrumentalist

  • 1962-1963 – Jet Harris
  • 1973 – Roy Wood
  • 1975-1977 – Mike Oldfield
  • 1981 – Saxa
  • 1982 – The Emerald Express, Violin
  • 1983 – The TKO Horns
  • 1985 – Johnny Marr

Best Producer

  • 1973 – David Bowie
  • 1975 – Eddie Offord

Best Songwriter/Composer

  • 1973 – Elton John / Bernie Taupin
  • 1976 – Bob Dylan
  • 1978 – Elvis Costello
  • 1979-1982 – Paul Weller
  • 1983 – Elvis Costello
  • 1984-1985 – Morrissey / Johnny Marr

Best Solo Artist

Curiously, the solo artist categories were for the longest time broken up into “world”, “British”, and even “US” for a while.

Best Female Singer

  • 1952-1954 – Lita Roza
  • 1957 – Ruby Murray
  • 1958 – Alma Cogan
  • 1959-1961 – Connie Francis
  • 1962-1964 – Brenda Lee
  • 1965-1967 – Dusty Springfield
  • 1968 – Lulu
  • 1970 – Dusty Springfield
  • 1971-1973 – Diana Ross
  • 1975 – Joni Mitchell
  • 1976 – Linda Ronstadt
  • 1977 – Julie Covington
  • 1978 – Debbie Harry
  • 1979 – Kate Bush
  • 1981-1983 – Siouxsie Sioux
  • 1984-1986 – Elizabeth Fraser
  • 1987 – Suzanne Vega

Best British Female Singer

  • 1955, 1957 – Alma Cogan
  • 1959-1960 – Shirley Bassey
  • 1961-1962 – Helen Shapiro
  • 1963 – Kathy Kirby
  • 1964-1966 – Dusty Springfield
  • 1968, 1970 – Lulu
  • 1971-1972 – Cilla Black
  • 1973 – Maggie Bell
  • 1975 – Kiki Dee

Best US Female Singer

  • 1955-1957 – Doris Day
  • 1958 – Connie Francis

Best Male Singer

  • 1952-1954 – Dickie Valentine
  • 1955 – Frank Sinatra
  • 1956 – Dickie Valentine
  • 1958 – Frankie Vaughan
  • 1959-1962 – Elvis Presley
  • 1963 – Cliff Richard
  • 1964-1972 – Elvis Presley
  • 1973 – David Bowie
  • 1975-1976 – Robert Plant
  • 1977-1978 – David Bowie
  • 1979 – Sting
  • 1980 – Paul Weller
  • 1981 – David Bowie
  • 1982 – Paul Weller
  • 1983 – David Bowie
  • 1984 – Bono
  • 1985-1992 – Morrissey

Best British Male Singer

  • 1955, 1957 – Dickie Valentine
  • 1959-1967 – Cliff Richard
  • 1968-1970 – Tom Jones
  • 1971-1972 – Cliff Richard
  • 1973 – David Bowie
  • 1975 – Paul Rodgers

Best US Male Singer

  • 1955-1956 – Frank Sinatra
  • 1957 – Pat Boone
  • 1958 – Elvis Presley

Outstanding Popular Singer

  • 1955 – Frank Sinatra
  • 1957 – Pat Boone
  • 1958 – Elvis Presley

Best Instrumental Personality

  • 1958 – Eddie Calvert
  • 1959-1960 – Russ Conway
  • 1961 – Bert Weedon

Best Musical Personality

  • 1955 – Bill Haley
  • 1956 – Dickie Valentine
  • 1957-1959 – Elvis Presley
  • 1960 – Duane Eddy
  • 1961-1972 – Elvis Presley

Best British Musical Personality

  • 1956 – Dickie Valentine
  • 1957 – Tommy Steele
  • 1958-1959 – Frankie Vaughan
  • 1960 – Lonnie Donegan
  • 1961 – Adam Faith
  • 1962-1963 – Joe Brown
  • 1964 – Cliff Richard
  • 1965 – John Lennon
  • 1966-1972 – Cliff Richard

Genre-Specific Categories

These are just a selection of the categories that relate to a particular genre of music.

Best Soul / Funk Act

  • 1973, 1975 – Stevie Wonder
  • 1984 – Womack & Womack
  • 1985 – Cameo

Best Reggae Act

  • 1984 – Smiley Culture
  • 1985 – UB40

Best R&B / Blues Act

  • 1964-1965 – The Rolling Stones
  • 1966 – Spencer Davis Group
  • 1967-1968 – The Rolling Stones
  • 1970 – Fleetwood Mac

Best Traditional Jazz Act

  • 1961 – Acker Bilk
  • 1962-1963 – Kenny Ball

Best Group

Finally, we reach the categories for best group – of which there are a few.

Best Group

  • 1954 – Stargazers
  • 1955 – Four Aces
  • 1956 – Stargazers
  • 1957 – The Platters
  • 1958-1962 – Everly Brothers
  • 1963-1965 – The Beatles
  • 1966 – The Beach Boys
  • 1967-1970 – The Beatles
  • 1971 – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • 1972 – T. Rex
  • 1973 – Yes
  • 1975 – Roxy Music
  • 1976 – Led Zeppelin
  • 1977 – Sex Pistols
  • 1978 – The Clash
  • 1979-1982 – The Jam
  • 1983 – New Order
  • 1984-1987 – The Smiths
  • 1988 – The Wedding Present
  • 1989 – The Stone Roses
  • 1990 – Happy Mondays
  • 1991-1992 – R.E.M.

Best British Group

  • 1955 – Stargazers
  • 1957 – King Brothers
  • 1958-1959 – The Mudlarks
  • 1960 – King Brothers
  • 1961-1962 – The Springfields
  • 1963-1971 – The Beatles
  • 1972 – T. Rex
  • 1973 – Yes

Best British Small Band

  • 1952 – Johnny Dankworth Seven
  • 1954 – Ronnie Scott and His Orchestra
  • 1955-1957 – The Kirchins
  • 1958-1959 – Lonnie Donegan
  • 1960-1963 – The Shadows

Best British Large Band or Orchestra

  • 1952-1961 – Ted Heath and His Music
  • 1962-1963 – Joe Loss

Best British Instrumental Unit

  • 1964-1971 – The Shadows
  • 1972 – Collective Consciousness Society

Best Live Act

  • 1973 – Alice Cooper (World) & Genesis (British)
  • 1975 – Genesis
  • 1982 – The Jam
  • 1985 – The Pogues

That’s it for now – we’ll continue our journey through the NME Awards soon.

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NME Poll Winners – The 1970s

In 1972, NME celebrated its twentieth birthday, with the same anniversary of its poll winners awards ceremony the following year. Their readership seems to have been fascinatingly obsessed with Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley during the first half of the decade, and then in 1976 seem to have been very dismissive of the early Sex Pistols, before falling very deeply in love with them the following year.

1970

The NME website (and consequently Wikipedia, which definitely doesn’t include material copied from other websites) includes the 1971 results here by mistake, so I’ve tried to transcribe what I can read on the article scan. Apologies for the omissions:

  • British Male Singer: Tom Jones
  • World Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • British Female Singer: Lulu
  • Best TV/Radio Show: Top of the Pops, followed in second place by Top Gear
  • Top Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • Best Instrumental Unit: [illegible]
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • Best New Group: Jethro Tull
  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • New Disc Singer: [illegible]
  • British Blues Group: Fleetwood Mac

Due to the public’s obsession with Elvis and Cliff not entirely matching the contents of the magazine, this was the last of the live shows until 1994.

1971

There was no ceremony show from 1971 onwards, but there was still a poll, with the following winners:

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Diana Ross
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • World Vocal Group: Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Female Singer: Cilla Black
  • Best British Single: Mungo Jerry, for In the Summertime
  • Best TV/Radio Show: Top of the Pops
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • New Disc Singer: Elton John
  • Best New Group: McGuinness Flint
  • Top British Group: The Beatles
  • British Instrumental Unit: The Shadows
  • Top Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • Best British LP: The Beatles, for Let It Be

1972

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Diana Ross
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • World Vocal Group: T. Rex
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Female Singer: Cilla Black
  • British Vocal Group: T. Rex
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • British New Group: New Seekers
  • British Instrumental Unit: Collective Consciousness Society
  • TV or Radio Show: Top of the Pops
  • Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • New Disc Singer: Rod Stewart
  • Best 1971 Single Disc: George Harrison, for My Sweet Lord
  • Best 1971 Album: tied between T. Rex, for Electric Warrior and John Lennon, for Imagine

1973

  • British Male Singer: David Bowie
  • British Female Singer: Maggie Bell
  • British Group: Yes
  • British Stage Band: Genesis
  • Most Promising New Name (British): Leo Sayer
  • Disc Jockey: John Peel
  • TV Show: Old Grey Whistle Test
  • British Single: The Who, for 5.15
  • British Album: Pink Floyd, for The Dark Side of the Moon
  • Best Guitarist: Eric Clapton
  • Best Keyboardist: Rick Wakeman
  • Best Bass Guitarist: Paul McCartney
  • Best Drummer: Carl Palmer
  • Best Producer: David Bowie
  • Best Instrumentalist: Roy Wood
  • Best Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin
  • Best Soul Act: Stevie Wonder
  • Best Dressed Album: Yes, for Yessongs
  • World Singer: David Bowie
  • World Female Singer: Diana Ross
  • World Group: Yes
  • World Stage Band: Alice Cooper
  • World Album: Pink Floyd, for The Dark Side of the Moon
  • World Single: Golden Earring, for Radar Love
  • World’s Most Promising New Name: Golden Earring

1974

Again, the NME website and Wikipedia have repeated the 1973 results here by mistake, but this time unfortunately there is no alternative source for the results.

1975

  • British Male Singer: Paul Rodgers
  • British Female Singer: Kiki Dee
  • British Group: Roxy Music
  • British Stage Band: Genesis
  • British Disc Jockey: Noel Edmonds
  • British Music TV Show: The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • Most Promising New Name: Bad Company
  • Music Radio Show: Alan Freeman Show
  • World Male Singer: Robert Plant
  • World Female Singer: Joni Mitchell
  • Drummer: Carl Palmer
  • Misc. Instrument: Mike Oldfield
  • Producer: Eddie Offord
  • Album: Rod Stewart, for Smiler
  • Single: Bad Company, for Can’t Get Enough
  • Best Dressed LP: Yes, for Relayer
  • Soul Act: Stevie Wonder
  • Klutz of the Year: Steve Harley

1976

  • Best Group: Led Zeppelin
  • Best Female Singer: Linda Ronstadt
  • Turkey of the Year: Sex Pistols, with Johnny Rotten in second place, and “punk rock” in third
  • Best Male Singer: Robert Plant
  • Most Promising Emergent Act: Eddie and the Hot Rods
  • Best Keyboardist: Rick Wakeman
  • Best Drummer: John Bonham
  • Best Songwriter/Composer: Bob Dylan
  • Best Television Show: The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • Best Disc Jockey: John Peel
  • Most Missed Dead Act: Jimi Hendrix
  • Best Guitarist: Jimmy Page
  • Best Single: Thin Lizzy, for The Boys Are Back In Town
  • Best Album: Led Zeppelin, for The Song Remains The Same
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Johnny Rotten
  • Best Miscellaneous Instrumentalist: Mike Oldfield
  • Best Radio Show: Alan Freeman‘s Saturday Show
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: Led Zeppelin, for The Song Remains The Same
  • Best Bassist: Paul McCartney

1977

  • Best Group: Sex Pistols
  • Best New Group/Act: Tom Robinson
  • Male Singer: David Bowie
  • Female Singer: Julie Covington
  • Best Album: Sex Pistols, for Never Mind the Bollocks
  • Best Single: Sex Pistols, for God Save the Queen
  • Keyboards: Rick Wakeman
  • Drummer: Paul Cook
  • Misc. Instrument: Mike Oldfield
  • Disc Jockey: John Peel
  • Radio Show: John Peel Show
  • TV Show: The Old Grey Whistle Test
  • Event of the Year: Elvis dying
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Johnny Rotten
  • Prat of the Year: Freddie Mercury

1978

  • Best Male Singer: David Bowie
  • Best Female Singer: Debbie Harry
  • Best Album: The Jam, for All Mod Cons
  • Best Single: The Clash, for (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
  • Best Songwriter: Elvis Costello
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: The Rolling Stones, for Some Girls
  • Best Group: The Clash
  • Best New Group: Public Image Ltd.
  • Best Guitarist: Mick Jones
  • Best Bassist: Jean Jacques Burnel
  • Best Keyboardist: Dave Greenfield
  • Best Drummer: Keith Moon
  • Best DJ: John Peel
  • Best Radio Show: John Peel Show
  • Best TV Show: Revolver
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: Sid Vicious
  • Pin-Up of the Year: Debbie Harry
  • Film: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Creep of the Year: John Travolta

1979

  • Male Singer: Sting
  • Songwriter: Paul Weller
  • Best Group: The Jam
  • Guitarist: Paul Weller
  • Bassist: Bruce Foxton
  • Keyboards: Dave Greenfield
  • Drums: Rick Buckler
  • Female Singer: Kate Bush
  • Best New Act: The Specials
  • Most Wonderful Human Being: John Peel
  • Image of the Year: Gary Numan
  • Creep of the Year: Gary Numan
  • Single: The Specials, for Gangsters
  • Album: The Jam, for Setting Sons
  • TV Programme: Fawlty Towers
  • Best Dressed Sleeve: Public Image Ltd., for Metal Box
  • Disc Jockey: John Peel
  • Radio Show: John Peel Show
  • Face of the Decade: Johnny Rotten
  • Farce of the Decade: Mod Revival
  • Film of the Year: Quadrophenia

See also

NME Poll Winners – The 1960s

By the 1960s, the names of the NME Poll Winners should be starting to become rather more familiar to you. The timelines are still a bit confusing, with one year apparently missing in its entirety, but hopefully this will make some kind of sense.

1960

Held at Wembley’s Empire Bowl, presented by Connie Francis.

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Connie Francis
  • World Vocal Group: Everly Brothers
  • World Musical Personality: Duane Eddy
  • British Vocal Group: King Brothers
  • British Large Band or Orchestra: Ted Heath
  • British Female Singer: Shirley Bassey
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Vocal Personality: Lonnie Donegan
  • British Small Group: The Shadows
  • Best British Disc of the Year: The Shadows, for Apache
  • New Disc or TV Singer: Emile Ford
  • Instrumental Personality: Russ Conway
  • Artist for Poll Concert: Adam Faith
  • Disc Jockey: David Jacobs

Apache was first released in July 1960, so this is the 1960 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1961.

1961

Held at Wembley’s Empire Bowl, presented by Brenda Lee.

  • World Female Singer: Connie Francis
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Vocal Group: Everly Brothers
  • British Vocal Personality: Adam Faith
  • British Vocal Group: The Springfields
  • Instrumental Personality: Bert Weedon
  • British Small Group: The Shadows
  • British Large Band or Orchestra: Ted Heath
  • Best British Disc of the Year: John Leyton, for Johnny Remember Me
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • Artist For Poll Concert: Billy Fury
  • British Traditional Jazz Band: Acker Bilk
  • British Female Singer: Helen Shapiro
  • New Disc or TV Singer: John Leyton
  • Disc Jockey: David Jacobs

Johnny Remember Me was first released in July 1961, so this is the 1961 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1962.

1962

Presented by Roger Moore.

  • World’s Outstanding Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World’s Outstanding Female Singer: Brenda Lee
  • World’s Outstanding Vocal Group: Everly Brothers
  • World’s Outstanding Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Female Singer: Helen Shapiro
  • British Vocal Group: The Springfields
  • British Vocal Personality: Joe Brown
  • British Solo Instrumentalist: Jet Harris
  • British Large Band/ Orchestra: Joe Loss
  • British Small Group: The Shadows
  • British Traditional Jazz Band: Kenny Ball
  • British Disc Jockey: David Jacobs
  • British New Disc or TV Singer: Frank Ifield
  • British Best Disc in 1962: Frank Ifield, for I Remember You
  • Artist for Poll Concert: Billy Fury

This version of I Remember You was first released in May 1962, so this is the 1962 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1963.

1963

Held at Wembley’s Empire Bowl, 3 May 1964, presented by Roy Orbison.

  • World Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • World Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Brenda Lee
  • British Vocal Personality: Joe Brown
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Large Band or Orchestra: Joe Loss
  • British Small Group: The Shadows
  • British Traditional Jazz Band: Kenny Ball
  • Best British Disc Of The Year: The Beatles, for She Loves You
  • British Female Singer: Kathy Kirby
  • Artist For Poll Concert: Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • Disc Jockey: David Jacobs
  • New Disc or TV Singer: Gerry Marsden
  • Solo Instrumentalist: Jet Harris

She Loves You was first released in July 1963, so this is the 1963 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1964.

1964

Held at Wembley’s Empire Pool, April 1965, presented by Tony Bennett.

  • Outstanding Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • Outstanding Female Singer: Brenda Lee
  • Outstanding Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • Outstanding Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • British Rhythm and Blues: The Rolling Stones
  • British Instrumental Unit: The Shadows
  • British TV or Radio Programme: Ready Steady Go!
  • British Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • British New Disc or TV Singer: Mick Jagger
  • British Disc This Year: The Animals, for The House of the Rising Sun

The House of the Rising Sun was first recorded by The Animals in May 1964, so this is the 1964 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1965.

1965

Presented by Jimmy Savile.

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • British R & B Group: The Rolling Stones
  • Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • World Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • World Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Vocal Personality: John Lennon
  • British Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • New Disc or TV Singer: Donovan
  • British Instrumental Unit: The Shadows
  • Best New Group: Seekers
  • Best TV or Radio Show: Top of the Pops
  • Best New Disc of the Year: The Rolling Stones, for (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was first released in June 1965, so this is the 1965 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1966.

1966

Held at Wembley Pool, presented by Jimmy Savile and Simon Dee.

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • World Vocal Group: The Beach Boys
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Instrumental Unit: The Shadows
  • Best Male Singer: Cliff Richard
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • Best R&B Group: Spencer Davis
  • Best TV/Radio Show: Top of the Pops
  • Top Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • British Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • New Disc Singer: Stevie Winwood
  • Best New Group: Spencer Davis
  • Best British Disc This Year: The Beatles, for Eleanor Rigby

Eleanor Rigby was first released in August 1966, so this is the 1966 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1967.

1967

Presented by Roger Moore.

  • World’s Top Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • Best R & B Group: The Rolling Stones
  • Britain’s Top Singer: Cliff Richard
  • World’s Top Female Singer: Dusty Springfield
  • Top DJs: Jimmy Savile
  • Top TV Show: Top of the Pops
  • Best New Singer: Engelbert Humperdinck
  • Best New Group: Bee Gees

1968

Held at Wembley’s Empire Pool, 11 May 1969, presented by Jimmy Savile and Tony Blackburn.

  • World Male Singer: Elvis Presley
  • World Female Singer: Lulu
  • World Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • World Musical Personality: Elvis Presley
  • British Vocal Group: The Beatles
  • British Female Singer: Lulu
  • Top Disc Jockey: Jimmy Savile
  • Best TV/ Radio Show: Top of The Pops
  • Best New Group: Love Affair
  • British Vocal Personality: Cliff Richard
  • British R&B Group: The Rolling Stones
  • Best British Disc This Year: The Beatles, for Hey Jude
  • British Male Singer: Tom Jones
  • New Disc Singer: Mary Hopkins
  • British Instrumental Unit: The Shadows

Hey Jude was first released in August 1968, so this is the 1968 poll, for which the party would have been in early 1969.

1969

Despite what the NME website says, I don’t believe there was a 1969 poll, hence there being no results to print. The ceremony related to the 1968 poll, detailed above.

See also

Pet Shop Boys – Actually

By 1987, thirty years ago this week, Pet Shop Boys were comfortably at the top of their game. Actually may have only peaked at number two on the charts, but it yielded two number one singles, plus another number one that wasn’t actually on the album (Always on My Mind), a number two, and another top ten hit. That’s quite impressive, by anybody’s standards.

It opens with One more chance, one of the many songs that they originally recorded with Bobby O in 1984, and that had already been released as a single in some territories. They completely re-recorded it for their second album, and then remixed it as a 12″ version, removing an entire verse in the process, and that’s the version that opens the album. Putting 12″ mixes on your album was still considered pretty revolutionary at this point, and so this is an unusual but undeniably catchy opener.

Then Dusty Springfield turns up out of nowhere – literally, as she had barely recorded anything for about a decade – to duet on the brilliant What have I done to deserve this? The shift of dynamic is ingenious – neither of the first two tracks really have much in common with anything on the debut album Please, and yet they still sound familiar.

Shopping is next, a social commentary on Thatcherite 1980s Britain. This is the single that never was – it’s catchy and you’ve almost certainly heard it before, but it was never released anywhere apart from on Actually. In a way it has some similarities to Opportunities (Let’s make lots of money) from the first album, and you have to wonder whether they intentionally wrote it as a “catchy” song. Pretty good though.

The singles alternate on each side of the album, so next comes the album’s one flop – the autumn single Rent only peaked at number 8. It’s a beautiful track though, one of the gentlest of Pet Shop Boys‘ early career, supplemented on the single by a couple of brilliant François Kevorkian remixes. The album version is a bit more plodding than the single mix, but still a brilliant track.

The pressure to write hit singles was clearly on at this stage, and so Hit Music pastiches a number of other people’s songs. It’s my least favourite track on here, but you can still easily appreciate the songwriting talent behind it – there’s a wonderful melancholy in the middle section that seems to appear from nowhere. This is also the second of three consecutive songs to talk about paying bills and rent (It Couldn’t Happen Here contains the line “Who pays your bills?”) which does make you wonder slightly what was going through Neil Tennant‘s mind at the time.

Side B opens with the slowest track on here, the exceptional It Couldn’t Happen Here. Famously co-written with Ennio Morricone and scored by Angelo Badalementi, it’s a beautifully melancholic piece about a friend of Neil Tennant‘s who had been diagnosed with AIDS. It also gave its name to the 1988 film which Pet Shop Boys famously released when they were unable to fund the tour they wanted to stage.

This leads to the enormous opening single It’s a Sin. If you don’t like this, you have no soul. Appearing on pretty much every top 100 list in the last thirty years, it hit number one across most of Western Europe and made the top ten pretty much everywhere else. With an appropriately overblown video to accompany it, it is a truly era-defining track.

I Want to Wake Up is the only track on here other than Hit Music that realistically never would have been a single, but it’s a strong album track. Strangely, Johnny Marr chose to rework it for his 1993 Remix, which took it to a very different place. Then the album version of Heart is, of course, not quite as good as the version that topped the charts six months or so later, but it’s still an excellent song, particularly when you reach the trick ending.

Nothing can really prepare you for the haunting quality of Kings Cross, another song about Margaret Thatcher, the then-British Prime Minister who was at the time busy selling off the nation’s public services. But even a conservative would appreciate this song on some level – it’s an exceptionally beautiful, if poignant, closing track.

So Actually sees Pet Shop Boys at their chart-topping, era-defining best, and anything that followed could never be this good. Or could it? If nothing else, the thirty years that have followed have been full of surprises.

At the time of writing, your best bet is to wait a little before purchasing Actually. It will be available again soon with the accompanying disc Further Listening 1987-1988.

Stowaway Heroes – Shep Pettibone

One of the most important names of the 1980s is Shep Pettibone. You’ll know him from multiple remixes and production credits, but there’s a good chance that you don’t actually know anything about him. Me neither, frankly, so let’s start with something we can all agree on – the brilliance of his 1986 remix of Love Comes Quickly, by Pet Shop Boys:

The New York-based DJ would work with Pet Shop Boys a number of times between 1986 and 1988, working on ten tracks in total. But by 1986, Pettibone was already half a decade into his career, having cut his teeth on Afrika Bambaataa‘s Jazzy Sensation in 1981:

His CV for the late 1980s is impressive to say the least, including remixes and production work for Art of NoiseThe B-52sBee GeesBrosDavid BowieDepeche ModeDuran DuranDusty SpringfieldElton JohnErasure, FalcoGeorge MichaelJanet JacksonNew OrderRun DMCWhitney Houston and many others. But his most prolific collaborator seems to have been Madonna, who used his services no less than sixteen times between 1985 and 1993. Here’s Into the Groove:

His mixes were undeniably of their time, with huge drum fills and solos, and a lot of orchestral hits – so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that his remix work dried up somewhat in the 1980s. But if you’re looking for someone who heavily impacted the sound of a particular era, Shep Pettibone should be very high on your list.

Chart for stowaways – 22 April 2017

Not too many changes at the top of the charts at the moment, but here’s an update of the albums:

  1. Depeche Mode – Spirit
  2. New Order – Lost Sirens
  3. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  4. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  5. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  6. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
  7. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  8. Dusty Springfield – Reputation
  9. Clark – Death Peak
  10. Depeche Mode – The Best Of – Vol 1

Chart for stowaways – 8 April 2017

Here are this week’s top albums:

  1. Depeche Mode – Spirit
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  3. New Order – Lost Sirens
  4. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  5. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène Trilogy
  6. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye
  7. Dusty Springfield – Reputation
  8. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  9. Soft Cell / Marc Almond – Hits And Pieces – The Best Of
  10. David Bowie – Legacy