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.

1976

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.

1977

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.

1978

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiKQJz34xv0 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!

Claudia Brücken – The Lost Are Found

Part of the reason for keeping this blog running for so long is that it has helped me find out about new music, where otherwise it might have just passed me by. Claudia Brücken‘s last album The Lost Are Found is a perfect example of this – I simply never would have known about it if I hadn’t chanced upon it earlier this year, while writing another piece.

Brücken has a slightly bizarre, illustrious career, which we examined in more detail a year or so ago when reviewing the brilliant Combined compilation. On this latest album, she has expanded on the brilliant Thank You by working again with producer/genius Stephen Hague to record an entire album. Curiously, it’s also a cover versions album, and it includes some very odd choices – some good; others not so special – but all interesting.

It opens with The Mysteries of Love, written by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti for the Blue Velvet soundtrack, and originally performed by Julee Cruise. Without Cruise’s haunting vocal style it’s perhaps not the strongest opener ever, but it’s a pleasant enough track. Next up is Memories of a Color, packed with bizarre pad sounds. The original was Swedish singer Stina Nordenstam‘s debut single in 1992, and on this album it helps to build a pleasant mood which prevails throughout the entire release.

The Day I See You Again was originally performed by Dubstar back in 1995, and curiously although much of that album was produced by Stephen Hague, this track was not. Although not tremendously different from the original, it’s still an extremely good song, and the duo of Brücken and Hague do it justice.

The single Everyone Says “Hi” was a David Bowie original, curiously not one of his oldies, taken instead from his 2002 album Heathen. On this album it makes for a great pop track, and is definitely one of the highlights of the whole collection.

One Summer Dream, written by Jeff Lynne, feels a little out of place in the middle of the album with its acoustic backing. The original closed ELO‘s 1975 album Face the Music, and it’s tempting to wonder if it worked rather better in that context – it still sounds good, but it’s not as beautiful as it perhaps ought to be.

Crime is another Stina Nordenstam song, originally from her 1994 second album And She Closed Her Eyes. As with The Mysteries of Love, it’s nice, but not entirely mindblowing. Perhaps even with a legend of the calibre of Brücken it pays to lower your expectations a little. Then The Road to Happiness was written by Stephen “TinTin” Duffy for The Lilac Time‘s eponymous 1987 debut, and is a surprising highlight of the album. There’s something very special about the uplifting chorus, as it comes together with the almost accordian-flavoured backing.

Next up is Kings Cross, which as I’m sure we all know is a Pet Shop Boys original, a haunting track from their essential 1988 album Actually, also covered a couple of years ago by Tracey Thorn. Curiously, this one was originally produced by Stephen Hague, and so it’s interesting to hear what he does with it this time around. Although the song is just as powerful as ever, I think it perhaps lacks something from the original – but not a lot. It’s definitely one of the highlights of this release as well.

No One to Blame is a new track, written for the album by a duo called The Burt Brothers. It’s a good fit, and the flanged piano backing suits the semi-electronic mood of the album very well. And the Sun Will Shine is a Bee Gees original, from their 1968 album Horizontal. Stripped of their unique vocal style, it’s still a strong song with the typical soaring backing that seems to echo through their back catalogue. It sounds a little inconsequential at times, but it’s a typically good song.

Then the closing track is Whispering Pines, originally performed by The Band on their 1969 eponymous second album. Although it’s a nice enough song, by this stage it’s starting to sound a bit samey – it would be nice to have a bit of Hammond Organ or something to liven things up. It’s closing a good album – but not an amazing one unfortunately.

The Lost Are Found is, ultimately, perhaps a little underwhelming, but that’s only because of the sheer weight of the names behind it. Produced by Stephen Hague, one of the most important producers of electronic music in the 1980s and 1990s. Performed by Claudia Brücken, one of the best-kept secrets of electronic music throughout its history. And written by an astonishing list of songwriters. It really ought to be breathtaking, and it is pretty good, but there just seems to be something lacking. It’s still worth hearing though – the four or five exceptional tracks more than make up for its failings.

You can find The Lost Are Found through all standard music retailers, such as Amazon.