Another Five Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts

You may have seen the previous posts: Five Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts, and Five More Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts. Admittedly, they’re not always as fascinating as the title may suggest.

Hedging Their Bets

Every once in a while, an artist will manage to fill up the nominations with several instances of their own name. This has happened a number of times:

  • Adam and the Ants, 1982, Best British Single – Prince Charming and Stand and Deliver. Won by the only other record in the caregory, Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  • Angelo Badalamenti, 1991, Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording – Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1985, Best British Single – Relax and Two Tribes. Won by Relax
  • Gareth Gates, 2003, Best British SingleAnyone of Us and Unchained Melody. Won by Liberty X‘s Just a Little
  • The Prodigy, 1997, Best British Video – Breathe and Firestarter. Won by Spice Girls (below)
  • Spice Girls, 1997, Best British Video – Say You’ll Be There and Wannabe. Won by Say You’ll Be There
  • Wham!, 1985, Best British VideoLast Christmas and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Lost to Duran Duran‘s Wild Boys
  • Robbie Williams, 1999, Best British Single – Angels and Millennium. Won by Angels. Also, the same year, Best British Video – Let Me Entertain You and Millennium. Won by Millennium. Then in 2002, Best British Video – Supreme and Kids. Lost to So Solid Crew‘s 21 Seconds

Just twice, an artist has managed three nominations in a single category:

  • Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, 1990, Best British SingleSwing the Mood, That’s What I Like, and Let’s Party. All three lost to Phil Collins‘s Another Day in Paradise
  • Take That, 1993, Best British SingleCould it Be MagicA Million Love Songs, and It Only Takes a MinuteCould it Be Magic won

Define “Newcomer”

Logically, it should also be impossible to be nominated for Best Breakthrough Act (or Newcomer) more than once. But a few acts have snuck around that technicality:

  • Atomic Kitten – nominated for Best British Newcomer in both 2001 and 2002
  • Death in Vegas – nominated for the first round of the Best British Newcomer award in both 2000 and 2001
  • Seal – nominated for Best British Newcomer in 1992, despite a nomination for Best British Video (for Crazy) the previous year

Also, in normal circumstances, you might expect a newcomer to keep coming back for more, but a surprising number of acts have won a Best Newcomer award (British or international), and have never received any other nominations:

  • A1 (British, 2001)
  • Belle and Sebastian (British, 1999)
  • Julie Covington (British Female, 1977)
  • Lisa Loeb (International, 1995)
  • Graham Parker (British Male, 1977)
  • PM Dawn (International, 1992)

Best Solo Artist?

  • Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1990, despite not releasing solo material until 2002
  • Mick Hucknall from Simply Red – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1993, despite not releasing solo material until 2008
  • Annie Lennox – nominated for Best British Female Solo Artist in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, and 1992, despite not beginning her solo career in earnest until 1992
  • Robert Smith from The Cure – nominated for Best British Male Solo Artist in 1991, despite never having released a solo album

A Second Chance

Normally, BRITs rules dictate that you can only be nominated if you released an album the preceding year. But it doesn’t always seem to work like that:

  • Adamski – Killer was nominated for Best British Video in 1991, and then proceeded to win in 1992
  • Craig David – nominated for Born to Do It in the Best British Album category in both 2001 and 2002
  • Dire Straits – nominated for Brothers in Arms in the Best British Album category in 1986, and then again in 1987. It won the second time
  • Alicia Keys – nominated for Best International Album for Songs in A Minor in 2002 and 2003. Neither won
  • Outkast – nominated twice for Best International Album for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, in both 2004 and 2005
  • Radiohead – nominated for Best British Album for Kid A in both 2001 and 2002

British or not British?

Irish group U2 must have been a little taken aback in 1985, when they were nominated for Best British Group, and also Best British Album for The Unforgettable Fire. The following year, they were nominated again for Best British Group.

Then in 1988, they dramatically ceased to be British, with a nomination (and win) in the Best International Artist category. They proceeded to win that or the Best International Group award for most of the next couple of decades.

Finally, many wins down the line, they were nominated for Best British Single in 2005, thanks to their collaboration (in the loosest sense) with LMC on Take Me to the Clouds Above.

British Record Industry Britannia Centenary Awards 1977

As a general rule, the further back you go in the history of what we now call the BRIT Awards, the harder it becomes to find information about them. And the 1977 ceremony was the very first of the lot, so sure enough finding information about the awards is nigh on impossible. This post is going to be relatively short.

But it needs to be done, so let’s cast ourselves back a long way into the past, right back to October 18th 1977. Michael Aspel is our host, and the venue is Wembley Conference Centre, London.

The event was a celebration of music, but it was also timed to celebrate two anniversaries – it was 100 years since Thomas Edison invented the sound recording, and also the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. By coincidence, it was also almost exactly 25 years since the publication of the first UK chart, but it’s not clear to me whether anybody realised this at the time. Nominations were for the best music of the preceding 25 years, which is why they are a little eclectic in places, although for all of that, there’s a very definite 1970s bias.

Best British Album

Nominees:

  • Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
  • Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973)
  • The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  • Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Winner: The Beatles.

Best British Female

Nominees:

  • Cleo Lane
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Shirley Bassey
  • Petula Clark

Jazz singer Dame Cleo Lane is probably the least famous of the bunch. Despite managing a couple of hit singles in the 1960s, she must have been a lot more popular with “the industry” than the public! Or maybe not…

Winner: Shirley Bassey.

Best British Female Newcomer

Nominees:

  • Bonnie Tyler
  • Julie Covington

Julie, of course, had the honour of recording the original version of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, which had hit number one in February 1977. An album would follow in 1978, and then she returned to the theatre.

Winner: Julie Covington.

Best British Group

Rather predictable nominees:

  • The Beatles
  • Pink Floyd
  • Rolling Stones
  • The Who

Winner: The Beatles. Who would have thought it?

Best British Male

Another predictable bunch:

  • Cliff Richard
  • Elton John
  • Rod Stewart
  • Tom Jones

Winner: Cliff Richard.

Best British Male Newcomer

Nominees:

  • Graham Parker
  • Heatwave

Here’s an interesting pair. Graham Parker wouldn’t release any solo material until 1979, and so we have to assume that the nomination was for his work with The Rumour, which had included hit singles with Hold Back the Night and Sweet on You earlier in 1977. He would carry on recording for a long time after, but never managed to regain his initial success.

Heatwave, on the other hand, had already had a number two hit with Boogie Nights, and would continue hitting the top twenty for the next three years. So who won?

Winner: Graham Parker. Hindsight, it seems, is a fine thing!

Best Comedy Recording

I’m assuming that’s what this award was for – The BRITs website lists it under the wrong category. Nominees:

  • Monty Python
  • Richard Burton & Cast
  • Tony Hancock

Winner: unfortunately history doesn’t record who won!

Best British Producer

Nominees:

  • George Martin
  • Glyn Johns
  • Gus Dudgeon
  • Mickie Most

As is normal with the Best Producer category, I’ve never heard of most of these, but I’m not proposing looking them up…

Winner: George Martin.

Best British Single

Nominees:

  • 10cc – I’m Not in Love (1975)
  • Procul Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)
  • Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
  • The Beatles – She Loves You (1963)

Winner: a tie, shared by Procul Harum

… and Queen.

Best Classical Recording

Nominees:

  • Janet Baker – Das Lied von der Erde
  • John Williams – Guitar Concerto – Rodrigo

Winner: again, history doesn’t record who won this!

Best International Pop Album

Nominees:

  • Abba – Arrival (1976)
  • Carole King – Tapestry (1971)
  • Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
  • Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life (1976)

Winner: Simon & Garfunkel.

Best International Pop Single

Nominees:

  • Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  • Frank Sinatra – My Way (1969)
  • Ike & Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High (1966)
  • Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

Elvis, of course, had only passed away a couple of months prior to this ceremony.

Winner: unknown.

Best Orchestral Album

Nominees:

  • Oliver Knussen – War Requiem
  • Otto Klemperer – Beethoven Symphonies
  • Sir Adrian Boult – The Planet Suite
  • Sir Georg Solti – Wagner Ring Cycle

Otto Klemperer is my favourite, mainly because he wouldn’t have looked out of place in a silent movie. Actually, since he was born in 1885, he probably was in one.

Winner: unknown.

Outstanding Contribution

Joint winners: The Beatles and L.G. Wood.

The story of L.G. Wood is sadly forgotten in the internet age (OK, he isn’t on Wikipedia), but the BRITs website describes him as “a remarkable figure”. He was chairman of the BPI and EMI in 1977, and was apparently the person who originally signed The Beatles.

Performances

  • Cliff Richard – Miss You Nights
  • George Martin – A Hard Day’s Night
  • Julie Covington – Only Women Bleed
  • Procul Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale
  • Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends

Further Reading / Viewing