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.

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The BRIT Awards 1998

“If,” said Chumbawamba, “John Prescott has the nerve to turn up at events like the BRIT Awards in a vain attempt to make Labour seem cool and trendy, then he deserves all we can throw at him.”

Indeed. For it was in 1998 that they put this unusually specific philosophy into practice by emptying a bucket of iced water over the Labour fatty.

But despite a bit of anarchy here and there, things remained pretty corporate. It was February 9th 1998, the venue was London Arena, and our host for the evening was Ben Elton out of comedy. Watch the opening here, and the introduction here.

Best International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Matthew Modine and Chaudia Schiffer. Nominees:

  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Coolio
  • DJ Shadow
  • LL Cool J
  • Sash!

“Why,” you may ask, “Did Jon Bon Jovi merit a solo award nomination?” No idea. Video here.

Winner: Jon Bon Jovi.

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Max Beesley and Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • All Saints
  • Shola Ama
  • Embrace
  • Olive
  • Beth Orton
  • Finley Quaye
  • Conner Reeves
  • Roni Size/Reprazent
  • Stereophonics
  • Travis

Winner: Stereophonics.

Best International Female Solo Artist

Was to be presented by Dusty Springfield, but sadly she was too unwell to do so (and would pass away a year later), so it was presented by Alexander McQueen and Honor Fraser. Nominees:

  • Erykah Badu
  • Björk
  • Meredith Brooks
  • Celine Dion
  • Janet Jackson

I am grateful grapefruit.

Winner: Björk.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Richard Branson. Nominees:

  • Shola Ama
  • Michelle Gayle
  • Louise
  • Beth Orton
  • Lisa Stansfield

Winner: Shola Ama.

International Sales Award

A special award for the best selling international album.

Winner: Spice Girls.

Best British Video

Voted for by viewers of The Box, and presented in character by Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan). Nominees:

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Blur – Song 2
  • David Bowie – Little Wonder
  • Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats
  • Dario G – Sunchyme
  • Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean?
  • Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous
  • Spice Girls – Spice up Your Life
  • Supergrass – Late in the Day
  • The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony

Winner: All Saints.

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Errol Brown and Natalie Imbruglia. Nominees:

  • Gary Barlow
  • Elton John
  • Finley Quaye
  • Paul Weller
  • Robbie Williams

Winner: Finley Quaye.

Best International Group

Presented by Heather Small from M. People with unusually small hair and Jay Kay out of Jamiroquai. Nominees:

  • Daft Punk
  • Eels
  • Hanson
  • No Doubt
  • U2

Although Ben Elton introduces Jamiroquai as a former BRIT winner, this is in fact not true – he’s never won one in the entire history of the awards.

Winner: U2.

The Freddie Mercury Award

A special award for Doing A Song About Princess Diana. Presented by Tony Blair out of Starting Illegal Wars, on video from Washington DC. Cringeworthy video here.

Winner: Elton John.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented using the medium of song by Cleopatra (comin’ atcha). Nominees:

  • The Full Monty (various artists)
  • Men in Black (various artists)
  • Romeo + Juliet (various artists)
  • Space Jam (various artists)
  • Trainspotting 2 (various artists)

Winner: The Full Monty.

Best British Group

Presented by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel. Nominees:

  • Oasis
  • The Prodigy
  • Radiohead
  • Texas
  • The Verve

Winner: The Verve.

Best Dance Act

Nominees:

  • Brand New Heavies
  • The Chemical Brothers
  • Eternal
  • Jamiroquai
  • The Prodigy

Oh yes, the Dance Act award, which was sadly dropped in later years, and which inexplicably featured an annual nomination for not-very-dancey-and-frankly-pretty-lousy Jamiroquai.

Winner: The Prodigy.

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of independent radio, and presented by Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson. Big up to the UK. Nominees:

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Blur – Song 2
  • Chumbawumba – Tubthumping
  • Eternal feat. Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be the Only One
  • Elton John – Candle in the Wind
  • Olive – You’re Not Alone
  • Radiohead – Paranoid Android
  • Texas – Say What You Want
  • The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
  • Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

Singles, according to Ben Elton, had experienced a big revival in 1997. Of course, as we now know, the draconian chart rules introduced later in 1998 would kill them in a way that they could never recover.

Winner: All Saints.

Best International Newcomer

Nominees:

  • Erykah Badu
  • Daft Punk
  • Eels
  • Hanson
  • No Doubt

Winner: Eels.

Best Producer

Nominees:

  • Nigel Godrich / Radiohead
  • Liam Howlett
  • Roni Size
  • Stephen Street
  • The Verve / Chris Potter / Youth

Winner: The Verve / Chris Potter / Youth.

Mastercard British Album

Presented by Zoë Ball. Nominees:

  • Oasis – Be Here Now
  • The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
  • Radiohead – OK Computer
  • Texas – White on Blonde
  • The Verve – Urban Hymns

Winner: The Verve.

Outstanding Achievement

Presented by Sir George Martin.

Winner: Fleetwood Mac.

Performances

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
  • Finlay Quaye – Sun is Shining
  • Fleetwood Mac – The Chain and Don’t Stop
  • Robbie Williams and Tom Jones – Come Up and See Me
  • Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody
  • Spice Girls – Stop
  • Texas featuring The Method Man – Say What You Want
  • The Verve – Lucky Man

Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: removed numerous videos that are no longer available (13 August 2017).