The BPI Awards 1986

Noel Edmonds was at the helm on February 10th 1986 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The BRIT Awards official website proudly tells us that Norman Tebbitt‘s appearance to present the Outstanding Contribution award brought “the first hint of official recognition.” Others might argue it signed a death warrant for the awards, but there we go.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1985 ceremony here, and the 1987 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Presented by Daryl Hall. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
  • Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight
  • Tears for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Female

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Annie Lennox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sade
  • Bonnie Tyler

Winner: Annie Lennox

Best British Group

Presented by Joan Armatrading. Nominees:

  • Dire Straits
  • Eurythmics
  • Simple Minds
  • Tears for Fears
  • U2

Winner: Dire Straits

Best British Male

Presented by Alison Moyet. Nominees:

  • Phil Collins
  • Elton John
  • Sting
  • Midge Ure
  • Paul Young

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Gary Davies.

Winner: Go West

Best British Producer

Presented by Howard Jones. Nominees:

  • Trevor Horn
  • Chris Hughes
  • Steve Lilywhite
  • David A. Stewart
  • Hugh Padgham

Winner: David A. Stewart

Best British Single

Presented by Roger Daltry. Nominees:

  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Hardcastle – Nineteen
  • Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Winner: Tears for Fears

Best British Video

Nominees:

  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away

Winner: Paul Young

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Sir Georg Solti. Nominees:

  • Vernon Handley – Violin Concerto – Elgar
  • Julian Lloyd Webber – Cello Concerto – Haydn
  • Trevor Pinnock – Cannon and Gigue – Pachelbel
  • John Rutter – Requiem – Faure
  • Sir Georg Solti – Messiah – Handel – Chicago

Winner: Vernon Handley

Best International Group

Presented by Elton John. Nominees:

  • The Cars
  • Huey Lewis and The News
  • Kool and The Gang
  • Talking Heads
  • ZZ Top

Winner: Huey Lewis and The News

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Midge Ure from Ultravox. Nominees:

  • Madonna
  • Lionel Richie
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tina Turner
  • Stevie Wonder

Winner: Bruce Springsteen

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Norman Tebbitt.

Winners: Wham! and Elton John

Special Award

Winner: Bob Geldof

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Five More Fascinating BRIT Awards Facts

Well you’ll have seen the ceremony by now of course, so here are some more of my “fascinating” facts…

Recognising the “Rest of the World”

Apart from one award in 1983, the BRITs didn’t fully separate Britain from the rest of the world until 1986, when Huey Lewis & the News received the first Best International Artist award. In 1989, Michael Jackson and Tracy Chapman were named the first Best International Solo Artists, but then in 1990, 1992, and 1993, there was only space for one combined Best International Solo Artist award, won by Neneh CherryPrince, and Prince respectively.

The International Breakthrough Artist (or Best International Newcomer) first turned up in 1988, and was won by Terence Trent D’Arby. The Best International Album award didn’t arrive until 2002, and the first winner was Kylie Minogue for Fever, although Michael Jackson had already won the Best Album award for Thriller in 1984.

BRIT Awards Luvvies

Some people just seem to walk the awards, and get nominated almost annually for the same award. Some of them even seem to win it annually. Here’s a quick selection:

  • Robbie Williams – won British Male Solo Artist in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2003, as well as a whole heap of other stuff and nominations in the same category in 1998, 2006, and 2010. Phil Collins had been his predecessor for that award, winning in 1986, 1989, and 1990 with further nominations in 1992 and 1993.
  • Annie Lennox – astoundingly, won British Female Solo Artist in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, and 1996, plus a nomination in 2004, making her the most successful artist to win any single award. Lisa Stansfield (one win in 1991 but nominations in 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1998) and Alison Moyet (wins in 1985 and 1988) also tried to topple her crown but failed. PJ Harvey tried her hardest with nominations in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2008, but failed to win any of them.
  • Jamiroquai – managed a Best Dance Act nomination 6 out of the 11 times it was awarded despite not even really being a dance act.
  • Robbie Williams again – won Best British Single with Take That in 1993, 1994, and 1996, and then solo in 1999, 2000, and 2001. And then again with Take That in 2007 and 2008, giving him a shelf full of eight awards in this category. He also got a good set of Best Video awards to go on the shelf below.
  • You might think there would be enough International Male Solo Artists for a bit of variety, but apparently not. Prince won in 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1996 (the last time as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, and then he was nominated as The Artist in 1997 before he ran out of silly names). Then Beck took over, winning in 1997, 1999, and 2000 and being nominated in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009. Eminem won in 2001, 2003, and 2005, with two further nominations. Most recently, Kanye West won in 2006, 2008, and 2009. In the International Female Solo Artist category, things are nearly as repetitive, with multiple wins for BjörkKylie MinogueMadonna, and RihannaAlicia Keys has taken six nominations but no wins as yet.
  • U2 – won International Group in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1998, and 2001, with further nominations basically every year: 1992, 1993, 1994, 2005, and 2006. While they were taking a break, R.E.M. stepped in in 1992, 1993, and 1995 plus nominations in 1997, 1999, and 2000, before being replaced by Foo Fighters for 2008 and 2012 after unsuccessful nominations in 1996 and 2003.
  • Finally, the Outstanding Contribution is normally pretty free of repetition, right? Nope. The Beatles shared the award in 1977. Then John Lennon grabbed it posthumously in 1982. Then they came back again for it as a group in 1983. George Martin got it in 1984. Finally, Paul McCartney broke two decades of silence by grabbing it in 2008. The other people who think it’s OK to take it home more than once are Elton John and Queen.

Best Soundtrack or Original Cast Recording

It’s a bit of a shame that this award hasn’t been given since 2001. For sixteen years, it was handed out to the likes of Top GunPhantom of the OperaBatman (in 1990 and 1996), Twin PeaksTrainspotting, and American Beauty.

But soundtracks are a key part of music, so I think it is a shame that they don’t do this one any more…

Back from the Dead

From 1990 to 1998, there was a Best Producer award. Then from 1999 to 2010, there wasn’t. But now it’s back, and rightfully so. Previous winners include Dave Stewart out of EurythmicsTrevor HornPeter GabrielBrian Eno (twice), Nellee Hooper, and Youth.

The people behind the music generally remain forgotten by the BRITs. The first ever Outstanding Contribution award in 1977 was shared between The Beatles and EMI boss LG Wood. In 2011 Tony Visconti was given a rare special award for Innovation in Production. But the biggest surprise for me was the same year, and was largely forgotten about by the mainstream media, maybe because they didn’t know who he was. But the Outstanding Contribution award in 2011 was quite rightly given to Daniel Miller.

Also back from the dead is the Best Live Act award, won by U2 in 1993, Spice Girls (as Best Selling British Live Act) in 2000, and then MuseKaiser ChiefsMuse again, Take That, and Iron Maiden from 2005 to 2009, before inexplicably being axed again just as live music exploded in popularity.

Special Awards and Long Forgotten Awards

Occasionally, the BRITs decide to give an award to somebody just because they want to. Some of them are for charity deeds, or just generally for selling pretty well. Here’s a summary:

  • 1994 – Special Sales Award – Meat Loaf
  • 1996 – Freddie Mercury Award – Help! Project
  • 1996 – Artist of a Generation – Michael Jackson
  • 1998 – Freddie Mercury Award – Elton John
  • 1999 – Freddie Mercury Award – Jubilee 2000
  • 2005 – BRITs 25 – The Best Song Award – Robbie Williams – Angels
  • 2010 – BRITs Hits 30 – Spice Girls – Wannabe / Who Do You Think You Are
  • 2010 – BRITs Album of 30 Years – Oasis(What’s the Story) Morning Glory
  • 2011 – Innovation in Production – Tony Visconti

But to me a really fascinating moment was when I discovered by accident that there had once been a Best Comedy Recording award at the BRITs. I’m still not clear how long it went on for, or who most of the winners were, as it was largely undocumented, but I’d love to see that one come back.

Awards Week will continue tomorrow with something else that I make up on the spot.

Incidentally, apologies about some of the missing videos on recent posts – the BRITs official website got remodelled after I’d written the pieces, and some of the YouTube ones got removed. Never mind…

Edit: this post originally said the first international award was in 1986 – in fact there was one in 1983.

The BPI Awards 1987

The next year of the BRIT Awards that we’ll examine in detail is 1987. Let’s set the scene. It’s February 9th of that year, and Jonathan King is standing at the front of the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Whether or not you believe the tabloids, he may or may not have also been at the height of his more lurid period as well.

But we wouldn’t find out about that for a long time, and obnoxious as he may be, there didn’t seem to be a lot of truth in those accusations anyway. So anyway, without further ado, let’s open the ceremony…

Best British Album

Presented by Robert Plant and one of the most incredible hairdos I’ve ever seen! Nominees:

  • Peter Gabriel – So
  • The Housemartins – London 0 Hull 4
  • Simply Red – Picture Book
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Five Star – Silk and Steel

Winner: Dire Straits.

Best British Producer

Nominees:

  • Pip Williams
  • Trevor Horn
  • Hugh Padgham
  • David A. Stewart
  • Stock Aitken Waterman

Video here, mainly consisting of George Martin banging on about recording studios.

Winner: Dave Stewart.

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Mike Read.

Winner: The Housemartins.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Deborah Harry. Nominees:

  • Madonna
  • Whitney Houston
  • Paul Simon
  • Anita Baker
  • Bruce Springsteen

Winner: Paul Simon.

Best International Group

Presented by Luther Vandross. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • A-ha
  • The Bangles
  • Huey Lewis & The News
  • Cameo

Winner: The Bangles.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by a moderately small Aled Jones. Nominees:

  • Maris Jansons – Symphony No 1
  • Julian Lloyd Webber – Cello Concerto – Elgar
  • Nigel Kennedy – 1944 Sonata for Solo Violin
  • Luciano Pavarotti – The Pavarotti Collection
  • André Previn – Symphony No 1 – Elgar

Winner: Julian Lloyd Webber.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Nominees:

  • A Room with a View (Richard Robbins)
  • Absolute Beginners (various artists)
  • Out of Africa (John Barry)
  • Down and Out in Beverly Hills (Andy Summers / various artists)
  • Top Gun (various artists)

Winner: Top Gun, accepted by Charles Dance on behalf of Kenny Loggins.

Best British Group

Nominees:

  • Eurythmics
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Simply Red
  • Five Star
  • Dire Straits

I know what you’re thinking – “the only thing worse than Simply Red winning would be if it was Five Star.” I agree.

Longer video here, in which Jonathan King asks some very toothy and hairy eighties people what they thing should have won.

Winner: Five Star.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Ray Davis. Nominees:

  • Jaki Graham
  • Sade
  • Kim Wilde
  • Joan Armatrading
  • Kate Bush

Winner: Kate Bush.

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Kate Bush. Nominees:

  • Billy Ocean
  • Chris de Burgh
  • Robert Palmer
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Phil Collins

Winner: Peter Gabriel.

Best British Single

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  • The Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way
  • Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
  • Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
  • Chris de Burgh – Lady In Red

Winner – Pet Shop Boys.

Best British Video

Winner: Peter Gabriel for Sledgehammer.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Rob Dickins.

Winner: Eric Clapton.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

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