Ivor Novello Awards – The 1950s

In this series, we’ll roll all the way back to the mid-1950s, when the Ivor Novello Awards began. Check back every week or so to see a new decade!

Ivor Novello Awards 1956

The Ivor Novello Awards began on 11th March 1956 at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

  • The Year’s Most Popular Song: Ev’rywhere, written by Tolchard Evans and Jack Fishman. Also nominated: A Blossom Fell, by Howard Barnes, Harold Cornelius and Dominic John
  • The Year’s Outstanding Popular Song: In Love For The Very First Time, by Paddy Roberts and Jack Woodman. Also nominated: Man In A Raincoat, by Warwick Webster
  • The Year’s Outstanding Comedy Song: Got’n Idea, by Paddy Roberts and Jack Woodman. Also nominated: The Income Tax Collector, by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann
  • A Personal Special Award: Haydn Wood
  • The Year’s Most Effective Musical Play Score: Salad Days, by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade. Also nominated: The Water Gipsies, by Vivian Ellis and A.P. Herbert
  • The Year’s Outstanding ‘Swing’ Composition: Big City Suite, by Ralph Dollimore. Also nominated: Fanfare Boogie, by Max Kaye and Brian Fahey
  • The Year’s Outstanding Piece of Light Orchestral Music: The Dam Busters, by Eric Coates. Also nominated: John and Julie. by Philip Green
  • Outstanding Services in the Field of Popular Music: Jack Payne

Ivor Novello Awards 1957

The second ceremony was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme on 8th April 1957, with performances by The Stargazers, Harold Smart, Matt Monro, The Show Band Singers and Johnny Dankworth and His Orchestra.

  • The Best Selling and Most Performed Song of the Year: My September Love, written by Tolchard Evans and Richard Mullan. Also nominated: Out of Town, by Leslie Bricusse and Robin Beaumont
  • Most Outstanding Song of the Year, Musically and Lyrically: By the Fountains of Rome, by Norman Newell and Mátyás Seiber. Also nominated: My Unfinished Symphony, by Milton Carson
  • The Year’s Outstanding Novelty Song: Nellie The Elephant, by Ralph Butler and Peter Hart. Also nominated: Lift Boy, by Ken Hare, Ron Goodwin and Dick James
  • The Year’s Outstanding Composition in ‘Rhythm’ Style: Itinerary of an Orchestra, by Johnny Dankworth and Dave Lindup. Also nominated: Experiments with Mice, by Johnny Dankworth
  • The Year’s Outstanding Light Orchestral Composition: The Westminster Waltz, by Robert Farnon. Also nominated: Toyshop Ballet, by A.P. Mantovani
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  • The Year’s Outstanding Contribution to the Score of a Stage Play, Film, TV Programme or Radio Production: The March Hare, by Philip Green. Also nominated: You Are My First Love, by Paddy Roberts and Lester Powell
  • Outstanding Personal Services to Popular Music: A P Mantovani

Ivor Novello Awards 1958

  • The Best Selling and Most Performed Song of the Year: We Will Make Love, by Russ Hamilton. Also nominated: I’ll Find You, by Tolchard Evans and Richard Mullan
  • Most Outstanding Song of the Year, Musically and Lyrically: A Handful of Songs, by Lionel Bart, Michael Pratt and Tommy Steele. Also nominated: Your Love Is My Love, by Johnny Brandon
  • The Year’s Outstanding Novelty Song: Three Brothers, by Paddy Roberts. Also nominated: Water, Water, by Lionel Bart, Michael Pratt and Tommy Steele
  • The Year’s Outstanding Composition in ‘Rhythm’ Style: Overdrive, by Tommy Watt. Also nominated: Skiffling Strings, by Ron Goodwin
  • The Year’s Outstanding Light Orchestral Composition: Elizabethan Serenade, by Ronald Binge. Also nominated: The Streets of Sorrento, by Tony Osborne
  • The Year’s Outstanding Score of a Stage Play, Film, TV Programme or Radio Production: Free As Air, by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade. Also nominated: The Tommy Steele Story, by Lionel Bart, Michael Pratt and Tommy Steele
  • Outstanding Personal Services to British Popular Music: Ted Heath

Ivor Novello Awards 1959

The fourth ceremony took place at the BBC Television Theatre, London on 25th May 1959, broadcast on BBC Television, with Eric Robinson conducting the Concert Orchestra, led by David McCallum.

  • The Best Selling and Most Performed Song of the Year: Trudie, written by Joe Henderson. Also nominated: You Need Hands, by Max Bygraves
  • Most Outstanding Song of the Year, Musically and Lyrically: The Wind Cannot Read, by Peter Hart There Goes My Lover, by Leonard Taylor and Harold Shaper
  • The Year’s Outstanding Novelty Song: I’m So Ashamed, by Ken Hare. Also nominated: The Army Game, by Pat Napper and Sid Colin
  • The Year’s Outstanding Composition in Jazz or Beat Idiom: The Colonel’s Tune, by Johnny Dankworth. Also nominated: Rock Bottom, by Tommy Watt and Jock Bain
  • The Year’s Outstanding Light Orchestral Composition: Lingering Lovers, by Ron Goodwin. Also nominated: Melody From The Sea, by Donald Phillips
  • The Year’s Outstanding Contribution to the Score of a Stage Play, Film, TV Programme or Radio Production: Theme Music for ‘Inn of the Sixth Happiness’, by Malcolm Arnold. Also nominated: Josita, by Philip Green
  • Outstanding Services to British Popular Music: Billy Cotton

Further Reading

Sales Analysis – 2017

Every year, some time before we’re half way through the year, I try to take a quick look at the health of last year’s music industry. The wait is intentional, as some of the bigger-picture reports don’t start to arrive until April or May. So here’s a look back at 2017.

The music business is pretty healthy, actually

A total of 135.1 million albums (or “album-equivalents”) were sold in 2017, and although I can’t quite make that number add up, if it’s true, that would be the highest number for a decade. Album-equivalents are a bit of a makeshift way of measuring sales, but apparently overall music revenues totalled £1.2 billion, which I think is the highest since 2010, so as with last year, things are definitely on the up.

Globally, music revenues increased by 8.1% to $17.3 billion, thanks largely to a 41.1% rise in streaming revenues. Which isn’t much compared to the $25.2 billion that were earned at the sector’s peak in 1999, but it’s still the highest it’s been in a long time.

Streaming has got silly now

An incredible 68.1 billion songs were streamed in the UK last year, meaning that on average, each person streamed 1,036 songs. Which is actually mindblowing – on an average day, an average worker, pensioner, child, infant, basically everyone – listened to 2.8 songs via an audio streaming app or website.

Exactly how much longer this can go on for is an interesting one to think about. A normal person surely can’t stream more than about 50-100 songs in a day, and excluding the babies (who are probably streaming nursery rhymes in their cribs, but I like to think the parents have more sense) and the pensioners (who are hopefully still listening to Mantovani on the wireless), surely there isn’t room for streaming to grow much more?

Streaming now accounts for 38.4% of all global music revenue, although in addition to the sound quality being awful, IFPI makes some stern warnings about just how little revenue artists see from video streaming services such as YouTube (which apparently single-handedly accounts for 46% of all music streaming). Video services account for 55% of all music streams, but earn artists less than a sixth of the amount that audio services provide. Which is also pretty dire, by the way.

But nobody buys anything any more

Actually they do, just not very much. That same average person in the UK bought slightly less than 1 physical album last year. CD albums are selling about a quarter of what they sold at their peak in 2004. Global physical sales aren’t in complete freefall, having dropped by just 5.4% last year, but downloads slipped by 20.5%, which proves that downloading just isn’t a thing any more.

And nobody even talks about singles these days – I couldn’t find singles sales reported anywhere.

LPs are selling the most since the early 1990s

It’s really hard to measure because the BPI switched from talking about “deliveries” to “sales” in 2000, but from examining the numbers during the transition period prior to that, typically about half of releases that were delivered to record shops seem to have actually been sold. So with 4.1 million vinyl albums sold this year, I think you have to go back to 1991 or 1992, when 12.9 and 6.7 million records were delivered respectively, to find a total anywhere close to where we are right now.

Worldwide, vinyl now makes up 3.7% of all music revenues, having grown by 22.3% last year.

There’s not even really any sign of the vinyl revolution slowing – while we’re unlikely to ever see the levels of the late 1970s again (91.6 million LPs were delivered in 1976), I suspect we might still be a few years away from the second great vinyl event horizon.

Having said that, people are still buying 10 CD albums for every LP, so it’s still niche right now.

Long live the tape!

Talking of niche formats, as I reported earlier in the year, UK cassette sales in 2017 more than doubled from under 10,000 to around 20,000 (probably), while US sales continued to balloon from 74,000 in 2015 to 129,000 in 2016, and now 174,000 in 2017.

This is obviously great news for anyone who likes really ropey sound quality and wow and flutter.

If you enjoyed reading that, you can also see previous years here: 20162015201420132012. The last few all say pretty much the same thing, to be honest.