The BRIT Awards 1989

Oh yes, 1989. The single most important year in the history of the BRITs. Broadcast live from London’s Royal Albert Hall, it’s the pop music event of the year. Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood famously presented for the first year that it was even called the BRIT Awards.

If you think that pairing a miniature Page Three model with an enormous Fleetwood Mac baldy might be a bad idea, you have little idea of the shambles which would follow. So disastrous was it, that the event wouldn’t be broadcast live for another decade. But on the plus side, we can watch the whole thing thanks to YouTube. So let’s sit back and enjoy the event of a lifetime in full. Part 1:

The show opens relatively poorly with Gloria Estefan, before the bizarrely paired hosts stumble on stage, eventually find their way to the microphones, and stumble their way through the show introduction.

Best British Single

Phil Collins arrives to put the hosts out of their misery, but disappointingly fails to kill either of them. Julian Lennon, although announced by the hosts, does not. Nominees:

  • Deacon Blue – Real Gone Kid
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day
  • Tanita Tikaram – Twist In My Sobriety
  • Tom Jones & Art of Noise – Kiss

Cue some embarrassed filling by the hosts while the winners try to find the stage.

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best British Group

Presented by the fabulous The Fo… the wonderful The Four… the brilliant The Four Tops. Oh, it’s Boy George. Nominees:

  • Christians
  • Def Leppard
  • Erasure
  • Pet Shop Boys
  • Wet Wet Wet

Winner: Erasure.

Best International Male Solo Artist

This time, with a bit of culture (you know, because he was in Culture Club) it’s Boy Geo… oh, OK, The Four Tops. Nominees:

  • Alexander O’Neal
  • Luther Vandross
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Terence Trent D’Arby

A clean sweep for… why on earth did he feel it necessary to bring race into it? The Four Tops steal the award, claiming they’ll pass it onto the winner “at some point”.

Winner: Michael Jackson.

At which point Fairground Attraction start doing bird impressions.

Best International Female

In possibly the worst introduction yet, we learn that Madonna has been busy glorying in her bask. Presented by Michael Hutchence and John Farris out of INXS. Nominees:

  • Anita Baker
  • Enya
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Tracy Chapman
  • Whitney Houston

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Best British Album

Presented by Carol Decker and Mike Rutherford. Nominees:

  • Aztec Camera – Love
  • Fairground Attraction – First of a Million Kisses
  • Pet Shop Boys – Introspective
  • Steve Winwood – Roll With It
  • The Pasadenas – To Whom It May Concern

Winner: Fairground Attraction.

Best International Group

Whose turn is it? Um… no idea, let’s just fade the hosts out. Presented by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme out of 10cc. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • INXS
  • U2
  • Womack & Womack

Winner: U2.

Next up, Yazz, who sat on top of the chart for five weeks. Which must have been uncomfortable. Then Mark Knopfler and Alan Price bang on about the BRITs School for a bit.

Best British Newcomer

In an interesting move designed to completely outfox (ha!) the presenters, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman turn up with a mystery third person, without having shown us a list of “possibilities”. So the only nominee we know about is:

  • Bros

What a dreadful acceptance speech. Thanks Mum.

Winner: Bros.

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox out of Eurythmics, who seem to have locked the winner in a studio. Nominees:

  • Belinda Carlisle
  • Enya
  • Michelle Shocked
  • Salt ‘n’ Pepa
  • Tracy Chapman

Winner: Tracy Chapman.

Def Leppard turn up for some heavy, heavy metal. And massive perms.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Courtney Pine and Mica Paris. Nominees:

  • Andre Previn – Violin & Viola Concertos: Walton
  • Jeffrey Tate – Opera Arias – Mozart – Kiri te Kanawa
  • Phillip Brunelle – Paul Bunyan – Britten
  • Simon Rattle – Symphony No 2 – Mahler
  • Trevor Pinnock – Messiah – Handel

Handel has been totally up there for loads of years.

Winner: Trevor Pinnock.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

If we’re not careful then the whole show might grind to an abysmal and moody halt. Which would leave everyone feeling very pleased, probably. Presented by Justin Hayward, someone else out of The Moody Blues, and Belinda Carlisle.

  • Buster (various artists)
  • Good Morning Vietnam (various artists)
  • Hairspray (various artists)
  • Rattle and Hum (U2)
  • The Princess Bride (Mark Knopfler)

Winner: Buster, accepted by Phil Collins and The Four Tops.

Tanita Tikaram then performs in a suit.

Best Music Video

Voted for by viewers of Going Live on BBC1, and presented by Jools Holland, outshouted by Ken Russell. Nominees:

  • Bananarama – Nathan Jones
  • George Harrison – When We Was Fab
  • Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
  • The Christians – Harvest for the World
  • Wet Wet Wet – Temptation

Winner: Michael Jackson.

Best British Male Solo Artist

By this stage we’ve pretty much settled into a pretty dreadful style. Presented by Joan Armatrading and Joe Elliott. Nominees:

  • Chris Rea
  • George Michael
  • Phil Collins
  • Robert Palmer
  • Steve Winwood

Winner: Phil Collins.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Tina Turner, complete with the kind of sexist introduction that you’ve never seen in any tabloid newspaper. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Mica Paris
  • Sade
  • Tanita Tikaram
  • Yazz

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Bros follow with a lot of jumping around.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by the chairman of the BPI Peter Jamieson, who should really have been hanging his head in shame by this stage.

Winner: Cliff Richard. After an appallingly pseudo-religious speech, Cliff deservedly leaves the stage to almost total silence.

Which artist could be singled out to close a show like this? I think we’d agree, no one. Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup close the show with a song which even the performers don’t even seem to be enjoying, and finally the thing comes to an end.

Performances

  • Bros – I Owe You Nothing
  • Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
  • Fairground Attraction – Perfect
  • Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
  • Mark Knopfler, Randy Newman and the BRITs Supergroup – Falling in Love
  • Tanita Tikaram – Good Tradition
  • Yazz – Got to Share

Further Reading / Viewing

The BRIT Awards 1990

The annual British music industry bash had been growing in every way for a number of years. In 1988, it decided to improve itself by stopping being quite so corporate. In 1989, it changed its name to the BRIT Awards and nearly destroyed itself. After the unmitigated disaster of the 1989 ceremony, the 1990 awards switched to a different venue and was altogether a little more self-conscious.

The ceremony would sadly see the last public appearance of Freddie Mercury, but on a lighter note would also see Fine Young Cannibals justifiably return their awards in reaction to a video of Margaret Thatcher choosing her favourite pop song (How Much is That Little Doggie in the Window? although it sadly didn’t win any awards in 1990).

For now, though, it’s February 18th 1990, we’re at the Dominion Theatre in London, and Cathy McGowan out of The 1960s is your host for the evening.

There’s also an introduction video here.

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Tina Turner. Nominees:

  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Shakespears Sister
  • Soul II Soul
  • The Beautiful South
  • The Stone Roses

Longer video here.

Winner: Lisa Stansfield.

Best British Producer

Presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Nominees:

  • Coldcut
  • Dave Stewart
  • Kate Bush
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Steve Lillywhite
  • Stock Aitken Waterman

Winner: Dave Stewart.

Best Classical Recording

Nominees:

  • Jeffrey Tate – Piano Concerto 24 & 25
  • John Elliot Gardner – St Matthews Passion – Bach
  • Nigel Kennedy – Four Seasons – Vivaldi
  • Ricardo Chailly – Walton – Façade – Stravinsky
  • Simon Rattle – Porgy & Bess – Gershwin

Winner: Simon Rattle.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented by Sinitta, who gets carried on on a stretcher. Nominees:

  • Aspects of Love (Original Cast Recording)
  • Batman (Prince)
  • Beaches (various artists)
  • Henry V (Simon Rattle)
  • The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Michael Nyman)

Winner: Batman.

Best British Group

Presented by Iron Maiden. Nominees:

  • Erasure
  • Eurythmics
  • Fine Young Cannibals
  • Simply Red
  • Soul II Soul
  • Tears for Fears

Video here.

Winner: Fine Young Cannibals.

Best Music Video

Presented by Bobby Brown. Nominees:

  • Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire
  • De La Soul – Eye Know
  • Eurythmics – Don’t Ask Me Why
  • Farley Jackmaster Funk – Free At Last
  • Four Tops – Loco in Acapulco
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses – Paradise City
  • Holly Johnson – Love Train
  • Janet Jackson – Miss You Much
  • Kaoma – Lambada
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Around the World
  • M – Pop Muzik
  • Neneh Cherry – Manchild
  • Paul McCartney – My Brave Face
  • Prince – Batdance
  • Queen – Invisible Man
  • Salif Keita – Nous Pas Bouger
  • Simply Red – If You Don’t Know Me by Now
  • Tears for Fears – Sowing the Seeds
  • The Alarm – A New South Wales
  • The Beautiful South – Song for Whoever
  • The Cure – Lullaby
  • Tina Turner – Simply the Best

Fortunately nobody had to read out that full list of nominees! Video here.

Winner: The Cure.

Best International Group

Presented by Ray Davis, a little too keen to remind us that The Kinks still exist. Nominees:

  • Bon Jovi
  • De La Soul
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Gipsy Kings
  • Milli Vanilli
  • U2

Video here.

Winner: U2.

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Gary Glitter, back in the days before we knew what we know now. Ugh. Nominees:

  • Bobby Brown
  • De La Soul
  • Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Paula Abdul

Video here.

Winner: Neneh Cherry.

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Adam Ant. Nominees:

  • Bobby Brown
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Prince
  • Tina Turner

Video here.

Winner: Neneh Cherry.

Best British Female

Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Kate Bush
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Mica Paris
  • Yazz

Winner: Annie Lennox.

Best British Male

Nominees:

  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Phil Collins
  • Roland Gift
  • Van Morrison

Winner: Phil Collins.

Best British Album

Nominees:

  • Eurythmics – We Too Are One
  • Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw and The Cooked
  • Simply Red – A New Flame
  • Soul II Soul – Club Classics Vol 1
  • Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love

Winner: Fine Young Cannibals.

Best British Single

Voted for by the listeners of the Simon Mayo Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1, and presented by Simon Mayo. Nominees:

  • Band Aid II – Do They Know it’s Christmas
  • Jason Donovan – Sealed With a Kiss
  • Jason Donovan – Too Many Broken Hearts
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Swing the Mood
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – That’s What I Like
  • Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – Lets Party
  • Lisa Stansfield – All Around the World
  • Marc Almond & Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart
  • Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise
  • Simple Minds – Belfast Child
  • Sonia – You’ll Never Stop Me
  • Soul II Soul – Back to Life
  • Various Artists – Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey

An astonishing number of nominations, three of which were for Jive Bunny, but fortunately they didn’t manage to win. Unfortunately, um… well, watch the video here.

Winner: Phil Collins.

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: Queen.

Performances

  • Lisa Stansfield -Been Around the World
  • Neneh Cherry – Manchild
  • Nigel Kennedy – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
  • Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise
  • Soul II Soul – What is Soul II Soul

Further Reading / Viewing