Ivor Novello Awards – The 1980s

After drifting off the rails somewhat in the 1970s, the Ivor Novello Awards started to go back to being about songwriting in the 1980s. Although they still seemed a little more obsessed with Bucks Fizz and Cliff Richard than is really healthy.

Ivor Novello Awards 1980

Grosvenor House, London, hosted the 25th Ivor Novello Award ceremony.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: The Logical Song, performed by Supertramp, written by Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson. Also nominated: Bright Eyes, performed by Art Garfunkel, written by Mike BattWe Don’t Talk Anymore, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Alan Tarney
  • The Best Pop Song: I Don’t Like Mondays, performed by The Boomtown Rats, written by Bob Geldof. Also nominated: Video Killed the Radio Star, performed by Buggles, written by Bruce Woolley, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes; Off the Wall, performed by Michael Jackson, written by Rodney Temperton
  • The Best Theme from a Radio or Television Production: Nunc Dimittis, written by Geoffrey Burgon. Also nominated: Secret Army, written by Robert FarnonShoestring, written by George Fenton
  • The Best Film Song, Theme or Score: Caravans, written by Mike Batt. Also nominated: Music Machine, written by Leslie Hurdle and Frank RicottiYanks, written by Richard Rodney Bennett
  • The Outstanding British Lyric: I Don’t Like Mondays. Also nominated: He Was Beautiful, performed by Iris Williams, written by Cleo LaineBright Eyes
  • The Best Instrumental or Popular Orchestral Work: War of the Worlds, written by Jeff Wayne and Gary Osborne. Also nominated: The Valley of Swords, written by Mike BattAfrican Sanctus, written by David Fanshawe
  • The International Hit of the Year: We Don’t Talk Anymore, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Alan Tarney. Also nominated: Too Much Heaven, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice GibbI Don’t Like Mondays
  • The Most Performed Work: Bright Eyes. Also nominated: We Don’t Talk Anymore; Cavatina, performed by John Williams, written by Stanley Myers
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Bright Eyes. Also nominated: I Don’t Like MondaysAnother Brick in the Wall (Part 2), performed by Pink Floyd, written by Roger Waters
  • The Best British Musical: Songbook, written by Monty Norman and Julian More. Also nominated: A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine, written by Dick Vosburgh and Frank Lazarus
  • Award for Outstanding Services to British Music: Robert Mayer
  • Songwriter of the Year: Ben Findon
  • Special Award for International Achievement: Paul McCartney
  • Special Award for Lifetime Achievement: Edgar Yipsel Harburg and Jimmy Kennedy

Ivor Novello Awards 1981

The 26th Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Woman in Love, performed by Barbara Streisand, written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb. Also nominated: Babooshka, written by Kate BushTogether We Are Beautiful, performed by Fern Kinney, written by Ken LerayYour Ears Should be Burning Now, performed by Marti Webb, written by Tony Macaulay and Don Black
  • The Best Pop Song: Stop the Cavalry, written by Jona Lewie. Also nominated: Don’t Stand So Close to Me, performed by The Police, written by StingWhat You’re Proposing, performed by Status Quo, written by Francis Rossi and Bernard Frost
  • The Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: I Could Be So Good for You, written by Gerard Kenny and Patricia Waterman. Also nominated: Fox, written by George FentonJuliet Bravo, written by J.S. Bach and arranged by Derek Goom
  • The Best Film Song, Theme or Score: Xanadu, written by Jeff Lynne. Also nominated: Flash, written by Brian MaySilver Dream Machine, written by David Essex
  • The Outstanding British Lyric: Take That Look Off Your Face, performed by Marti Webb, written by Don Black. Also nominated: Stop the Cavalry, written by Jona LewieWoman in Love, performed by Barbara Streisand, written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • The International Hit of the Year: Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2). Also nominated: Woman in LoveAnother One Bites the Dust, performed by Queen, written by John Deacon
  • The Most Performed Work: Together We Are Beautiful. Also nominated: January, February, performed by Barbara Dickson, written by Alan TarneyI’m In The Mood for Dancing, performed by The Nolan Sisters, written by Ben Findon, Michael Myers and Robert Puzey
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: There’s No One Quite Like Grandma, performed by St. Winifred’s School Choir, written by Gordon Lorenz. Also nominated: Woman in LoveDon’t Stand So Close to Me
  • Award for Outstanding Services to British Music: William Walton
  • Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music: John Lennon
  • Songwriter of the Year: Ben Findon

Ivor Novello Awards 1982

The 27th Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Memory, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, T.S. Eliot and Trevor Nunn. Also nominated: Woman, written by John LennonThe Land of Make Believe, performed by Bucks Fizz, written by Andy Hill and Pete Sinfield
  • The Best Pop Song: Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, performed by The Police, written by Sting. Also nominated: Don’t You Want Me, performed by The Human League, written by Phil Oakey, Adrian Wright and Jo Callis; Wired for Sound, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Alan Tarney and BA Robertson
  • The Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: Brideshead Revisited, written by Geoffrey Burgon. Also nominated: Flame Trees of Thika, written by Ken Howard and Alan BlaikleyShillingbury Tales, written by Ed Welch
  • The Best Film Theme or Song: The French Lieutenant’s Woman, written by Carl Davis. Also nominated: Without Your Love, written by Billy Nicholls; For Your Eyes Only, written by Bill Conti and Mick Leeson
  • The Outstanding British Lyric: Woman. Also nominated: The One That You Love, performed by Air Supply, written by Graham Russell; When He Shines, performed by Sheena Easton, written by Florrie Palmer and Dominic Bugatti
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Stand and Deliver, performed by Adam and the Ants, written by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni. Also nominated: Vienna, performed by Ultravox, written by Billy Currie, Chris Cross, Warren Cann and Midge UreDon’t You Want Me
  • The International Hit of the Year: In the Air Tonight, written by Phil Collins. Also nominated: (Just Like) Starting Over, written by John Lennon; Woman in Love; Every Little Thing She Does is Magic
  • The Most Performed Work: You Drive Me Crazy, performed by Shakin’ Stevens, written by Ronnie Harwood. Also nominated: Woman
  • Award for Outstanding Services to British Music: Lennox Berkeley
  • The Best British Musical: Cats, written by: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn
  • Songwriters of the Year: Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni
  • Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Kenney Jones, Keith Moon and Pete Townshend

Ivor Novello Awards 1983

The 28th Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Have You Ever Been in Love, written by Andy Hill, Pete Sinfield and John Danter. Also nominated: Now Those Days Are Gone, performed by Bucks Fizz, written by Andy Hill and Nichola Martin; Heartbreaker, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • The Best Pop Song: Our House, performed by Madness, written by Carl Smyth and Chris Foreman. Also nominated: I Don’t Wanna Dance, written by Eddy Grant; Come On Eileen, performed by Dexys Midnight Runners, written by Kevin Rowland, Kevin Adams and James Paterson
  • The Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: Theme From Harry’s Game, composed by Paul Brennan. Also nominated: Omnibus, composed by George Fenton; Smiley’s People, composed by Patrick Gowers
  • The Best Film Theme or Song: For All Mankind, composed by Ravi Shankar and George Fenton. Also nominated: Time and Tide, composed by Alan Price; Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)
  • The Outstanding British Lyric: Private Investigations, performed by Dire Straits, written by Mark Knopfler. Also nominated: The Dreaming, written by Kate Bush; Have You Ever Been in Love
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Come On Eileen. Also nominated: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, performed by Culture Club, written by Boy George, Michael Craig, John Moss and Roy Hay; Ebony and Ivory, written by Paul McCartney and performed with Stevie Wonder
  • The International Hit of the Year: Ebony and Ivory. Also nominated: Heartbreaker; Don’t You Want Me
  • The Most Performed Work: Golden Brown, performed by The Stranglers, written by Jean J. Burnell, Hugh Cornwell, Jet Black and David Greenfield. Also nominated: Oh Julie, written by Shakin’ Stevens; Love Plus One, performed by Haircut 100, written by Nick Heyward
  • The Best British Musical: Windy City, written by: Tony Macaulay and Dick Vosburgh
  • Lifetime Achievement in British Music: Vivian Ellis
  • Songwriter of the Year: Andy Hill
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford
  • Special Award for 25 Years In The Music Business: Brian Bennett, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch

Ivor Novello Awards 1984

The 29th Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • The Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Every Breath You Take, performed by The Police, written by Sting. Also nominated: Pipes of Peace, written by Paul McCartney; True, performed by Spandau Ballet, written by Gary Kemp
  • The Best Pop Song: Karma Chameleon, performed by Culture Club, written by Boy George, John Moss, Michael Craig, Roy Hay and Phil Pickett. Also nominated: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), performed by Eurythmics, written by Annie Lennox and Dave StewartThriller, performed by Michael Jackson, written by Rod Temperton
  • The Best Rock Song: Let’s Dance, written by David Bowie. Also nominated: Every Breath You TakeOwner of a Lonely Heart, performed by Yes, written by Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Trevor Horn
  • The Best Theme from a TV or Radio Production: That’s Livin’ Alright, composed by David Mackay and Ken Ashby. Also nominated: The Late Late Breakfast Show, composed by Gary Kemp; Partners in Crime, composed by Joseph Horovitz
  • The Best Film Theme or Song: Going Home, written by Mark Knopfler. Also nominated: Walking in the Air, written by Howard BlakeAll Time High, written by Tim Rice and John Barry
  • The Best British Musical: Blood Brothers, written by Willie Russell. Also nominated: Poppy, written by Pete Nichols and Monty NormanMr Cinders, written by Clifford Grey, Greatrex Newman, Leo Robin, Vivian Ellis and Richard Myers
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Karma Chameleon. Also nominated: Only You, performed by Yazoo, written by Vince Clarke; Let’s Dance, written by David Bowie
  • The Most Performed Work: Every Breath You Take. Also nominated: Karma ChameleonMoonlight Shadow, written by Mike Oldfield
  • The International Hit of the Year: Let’s Dance, written by David Bowie. Also nominated: Every Breath You TakeKarma Chameleon
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Songwriters of the Year: Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Andy Brown, Peter Kircher, Alan Lancaster, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi

Ivor Novello Awards 1985

The 30th Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • Best Contemporary Song: Two Tribes, performed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, written by Holly Johnson, Peter Gill and Mark O’Toole. Also nominated: I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me, written by Nik Kershaw; Relax, performed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, written by Holly Johnson, Peter Gill and Mark O’Toole
  • Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), written by Phil Collins. Also nominated: Careless Whisper, performed by Wham!, written by George Michael and Andrew RidgeleyI Should have Known Better, written by Jim Diamond and Graham Lyle
  • Best Theme from a TV or Radio Production: Jewel in the Crown, written by George Fenton. Also nominated: Another Six English Towns, written by Jim Parker; Kennedy, written by Richard Hartley
  • Best Film Theme or Song: We All Stand Together, written by Paul McCartney. Also nominated: Champions, written by Carl Davis; Company of Wolves, written by George Fenton
  • Best British Musical: The Hired Man, words and music by Howard Goodall. Also nominated: Starlight Express, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe; The Boyfriend, written by Sandy Wilson
  • Most Performed Work: Careless Whisper. Also nominated: Two Tribes; I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • The Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Do They Know It’s Christmas?, performed by Band Aid, written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure
  • International Hit of the Year: The Reflex, performed by Duran Duran, written by Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes. Also nominated: Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run), written by Billie Ocean and Keith Diamond; Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, performed by Wham!, written by George Michael
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Michael Tippett
  • Songwriter of the Year: George Michael
  • The Jimmy Kennedy Award: Tommie Connor
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Patrick Moraz and Ray Thomas

Ivor Novello Awards 1986

The 31st Ivor Novello Awards were held at Grosvenor House, London.

  • Best Contemporary Song: We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome), performed by Tina Turner, written by Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. Also nominated: 19, written by Paul Hardcastle, Mike Oldfield, Bill Couturie and Jonas McCord; Money for Nothing, performed by Dire Straits, written by Mark Knopfler and Sting; Running Up That Hill, written by Kate Bush
  • Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Nikita, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Also nominated: I Want To Know What Love Is, performed by Foreigner, written by Mick Jones; Everybody Wants to Rule the World, performed by Tears for Fears, written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris HughesI Know Him So Well, performed by Elaine Page, written by Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson
  • The Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: Edge of Darkness, written by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen. Also nominated: The Last Place on Earth, written by Trevor Jones; Eastenders, written by Leslie Osborne and Simon May
  • The Best Film Theme or Song: We Don’t Need Another Hero, written by Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. Also nominated: Hit That Perfect Beat, written by John Foster, Steve Bronski and Larry SteinbachekA View to a Kill, written by Duran Duran and John Barry
  • The Best British Musical: Me and My Girl, written by Reginald Armitage and Douglas Furber. Also nominated: Lennon, written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon; Mutiny, written by David Essex and Richard Crane
  • Most Performed Work: Easy Lover, written by: Phillip Bailey, Phil Collins and Nathan East
  • Best Selling ‘A’ Side: I Know Him So Well. Also nominated: 19; Easy Lover
  • International Hit of the Year: 19. Also nominated: Shout, performed by Tears for Fears, written by Roland Orzabal and Ian Stanley; A View to a Kill, written by Duran Duran and John Barry
  • The Jimmy Kennedy Award: Lionel Bart
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Malcolm Arnold
  • Songwriter of the Year: Roland Orzabal
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Elton John

Ivor Novello Awards 1987

The 1987 Ivor Novello Awards took place on 15th April at Grosvenor House, London.

  • Best Contemporary Song: It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back), performed by Eurythmics, written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. Also nominated: West End Girls, performed by Pet Shop Boys, written by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe; Sledgehammer, written by Peter Gabriel
  • Best Song Musically and Lyrically: Don’t Give Up, written by Peter Gabriel. Also nominated: All I Ask of You, written by Charles Hart, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe; The Miracle of Love, performed by Eurythmics, written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
  • Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Every Loser Wins, written by Simon May, Stewart James and Bradley James. Also nominated: Chain Reaction, written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb; Living Doll, written by Lionel Bart
  • Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: The Monocled Mutineer, written by George Fenton. Also nominated: Theme from Lost Empires, written by Derek Hilton; Time After Time, written by Rod Argent and Robert Howes
  • Most Performed Work: Chain Reaction, performed by Diana Ross, written by: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • International Hit of the Year: West End Girls. Also nominated: Nikita, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin; The Edge of Heaven, performed by Wham!, written by George Michael
  • Best Film Theme or Song: Sweet Freedom, written by Rod Temperton. Also nominated: A Kind of Magic, written by Roger Taylor; In Too Deep, written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford
  • The Best British Musical: The Phantom of the Opera, written by Charles Hart, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe. Also nominated: Chess, written by Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson; Charlie Girl, written by David Heneker and John Taylor
  • The Jimmy Kennedy Award: Hugh Charles
  • Songwriters of the Year: Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Yehudi Menuhin
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: John Deacon, Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor

Ivor Novello Awards 1988

The 1988 Ivor Novello Awards took place on 7th April at Grosvenor House, London.

  • Best Contemporary Song: You Win Again, performed by Bee Gees, written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb. Also nominated: Never Gonna Give You Up, performed by Rick Astley, written by Stock Aitken Waterman (Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman); What Have I Done to Deserve This?, performed by Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, written by Chris Lowe, Neil Tennant and Allee Willis
  • Best Song Musically and Lyrically: (Something Inside) So Strong, written by Labi Siffre. Also nominated: I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), performed by Aretha Franklin and George Michael, written by Simon Climie and Dennis Morgan; Throwing It All Away, written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Michael Rutherford
  • Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Never Gonna Give You Up. Also nominated: You Win Again; China in Your Hand, performed by T’Pau, written by Carol Decker and Ronald Rogers
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: David Heneker
  • Best Theme from a Television or Radio Production: Fortunes of War, written by Richard Holmes. Also nominated: Neighbours, written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent; My Family and Other Animals, written by Daryl Runswick
  • Most Performed Work: Never Gonna Give You Up. Also nominated: Respectable, performed by Mel and Kim, written by Stock Aitken Waterman; Living in a Box, performed by Living in a Box, written by Marcus Vere and Steve Pigott
  • International Hit of the Year: Never Gonna Give You Up, written by Stock Aitken Waterman. Also nominated: It’s a Sin, performed by Pet Shop Boys, written by Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant; I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
  • Best Film Score Theme or Song: Cry Freedom, written by George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa. Also nominated: The Living Daylights, written by John Barry and Pal Waaktaar; Theme from Castaway, written by Stanley Myers
  • The Jimmy Kennedy Award: Norman Newell
  • Songwriters of the Year: Matt Aitken, Mike Stock and Peter Waterman
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb

Ivor Novello Awards 1989

The 1989 Ivor Novello Awards were held on 4th April at Grosvenor House, London.

  • Best Contemporary Song: Love Changes (Everything), written by Simon Climie, Dennis Morgan and Rob Fisher. Also nominated: A Little Respect, performed by Erasure, written by Andy Bell and Vince Clarke; Father Figure, written by George Michael
  • Best Song Musically and Lyrically: They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo), written by Sting. Also nominated: Perfect, performed by Fairground Attraction, written by Mark Nevin; Mary’s Prayer, performed by Danny Wilson, written by Gary Clark
  • Best Selling ‘A’ Side: Mistletoe & Wine, performed by Cliff Richard, written by Leslie Stewart, Jeremy Paul and Keith Strachan. Also nominated: Especially for You, performed by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, written by Stock Aitken Waterman; I Should Be So Lucky, performed by Kylie Minogue, written by Stock Aitken Waterman
  • Most Performed Work: I Should Be So Lucky. Also nominated: Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, written by Billy Ocean and Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange; Love Changes (Everything)
  • Best Theme from a TV or Radio Production: Testament, written by Nigel Hess. Also nominated: The Long March, written by Christopher Gunning; Young Musician of the Year, written by Edward Gregson
  • Best Film Theme or Song: Two Hearts, written by Phil Collins and Lamont Dozier. Also nominated: A Fish Called Wanda, written by Trevor Jones and  John Du Prez; Childhood Days, written by Barry Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • International Hit of the Year: Faith, written by George Michael. Also nominated: I Should Be So Lucky; Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
  • Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Mark Knopfler and John Illsley
  • Songwriters of the Year: George Michael and Matt Aitken, Mike Stock and Peter Waterman (presented jointly)
  • The Jimmy Kennedy Award: Leslie Bricusse
  • Outstanding Services to British Music: Paul McCartney
  • Lifetime Achievement: Cliff Richard

Further Reading

British Rock & Pop Awards 1976-1978

Have you ever heard of the British Rock & Pop Awards? Honestly, neither had I until very recently. They’re thought by some to have been the predecessor to the BPI Awards, which would later become the BRIT Awards, but the two ceremonies actually ran in parallel for a few years.

Over the next few weeks we’ll examine what seems to have been – as far as I can make out – the ceremony’s eight year history, from 1977 to 1984, using all the information which I could find online. Note that due to the sources used, some of the information may not be accurate.

1976

The first ceremony seems to have taken place in 1977, celebrating the previous year of music, and was televised by ATV (a record exists in the BFI database here, with a second record here). If this book is to be believed, the award ceremony had a connection with the Daily Mirror too.

Winners and participants included:

  • The Bay City Rollers
  • David Essex
  • Eric Faulkner
  • Elton John and Kiki Dee
  • Paul McCartney / Wings (winners of Best Rock Band and Best Pop Band)
  • John Miles
  • Real Thing
  • Status Quo

Interestingly 1977 saw the British Record Industry Britannia Centenary Awards take place, which would later become the BRIT Awards. The presenter seems to have been Noel Edmonds, who of course appeared at the BRITs on a number of occasions too.

1977

I can’t find any trace of a 1977 ceremony – perhaps it took a year off, or perhaps it has just been lost in time. Maybe one day, someone with a bit too much time on their hands will trawl through the press from the year and confirm for us.

1978

The 1978 ceremony seems to have taken place on 11th April 1979, at the Café Royal, London, and this time was broadcast by the BBC (BFI record here). Presenters included Bob Wellings and David Jensen.

Kate Bush won Best Female Vocalist (see here and here). Dusty Springfield presented Best Group to Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees (see here).

Top of the Pops resident dancers Legs & Co performed a medley of Rod Stewart‘s D’Ya Think I’m SexyThe Bee Gees‘ Night FeverBrian and Michael‘s Matchstalk Men and You’re the One That I Want from Grease (see here).

The end credits from the ceremony, including footage from the awards, can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiKQJz34xv0 Winners:

  • Best Single: Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
  • Best Album: ELO – Out of the Blue
  • Best Male Singer: Leo Sayer
  • Best Female Singer: Kate Bush
  • Best Group: The Bee Gees
  • Radio 1 DJs’ Award: Nick Lowe
  • Daily Mirror Readers’ Award: Ian Dury
  • Nationwide Golden Award: Barron Knights

A detailed write-up, including a review from Clive James, is available here. This post quotes this document, erroneously referring to the ceremony as having later become the BRIT Awards, but also describes further participants as including:

  • Dave Dee
  • Georgie Fame
  • Mary Hopkin
  • Hank Marvin

The event date is also corroborated by this post. The BBC TV series Nationwide covered the event on 15th February and 29th March.

We’ll work our way forward to 1979 next week!

The BRIT Awards 1991

On February 10th 1991, the BRITs took place at the Dominion Theatre in London, presented, perhaps appropriately, in the form of a voice over, by voice over artiste extraordinaire Simon Bates.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1990 ceremony here, and the 1992 ceremony in a couple of days’ time.

Best British Album

Presented by The Bee Gee Robin Gibb. Nominees:

  • The Beautiful South – Choke
  • Elton John – Sleeping with the Past
  • George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
  • Van Morrison – Enlightenment
  • Prefab Sprout – Jordan: The Come Back
  • Lisa Stansfield – Affection

Winner: George Michael

Best British Female

Presented by Annie Lennox. Nominees:

  • Betty Boo
  • Elizabeth Fraser
  • Dusty Springfield
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Caron Wheeler

Winner: Lisa Stansfield

Best British Group

Presented by Roger Daltry. Nominees:

  • The Beautiful South
  • The Cure
  • Happy Mondays
  • Soul II Soul
  • The Stone Roses
  • Talk Talk

Winner: The Cure

Best British Male

Presented by Kim Appleby. Nominees:

  • Phil Collins
  • Elton John
  • George Michael
  • Van Morrison
  • Robert Smith
  • Jimmy Somerville

Winner: Elton John

Best British Newcomer

Presented by Jimmy Somerville. Nominees:

  • Beats International
  • Betty Boo
  • The Charlatans
  • Happy Mondays
  • The Las

Winner: Betty Boo

Best British Producer

Presented by Kim Appleby. Nominees:

  • Nellee Hooper
  • George Michael
  • Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne
  • Chris Thomas
  • Youth

Winner: Chris Thomas

Best British Single

Presented by Simon Mayo.

Winner: Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

Best British Video

Presented by Philip Schofield and Simon Le Bon from off of Duran Duran. Nominees:

  • Adamski – Killer
  • The Beautiful South – A Little Time
  • The Beloved – Hello
  • Betty Boo – Where Are You Baby
  • The Cure – Close to Me
  • Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
  • Go West – King of Wishful Thinking
  • Billy Idol – Cradle of Love
  • George Michael – Freedom 90
  • Seal – Crazy

Winner: The Beautiful South

Best Classical Recording

Nominees:

  • Matthew Best – Serenade to the Music
  • John Elliot Gardner – Vespers of the Blessed
  • Oliver Knussen – The Prince of the Pagodas
  • Zubin Mehta – In Concerto – Carreras
  • Kent Nagano – The Love for Three

Winner: Zubin Mehta

Best International Female

Presented by Paul Jones. Nominees:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Neneh Cherry
  • Whitney Houston
  • Janet Jackson
  • Madonna
  • Sinéad O’Connor
  • Tina Turner

Winner: Sinéad O’Connor

Best International Group

Presented by Shakin’ Stevens. Nominees:

  • B-52s
  • De La Soul
  • Faith No More
  • INXS
  • Roxette

Winner: INXS

Best International Male

Presented by Rick Astley. Nominees:

  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • MC Hammer
  • Michael Hutchence
  • Prince
  • Paul Simon

Winner: Michael Hutchence

Best International Newcomer

Presented by Chris Rea. Nominees:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Dee-Lite
  • MC Hammer
  • Maria McKee
  • Wilson Phillips

Winner: MC Hammer

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by Rick Astley. Nominees:

  • Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks
  • Angelo Badalamenti – Wild at Heart
  • Maurice Jarre – Ghost
  • Various Artists – Days of Thunder
  • Various Artists – Pretty Woman

Winner: Twin Peaks

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Terry Ellis.

Winner: Status Quo

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Laneway Festival 2013, Singapore

A nice surprise just a couple of weeks after arriving in South-East Asia was the arrival of the Laneway Festival last weekend in Singapore. Since practically everybody I asked seemed to be going along, and since the lineup was pretty strong, it seemed rude not to join them. The audience was largely non-Singaporean and largely the kind of people who are a bit too cool for pop, but it made for a great day out in the heat of the almost equatorial January sun.

Frustratingly the slightly shambolic queue for ticket collection left me unable to catch most of the wonderful Kings of Convenience, although the strength of their closer I’d Rather Dance with You was still notable compared to some of the bands who would follow. Another definite highlight was seeing Erlend Øye turn up at the end of the night dancing like a maniac to Gotye, but I’d really have liked to be able to say more about how good their performance was.

Minnesota’s Polica followed with an excellent set of tracks which I’m only unable to recommend since I’d never heard any of them before. Their debut album is out already and definitely seemed worth checking out, with shades of Portishead or Goldfrapp.

The slightly strange order and selection of the lineup reared its ugly head very early on as Cloud Nothings turned up and were absolutely and inconceivably dreadful. The punk / metal band screamed their way through an awful 45 minutes or so, although it’s difficult to know whether they could actually tell, given how poor their drummer seems to be at keeping time.

This seemed a good time to go and investigate what else the festival had to offer, but sadly the merchandise stall was a pretty paltry offering, and the drinks were pricey. Most disappointing was the decision to only stock Fiji water at S$5 for a tiny bottle, complete with a rather insulting message on the label about how sustainable the water was. Because of course shipping tiny bottles of water seven hours across the ocean and selling them at exorbitant prices is much better for the environment than providing, say for argument, a tap.

Fortunately Divine Fits turned up to prevent the mid-afternoon heat from making things any worse. Pleasant enough, the three-piece indie supergroup (apparently, anyway – nobody I asked seemed to have heard of any of them) worked their way through the set before passing the baton over to the much better Of Monsters and Men. Typically Icelandic (I.e. slightly bonkers) and oddly named, they were a wonderful antidote to the sun and some of the dross and dullness which had preceded them.

Japandroids, on the other hand, were a bit of a disappointment. Someone asked me beforehand whether I thought they might sing in Japanese, but sadly they turned out to be neither Japanese nor as electro as their name appeared to suggest. So another set of dull “alternative rock” followed.

The day was growing late and it had already struck most people that the set order was odd in the extreme. Removing Cloud Nothings would have been a good start, but even the bands who were there should really have been reshuffled into a more sensible order. Kings of Convenience may have seemed a nice chilled out opener, but as the most accomplished act on the bill, they really should have had higher billing, and the headline act was, as we shall see, perhaps not the best choice.

The act who followed was a pleasant surprise. Nicholas Jaar turns out to be an excellent chillout dance act with some excellent moments in his set, although sadly by this stage the sunburn and the hours spent out in the sun were starting to get to me, so I ended up sleeping through a good chunk of Kimbra‘s set. What I did see was unfortunately pretty dull. Having turned up as Cinderella, she proceeded to play tracks that largely sounded like Gwen Stefani but rockier, and sadly that’s about all there was to say.

As the sun went down behind Marina Bay Sands, Real Estate turned up with a set that was generally strong but fairly forgettable. British media favourites Alt-J followed, good and consistently interesting, but also a little underwhelming. Having walked off after a couple of minutes due to sound problems, they finally returned to finish their set, but I wonder if perhaps the audience needed something a little stronger at this point.

Fortunately, we got it. The big surprise for me was Yeasayer, whom I think I’d managed not to come across previously, and who were truly exceptional. Catchy experimental hit followed hit, and you’ll be either pleased or disappointed to hear that I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them from the safety of this blog in the future.

Bat for Lashes was up next, and followed in style with another excellent set, although much of the audience showed their colour by remaining seated for her and then crowding en masse to the stage for the subsequent act Tame Impala.

As an act who had clearly listened to rather more Status Quo in their time than is really healthy, they were, for the most part, fairly dull, but they clearly knew what they were doing for all of that. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards was a particular highlight.

Whether because of the late night shutdown of the city’s Metro system or because people thought they were a bit too cool for the decidedly mainstream headliner who followed, it was really disappointing to see large parts of the crowd exiting at this point, leaving Gotye with slightly post-apocalyptic fields of litter for much of his audience. Perhaps choosing a headliner who had more than one hit to his name outside of Belgium and Australia might have helped.

But Gotye was, of course, excellent. Rippling with humour, great videos, a plethora of different instruments, and a huge array of great songs, it was never going to be anything else. And having long since learnt the lesson of getting his tracks in the right order, Somebody That I Used to Know was among the last. All told, his set was definitely the best of the lot, and he was entirely justified as the headliner – it’s just a shame that the crowd didn’t agree.

To my amusement, what followed was an excellent piece of organised chaos, as the crowds surged out of the site to find that all the public transport had shut down. The entire shopping centre at the Marina was suddenly filled with slightly lost music fans entering from all directions, and none of them entirely sure where they were going. Alongside them, we pushed out into the streets of Singapore and gradually dispersed into the night.

All told, Laneway was an excellent little one-day festival. It was a long day, and a hot one, with generally a good variety of bands, even if they were in an odd order. The decision to charge such high prices for drinks in such a dangerously sunny environment was a shame, but so was the rather unnecessary confiscation of umbrellas at the entrance. But those are quibbles which can easily be fixed. The music was the main thing, and I’m happy to say I discovered some great bands there, even if I was characteristically late to the party with a couple of them…

After Singapore St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival was already in Auckland on Monday, and continues around Australia over the next couple of weeks, visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this weekend, and then Adelaide and Perth the following week.

The BPI Awards 1985

As promised, today we start our journey through the BRIT Awards ceremonies of the past. We begin way back on 11th February 1985 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, where Noel Edmonds is introducing the BPI Awards 1985:

The year we’re celebrating, 1984, is, as we now know, one of the most important years in electronic pop music. This ceremony is also among the best documented of any of them. But having seen what we’ve seen in recent years, this is a fascinatingly corporate affair. As we’ll see Edmonds, the James Cordon of his day, does a great job, but the show is almost entirely lacking in glitz, glamour, or indeed Mr. Blobby. As he says, there were fourteen awards altogether, so based on various online sources here’s my relatively complete record of the 1985 ceremony.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Sting. Nominees:

  • Annie Lennox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sade
  • Tracey Ullman
  • Kim Wilde

Winner: Alison Moyet.

Best British Album

Presented by Pete Townsend, somewhat the worse for wear. I’m not sure what Noel means when he says “he was the recipient of a special award” – in a previous year perhaps? Anyway, nominees:

  • Sade – Diamond Life
  • Nik Kershaw – Human Racing
  • U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
  • Queen – The Works
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome

In subsequent years, U2 would be forced into the International categories, so it’s strange that they were nominated here, but there we go.

Winner: Sade.

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Richard Baker out of The 1930s. Nominees:

  • Arnold Bax Symphony No. 4 – Ulster Orchestra conducted by Bryden Thomson
  • Britten’s The Turn of the Screw – Royal Opera House Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis
  • Mozart’s The Magic Flute – Rundfunkchor Leipzig and Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Sir Colin Davis
  • Verdi’s Il Travatore – Orchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini
  • Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons – The Academy of Ancient Music conducted by Christopher Hogwood

Winner: Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons.

Best British Group

Presented by Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi from Status Quo, who at the time had recently given up touring apparently. Before starting again a couple of years later. Nominees:

  • Bronski Beat
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Queen
  • U2
  • Wham!

Winner: Wham!

Best British Producer

Presented by George Martin. Nominees:

  • Peter Collins
  • Steve Jolley and Tony Swain
  • Laurie Latham
  • Steve Lillywhite
  • Trevor Horn

Apparently it’s about time he won it for the third time running. Winner: Trevor Horn, who seems to have attended with an animal on his head.

Best British Single

Frankie Goes to Hollywood stood a pretty good chance of winning this one. Nominees:

  • Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Two Tribes
  • George Michael – Careless Whisper
  • Sade – Smooth Operator

Winner: Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax.

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Toyah Willcox. Nominees:

  • David Bowie
  • Howard Jones
  • Nik Kershaw
  • Paul McCartney
  • Paul Young

Unfortunately I can’t work out how to embed this video, but you can watch it in full here.

The winner is, of course, Paul Young.

Best Soundtrack / Cast Recording

Presented by Barbara Dickson and Elaine Paige. Nominees:

  • Electric Dreams (various artists)
  • Footloose (various artists)
  • Give My Regards to Broad Street (Paul McCartney)
  • Purple Rain (Prince and the Revolution)
  • The Woman in Red (Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick)

Winner: Purple Rain.

Best International Artist

Presented by a rather confused Holly Johnson out of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Nominees:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince and the Revolution
  • Lionel Richie
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • ZZ Top

Winner: a decidedly bemused Prince, but without The Revolution in tow.

Radio 1 Best British Newcomer

Presented by Steve Wright in the afternoon.

Make sure you pay attention to Steve’s advice to stop taping records off the radio. As he says, it’s very, very naughty. Also in a fascinatingly off-colour joke, we learn that apparently Michael Jackson isn’t gay.

Winner: Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Remember, Relax was banned on BBC Radio 1, so I’m particularly intrigued that their listeners would have voted for them in such numbers!

Runners up: Nik Kershaw (second place), Bronski Beat (third place).

Best Comedy Recording

Presented by “windswept and interesting” Billy Connolly. Nominees:

  • Wierd Al Yankovic – Eat It
  • Neil (The Young Ones) – Hole in My Shoe
  • Roland Rat – Rat Rapping
  • Mel Brooks – To Be or Not to Be (The Hitler Rap)
  • Alexei Sayle – Ullo John Got a New Motor

Winner: Neil from The Young Ones.

Best British Video

Although the strategy of getting nominated multiple times wasn’t quite as successful for Wham! in the video category. Nominees:

  • Duran Duran – Wild Boys
  • Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
  • Wham! – Last Christmas

Winner: Duran Duran.

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: The Police.

Special Award

A special award was given to Bob Geldof and Midge Ure for their work on the Band Aid single.

Performances

Just the introductions, I’m afraid…

  • Alison Moyet – All Cried Out
  • Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
  • Howard Jones – What is Love?
  • Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t it Be Good
  • Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do with It

Further Reading / Viewing

Edit: by strange coincidence The Guardian decided to celebrate the same ceremony by publishing Neil Tennant‘s review from Smash Hits, which you can read here. Thanks to daveid on the Pet Shop Boys forum for spotting this one.

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