Ivor Novello Awards Winners 1956-2018 (Part One)

Let’s take a final look at the history of the Ivor Novello Awards, by trying to summarise the winners by award category. As they should, these have evolved somewhat over the years, and many have changed their name, so I’ve tried to reconcile them into a single category if they’re roughly the same. I’ve generally tried to use the most recent name in each instance.

Best Song or Album

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

  • 1956 – Ev’rywhere – Tolchard Evans and Jack Fishman
  • 1957 – My September Love – Tolchard Evans and Richard Mullen *
  • 1958 – We Will Make Love – Russ Hamilton *
  • 1959 – Trudie – Joe Henderson *
  • 1960 – Side Saddle – Russ Conway *
  • 1961 – As Long As He Needs Me – Lionel Bart *
  • 1962 – My Kind of Girl – Leslie Bricusse
  • 1963 – Stranger on the Shore – Acker Bilk
  • 1964 – She Loves You – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1965 – Can’t Buy Me Love – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1966 – I’ll Never Find Another You – Tom Springfield
  • 1967 – Michelle – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1968 – Puppet on a String – Phil Coulter and Bill Martin
  • 1969 – Congratulations – Phil Coulter and Bill Martin
  • 1970 – Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1971 – Yellow River – Jeff Christie
  • 1972 – My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
  • 1973 – Beg Steal or Borrow – Tony Cole, Graeme Hall and Steve Wolfe
  • 1974 – Get Down – Gilbert O’Sullivan
  • 1975 – Wombling Song – Mike Batt
  • 1976 – I’m Not In Love – Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart
  • 1977 – Save Your Kisses For Me – Tony Hiller, Martin Lee and Lee Sheriden *
  • 1978 – Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • 1979 – Night Fever – Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • 1980 – Bright Eyes – Mike Batt
  • 1981 – Together We Are Beautiful – Ken Leray
  • 1982 – You Drive Me Crazy – Ronnie Harwood
  • 1983 – Golden Brown – Jean J. Burnell, Hugh Cornwell, Jet Black and David Greenfield
  • 1984 – Every Breath You Take – Sting
  • 1985 – Careless Whisper – George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
  • 1986 – Easy Lover – Phillip Bailey, Phil Collins and Nathan East
  • 1987 – Chain Reaction – Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • 1988 – Never Gonna Give You Up – Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman
  • 1989 – I Should Be So Lucky – Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman
  • 1990 – This Time I Know It’s For Real – Mike Stock, Matt Aiken, Pete Waterman and Donna Summer
  • 1991 – Blue Savannah – Andy Bell and Vince Clarke
  • 1992 – I’m Too Sexy – Fred Fairbrass, Rob Manzoli and Richard Fairbrass
  • 1993 – Deeply Dippy – Fred Fairbrass, Rob Manzoli and Richard Fairbrass
  • 1994 – Ordinary World – Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo
  • 1995 – Love is All Around – Reg Presley
  • 1996 – Back For Good – Gary Barlow
  • 1997 – Fast Love – George Michael
  • 1998 – I’ll Be Missing You (Every Breath You Take) – Sting
  • 1999 – Angels – Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers
  • 2000 – Beautiful Stranger – William Orbit and Madonna
  • 2001 – Pure Shores – Shaznay Lewis and William Orbit
  • 2002 – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis
  • 2003 – Just A Little – Michelle Escoffery, John Hammond Hagan, George Hammond Hagan
  • 2004 – Superstar – Mich Hansen, Joseph Belmaati and Mikkel Sigvardt
  • 2005 – Toxic – Cathy Dennis, Bloodshy, Henrik Jonback and Avant
  • 2006 – You’re Beautiful – James Blunt, Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek
  • 2007 – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ – Elton John, Scott Hoffman and Jason Sellards
  • 2008 – Shine – Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Stephen Robson
  • 2009 – Mercy – Steve Booker and Duffy
  • 2010 – The Fear – Lily Allen and Greg Kurstin
  • 2011 – She Said – Eric Appapoulay, Richard Cassell, Ben Drew and Tom Wright-Goss
  • 2012 – Rolling In The Deep – Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • 2013 – Next to Me – Hugo Chegwin, Harry Craze, Anup Paul and Emeli Sandé
  • 2014 – Let Her Go – Mike Rosenberg
  • 2015 – Rather Be – James Napier and Jack Patterson
  • 2016 – Hold Back The River – Iain Archer and James Bay
  • 2017 – Hymn for the Weekend – Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin
  • 2018 – Shape of You – Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran

Those with an asterisk (*) were awarded jointly as Most Performed Work and Best Selling British Song, as a single award.

Best Selling British Song

  • 1957 – My September Love – Tolchard Evans and Richard Mullen *
  • 1958 – We Will Make Love – Russ Hamilton *
  • 1959 – Trudie – Joe Henderson *
  • 1960 – Side Saddle – Russ Conway *
  • 1961 – As Long As He Needs Me – Lionel Bart *
  • 1962 – Walkin’ Back To Happiness – Michael Hawker and John Schroeder
  • 1963 – Telstar – Joe Meek
  • 1964 – She Loves You – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1965 – Can’t Buy Me Love – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1966 – We Can Work It Out – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1967 – Yellow Submarine – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1968 – The Last Waltz – Barry Mason and Les Reed
  • 1969 – Hey Jude – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1970 – Get Back – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1971 – In the Summertime – Ray Dorset
  • 1972 – My Sweet Lord – George Harrison
  • 1973 – Mouldy Old Dough – Nigel Fletcher and Rob Woodward
  • 1974 – I Love You Love Me Love – Mike Leander
  • 1975 – Tiger Feet – Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn
  • 1976 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Freddie Mercury
  • 1977 – Save Your Kisses For Me – Tony Hiller, Martin Lee and Lee Sheriden *
  • 1978 – Mull of Kintyre – Paul McCartney and Denny Laine
  • 1979 – Night Fever – Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • 1980 – Bright Eyes – Mike Batt
  • 1981 – There’s No One Quite Like Grandma – Gordon Lorenz
  • 1982 – Stand and Deliver – Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni
  • 1983 – Come On Eileen – Kevin Rowland, Kevin Adams and James Paterson
  • 1984 – Karma Chameleon – Boy George, John Moss, Michael Craig, Roy Hay and Phil Pickett
  • 1985 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Bob Geldof and Midge Ure
  • 1986 – I Know Him So Well – Tim Rice, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson
  • 1987 – Every Loser Wins – Simon May, Stewart James and Bradley James
  • 1988 – Never Gonna Give You Up – Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman
  • 1989 – Mistletoe & Wine – Leslie Stewart, Jeremy Paul and Keith Strachan
  • 1990 – Too Many Broken Hearts – Mike Stock, Matt Aiken and Pete Waterman
  • 1991 – Sacrifice/Healing Hands – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1992 – Bohemian Rhapsody / These are the Days of Our Lives – Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon
  • 1993 – Would I Lie To You – Mick Leeson and Peter Vale
  • 1994 – Mr Blobby – David Rogers and Paul Shaw
  • 1995 – Love is All Around – Reg Presley
  • 1996 – Back For Good – Gary Barlow
  • 1997 – Wannabe – Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard
  • 1998 – Candle In The Wind 1997 – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1999 – Believe – Brian Higgins, Steve Torch, Paul Barry, Stuart McLennan, Tim Powell and Matt Gray
  • 2000 – The Millennium Prayer – Paul Field and Stephen Deal
  • 2001 – Can We Fix It – Paul Joyce
  • 2002 – Pure and Simple – Pete Kirtley, Tim Hawes and Alison Clarkson
  • 2003 – Anything Is Possible – Cathy Dennis and Chris Braide
  • 2004 – Mad World – Roland Orzabal
  • 2005 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Bob Geldof and Midge Ure
  • 2006 – That’s My Goal – Jorgan Elofsson, Jeremy Godfrey and Bill Padley
  • 2007 – A Moment Like This – Jorgen Elofsson and John Reid
  • 2008 – Beautiful Liar – Ian Dench, Mikkel Eriksen, Amanda Ghost, Tor Erik Hermansen and Beyonce Knowles
  • 2009 – Viva La Vida – Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin

Those with an asterisk (*) were awarded jointly as Most Performed Work and Best Selling British Song, as a single award.

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

  • 1956 – In Love for the Very First Time – Paddy Roberts and Jack Woodman
  • 1957 – By the Fountains of Rome – Norman Newell and Mátyás Seiber
  • 1958 – A Handful of Songs – Lionel Bart, Michael Pratt and Tommy Steele
  • 1959 – The Wind Cannot Read – Peter Hart
  • 1960 – The Village of St. Bernadette – Eula Parker
  • 1961 – Portrait of My Love – Norman Newell and Cyril Ornadel
  • 1962 – What Kind of Fool Am I? – Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
  • 1963 – My Love and Devotion – Howard Barnes, Harold Fields and Joe Roncoroni
  • 1964 – If I Ruled The World – Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel
  • 1965 – Downtown – Tony Hatch
  • 1966 – Yesterday – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1968 – She’s Leaving Home – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
  • 1970 – Where Do You Go To My Lovely – Peter Sarstedt
  • 1971 – Something – George Harrison
  • 1972 – Don’t Let It Die – Hurricane Smith
  • 1973 – Without You – Tom Evans and Peter Ham
  • 1974 – Daniel – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1975 – Streets of London – Ralph McTell
  • 1978 – Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • 1979 – Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
  • 1980 – The Logical Song – Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson
  • 1981 – Woman in Love – Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • 1982 – Memory – Andrew Lloyd Webber, T.S. Eliot and Trevor Nunn
  • 1983 – Have You Ever Been in Love – Andy Hill, Pete Sinfield and John Danter
  • 1984 – Every Breath You Take – Sting
  • 1985 – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) – Phil Collins
  • 1986 – Nikita – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1987 – Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel
  • 1988 – Something Inside So Strong – Labi Siffre
  • 1989 – They Dance Alone – Sting
  • 1990 – The Living Years – BA Robertson and Mike Rutherford
  • 1991 – Sacrifice – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1992 – The Whole of the Moon – Mike Scott
  • 1993 – Why – Annie Lennox
  • 1994 – If I Ever Lose My Faith in You – Sting
  • 1995 – Think Twice – Andy Hill andPeter Sinfield
  • 1996 – Common People – Jarvis Cocker, Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey and Russell Senior
  • 1997 – Too Much Love Will Kill You – Brian May, Frank Musker and Elizabeth Lamers
  • 1998 – Paranoid Android – Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Phil Selway, Colin Greenwood and Ed O’Brien
  • 1999 – Believe – Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennan, Paul Barry, Steve Torch, Matt Gray and Tim Powell
  • 2000 – Strong – Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers
  • 2001 – Babylon – David Gray
  • 2002 – Walk On – Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono and Larry Mullen Jnr
  • 2003 – The Other Side – David Gray
  • 2004 – Leave Right Now – Francis Eg White
  • 2005 – Dry Your Eyes – Mike Skinner
  • 2006 – Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
  • 2007 – Elusive – Scott Matthews
  • 2008 – Love Is A Losing Game – Amy Winehouse
  • 2009 – One Day Like This – Guy Garvey, Richard Jupp, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Peter Turner
  • 2010 – The Fear – Lily Allen and Greg Kurstin
  • 2011 – Becoming a Jackal – Conor O’Brien
  • 2012 – The A Team – Ed Sheeran
  • 2013 – Next to Me – Hugo Chegwin, Harry Craze, Anup Paul and Emeli Sandé
  • 2014 – Strong – Dominic Major, Hannah Reid and Daniel Rothman
  • 2015 – Take Me To Church – Andrew Hozier-Byrne
  • 2016 – Wasn’t Expecting That – Jamie Lawson
  • 2017 – Black Man in a White World – Dean ‘Inflo’ Josiah Cover and Michael Kiwanuka
  • 2018 – Magnificent (She Says) – Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner

International Hit of the Year

  • 1967 – Winchester Cathedral – Geoff Stephens
  • 1968 – A Whiter Shade of Pale – Gary Brooker and Keith Reid
  • 1969 – Delilah – Barry Mason and Les Reed
  • 1970 – Love Is All – Barry Mason and Les Reed
  • 1971 – In the Summertime – Ray Dorset
  • 1972 – Jesus Christ Superstar – Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
  • 1973 – Without You – Tom Evans and Pete Ham
  • 1974 – Power To All Our Friends – Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett
  • 1975 – The Night Chicago Died – Peter Callander and Mitch Murray
  • 1976 – I’m Not In Love – Graham Gouldman – Eric Stewart
  • 1977 – Save Your Kisses For Me – Tony Hiller, Martin Lee and Lee Sheriden
  • 1978 – Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • 1979 – Stayin’ Alive – Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • 1980 – We Don’t Talk Anymore – Alan Tarney
  • 1981 – Another Brick in the Wall – Roger Waters
  • 1982 – In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
  • 1983 – Ebony and Ivory – Paul McCartney
  • 1984 – Let’s Dance – David Bowie
  • 1985 – The Reflex – Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes
  • 1986 – 19 – Paul Hardcastle, Mike Oldfield, Bill Couturie and Jonas McCord
  • 1987 – West End Girls – Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe
  • 1988 – Never Gonna Give You Up – Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman
  • 1989 – Faith – George Michael
  • 1990 – She Drives Me Crazy – David Steele and Roland Gift
  • 1991 – All Around the World – Lisa Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andrew Morris
  • 1992 – Crazy – Seal
  • 1993 – Would I Lie To You – Mick Leeson and Peter Vale
  • 1994 – Living on My Own – Freddie Mercury
  • 1995 – Love is All Around – Reg Presley
  • 1996 – Kiss From A Rose – Seal
  • 1997 – Wannabe – Victoria Adams, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard
  • 1998 – Candle In The Wind 1997 – Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • 1999 – Believe – Brian Higgins, Stuart McLennan, Paul Barry, Steve Torch, Matt Gray and Tim Powell
  • 2000 – Genie In A Bottle – Pam Sheyne, David Frank and Steve Kipner
  • 2001 – It Feels So Good – Sonique, Linus Burdick, Simon Belofsky and Graeme Pleeth
  • 2002 – Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Cathy Dennis and Rob Davis
  • 2003 – Complicated – Lauren Christy, David Alspach, Graham Edwards and Avril Lavigne
  • 2004 – White Flag – Dido Armstrong, Rollo Armstrong and Richard Nowels
  • 2005 – Vertigo – Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr
  • 2006 – You’re Beautiful – James Blunt, Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek
  • 2007 – Sorry – Madonna and Stuart Price

Best Lyric

  • 1978 – Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs – Michael Coleman and Brian Burke
  • 1979 – The Man with the Child in His Eyes – Kate Bush
  • 1980 – I Don’t Like Mondays – Bob Geldof
  • 1981 – Take That Look Off Your Face – Don Black
  • 1982 – Woman – John Lennon
  • 1983 – Private Investigations – Mark Knopfler

Best Contemporary Song

  • 1985 – Two Tribes – Holly Johnson, Peter Gill and Mark O’Toole
  • 1986 – We Don’t Need Another Hero – Graham Lyle and Terry Britten
  • 1987 – It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) – Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart
  • 1988 – You Win Again – Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb
  • 1989 – Love Changes (Everything) – Simon Climie, Dennis Morgan and Rob Fisher
  • 1990 – All Around the World – Lisa Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andrew Morris
  • 1991 – Killer – Adam ‘Adamski’ Tinley and Seal
  • 1992 – Crazy – Seal
  • 1993 – Would I Lie To You – Peter Vale and Mick Leeson
  • 1994 – Pray – Gary Barlow
  • 1995 – You Gotta Be – Des’ree Weekes and Ashley Ingram
  • 1996 – Alright – Danny Goffrey, Gaz Coombes and Michael Quinn
  • 1997 – A Design for Life – James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire
  • 1998 – Karma Police – Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Phil Selway, Colin Greenwood and Ed O’Brien
  • 1999 – Here’s Where The Story Ends – Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin
  • 2000 – Why Does It Always Rain On Me – Fran Healy
  • 2001 – Seven Days – Craig David, Mark Hill and Darren Hill
  • 2002 – Shining Light – Tim Wheeler
  • 2003 – Weak Become Heroes – Mike Skinner
  • 2004 – Stronger Than Me – Amy Winehouse and Salaam Remi
  • 2005 – Take Me Out – Robert Hardy, Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy and Paul Thomson
  • 2006 – Wires – Joel Pott, Steven Roberts, Timothy Wanstall and Carey Willetts
  • 2007 – Rehab – Amy Winehouse
  • 2008 – People Help The People – Simon Aldred
  • 2009 – Grounds For Divorce – Guy Garvey, Richard Jupp, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Peter Turner
  • 2010 – Daniel – Natasha Khan
  • 2011 – Pass Out – Timothy McKenzie, Patrick Okogwu and Marc Williams
  • 2012 – Video Games – Lana Del Rey and Justin Parker
  • 2013 – Pelican – Sam Doyle, Rupert Jarvis, Orlando Weeks, Felix White and Hugo White
  • 2014 – Retrograde – James Blake
  • 2015 – Rather Be – James Napier and Jack Patterson
  • 2016 – All My Friends – James Carter, Oliver Lee, Cass Lowe and Chance The Rapper
  • 2017 – Man – Skepta and Josh Homme
  • 2018 – Question Time – Dave and Fraser T Smith

Album Award

  • 2005 – Final Straw – Iain Archer, Nathan Connolly, Gary Lightbody, Mark McClelland and Jonny Quinn
  • 2006 – Employment – Nick Baines, Nick Hodgson, Simon Rix, Andrew White and Ricky Wilson
  • 2007 – Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not – Alex Turner
  • 2008 – In Rainbows – Colin Greenwood, Jonny Greenwood, Edward O’Brien, Philip Selway and Thom Yorke
  • 2009 – We Started Nothing – Julian De Martino and Katie White
  • 2010 – Sunny Side Up – Paolo Nutini
  • 2011 – The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Ben Drew
  • 2012 – Let England Shake – PJ Harvey
  • 2013 – An Awesome Wave – Thomas Green, Joe Newman, Gwilym Sainsbury and Augustus Unger-Hamilton
  • 2014 – Push the Sky Away – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
  • 2015 – So Long, See You Tomorrow – Jack Steadman
  • 2016 – Darling Arithmetic – Conor O’Brien
  • 2017 – The Dreaming Room – Laura Mvula
  • 2018 – Gang Signs & Prayer – Michael ‘Stormzy’ Omari

One-Off and Special Awards

One-Off Awards

  • 1966 – The Year’s Outstanding Contemporary Folk Song – Catch the Wind – Donovan
  • 1970 – The Year’s Outstanding Light Orchestral Arranger / Composer – Ernest Tomlinson
  • 1972 – Entertainment Music – Ron Goodwin
  • 1976 – Best British Work for Children – Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo – Michael Flanders and Joseph Horovitz
  • 1976 – Music Publisher of the Year – Geoffrey Heath
  • 1984 – The Best Rock Song – Let’s Dance – David Bowie
  • 1992 – Award in Recognition of the Exceptional Success of a Single Song – Everything I Do (I Do It For You) – Bryan Adams, Michael Kamen and Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange
  • 1995 – The Radio 1 Award for Continuing Innovation in Music – Brian Eno
  • 2000 – International Achievement in Musical Theatre – Robert Elhai, Elton John, Lebo M, Tsidii Le Loka, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Tim Rice, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer

Special Awards

  • 1956 – A Personal Special Award – Haydn Wood
  • 1961 – Any work which in the opinion of the Judges, is worthy of an Award, but which may not necessarily be governed by Existing Categories – Goodness Gracious Me – Herbert Kretzmer and David Lee
  • 1961 – Special Award – What Do You Want If You Don’t Want Money? – Johnny Worth
  • 1964 – Special Award in Recognition of Fifty Years’ Service to the Music Industry – The Performing Rights Society
  • 1970 – Special Award for Originality – Space Oddity – David Bowie
  • 1970 – Special Award for The Most Contemporary Song – Melting Pot – Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway
  • 1977 – Special Award for the James Bond Theme – Monty Norman
  • 1978 – Special Award – Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
  • 1979 – Special Award for Services to British Songwriters – Victor Knight
  • 1983 – Special Award for 25 Years In The Music Business – Brian Bennett, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch
  • 2005 – The Ivors Special Award for Songwriting – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
  • 2015 – The Ivors Special Anniversary Award – Bob Geldof and Midge Ure

In the second and final part next week, we’ll look at the Artist, Genre or Style-Specific Awards, and awards for Musicals, Films, Television, Radio, and Video Games.

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Preview – Zoot Woman

Zoot Woman is the band whose most famous member is probably Stuart Price, and who made the brilliant It’s Automatic back in 2001, and apparently have continued releasing albums ever since. The fifth, Redesigned, is out now, and includes this, the lovely Ordinary Face:

Stowaway Awards 2017

Finally! We kick Awards Season off in earnest with the Important Announcement of the winners of the 2017 Stowaways.

Best Track

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre with Pet Shop Boys, for Brick England.

Best Album

These were the nominees:

  • The Avalanches – Wildflower
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Clarke Hartnoll – 2Square
  • C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  • I Monster – Bright Sparks
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  • Pet Shop Boys – Super
  • Shit Robot – What Follows
  • Yello – Toy

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre, who had a particularly good year and stood a better chance of winning than most, with Oxygène 3.

Best Reissue / Compilation

The nominees:

  • Air – Twentyears
  • Cicero – Future Boy
  • The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  • New Order – Complete Music
  • Dusty Springfield – Reputation

Winner: The Human League

Best Artist

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre

Best Live Act

Winner: Pet Shop Boys

Best Ambient Track

Nominated were:

  • Air – Adis Abebah
  • Delerium – Ghost Requiem
  • Enigma – Sadeness (Part II)
  • I Monster – Alan R Pearlman and the ARPiological exploration of the cosmos
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)

Winner: Delerium, for Ghost Requiem

Best Dance Act / Remixer

Potential winners included:

  • The Avalanches
  • Clarke Hartnoll
  • Stuart Price
  • Röyksopp
  • Shit Robot

Winner: Shit Robot

Best Newcomer

Winner: C Duncan

Innovation Award

Winner: Jean-Michel Jarre

Outstanding Contribution

Could have been any of the following:

  • David Bowie
  • Vince Clarke
  • Delerium
  • Enigma
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Winner: Delerium

That’s an unprecedented four out of ten for Jean-Michel Jarre. All being well, we’ll do the BRIT and Grammy Awards over the next couple of weeks.

Stowaway Awards 2017 – Nominations

Now for the moment that you have, of course, all been waiting for: the announcement of the nominees for the 2017 Stowaway Awards. As always in recent years, there will be exactly ten awards, one of which (Best Track) you know already from the countdown a couple of weeks ago. Here are five more key nominations!

Best Album

  • The Avalanches – Wildflower
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Clarke Hartnoll – 2Square
  • C Duncan – The Midnight Sun
  • I Monster – Bright Sparks
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  • Pet Shop Boys – Super
  • Shit Robot – What Follows
  • Yello – Toy

Best Reissue / Compilation

  • Air – Twentyears
  • Cicero – Future Boy
  • The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  • New Order – Complete Music
  • Dusty Springfield – Reputation

Best Ambient Track

  • Air – Adis Abebah
  • Delerium – Ghost Requiem
  • Enigma – Sadeness (Part II)
  • I Monster – Alan R Pearlman and the ARPiological exploration of the cosmos
  • Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 17)

Best Dance Act / Remixer

  • The Avalanches
  • Clarke Hartnoll
  • Stuart Price
  • Röyksopp
  • Shit Robot

Outstanding Contribution

  • David Bowie
  • Vince Clarke
  • Delerium
  • Enigma
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor

Whatever you thought of her in the 1980s, by the turn of the 21st century it was hard not to have some respect for Madonna. Her ability to bring together some of the finest producers in the world of electronic – even if only by virtue of the size of the paycheck – was impressive to say the least.

After collaborating with William Orbit and Mirwaïs on previous releases, on Confessions on a Dance Floor, it was the turn of Stuart Price, once styled Jacques Lu Cont of Les Rhythmes Digitales.

Confessions on a Dance Floor starts with Hung Up, modelled around Gimme Gimme Gimme. The nice thing about taking other people’s songs as a starting point is that you can pretty much guarantee yourself a hit, and so it was with Hung Up, which peaked at number 1 all over the place. Rightly so – it’s a great song.

Other songs miss the mark slightly – third single Get Together is a bit chaotic, apparently based on Music Sounds Better with You (possibly played backwards?) Despite having confusing lyrics and no particular hooks, it still grabbed a top ten spot in the UK, and was a decent hit elsewhere too.

Second single Sorry follows, the track that Pet Shop Boys really brought to life with their remixes. Leaving aside the appalling foreign pronunciations, it’s a pretty good song, but does lack a bit of substance in its original form. If only Madonna could write lyrics like Neil Tennant – this could have been the blueprint for their Electric album.

As it is, there’s an early lull with the dull Future Lovers and the abominable I Love New York, neither of which has anything particular to offer the world. Neither is particularly long, but both seem as though they go on forever. Madonna isn’t a good lyric writer, and rhyming “New York” with “dork” is neither funny nor clever unfortunately. Other singers have got across a similar message much more eloquently.

Having worked through that, however, Let it Will Be and Forbidden Love are actually both pretty good – both are catchy pop songs, again with slightly daft lyrics, but that’s forgivable sometimes. Actually, in many ways both are better than the other single, Jump, which follows, and is decent, but ultimately has relatively little to offer except the word “jump” in the chorus.

You could probably skip the rest of the album and not miss too much. How High is catchy but lacking in any particular substance. Isaac has some nice vocal samples, but not a huge amount else. Push is kind of catchy but ultimately forgettable, and Like it or Not has a nice cheeky rhythm and burbly bassline, but it’s just an average pop song in the end.

So that’s Confessions on a Dance Floor – a mature and competent album from a global superstar who would sell a lot of records even if she released a CD of herself snoring. But when she works together with the right team, Madonna is still capable of creating interesting music, and for that she has to be applauded.

You can still find Confessions on a Dance Floor through your regular retailers at a bargain price.

The BRIT Awards 2011

For the first time, the BRIT Awards took place at The O2 Arena on 15th February 2011, now, according to the official website, with more live music than ever before. James Corden was the host, and the award was designed by Vivienne Westwood.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 2010 ceremony here, and the 2012 ceremony next time.

MasterCard British Album of the Year

Presented by Roger Daltrey from The Who. Nominees:

  • Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
  • Plan B – The Defamation of Strickland Banks
  • Take That – Progress
  • Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
  • The xx – xx

Winner: Mumford & Sons

British Single

Voted for by listeners of Capital Radio and users of iTunes, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Alexandra Burke feat. Pitbull – All Night Long
  • Matt Cardle – When We Collide
  • Cheryl Cole – Parachute
  • Taio Cruz – Dynamite
  • Florence + The Machine – You Got the Love
  • Olly Murs – Please Don’t Let Me Go
  • Plan B – She Said
  • Scouting for Girls – This Ain’t a Love Song
  • Tinie Tempah – Pass Out
  • The Wanted – All Time Low

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Dizzee Rascal. Nominees:

  • Plan B
  • Robert Plant
  • Mark Ronson
  • Tinie Tempah
  • Paul Weller

Winner: Plan B

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Boy George. Nominees:

  • Cheryl Cole
  • Paloma Faith
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Laura Marling
  • Rumer

Winner: Laura Marling

British Group

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 2, and presented by Dermot O’Leary. Nominees:

  • Biffy Clyro
  • Gorillaz
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Take That
  • The xx

Winner: Take That

British Breakthrough Act

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Fearne Cotton. Nominees:

  • Ellie Goulding
  • Mumford & Sons
  • Rumer
  • Tinie Tempah
  • The xx

Winner: Tinie Tempah

British Producer

Awarded alongside a couple of other producer awards at the Music Producers Guild Awards the week before the main ceremony. Nominees:

  • Markus Dravs
  • Ethan Johns
  • John Leckie
  • Mike Pela
  • Stuart Price

Winner: Markus Dravs

International Album

Presented by Boris Becker. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
  • Eminem – Recovery
  • Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
  • Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Lewis Hamilton. Nominees:

  • Eminem
  • Cee Lo Green
  • David Guetta
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kanye West

Winner: Cee Lo Green

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Cheryl Cole. Nominees:

  • Alicia Keys
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Katy Perry
  • Rihanna
  • Robyn

Winner: Rihanna

International Group

Presented by Simon Le Bon and John Taylor from Duran Duran. Nominees:

  • Arcade Fire
  • The Black Eyed Peas
  • Kings of Leon
  • The Script
  • Vampire Weekend

Winner: Arcade Fire

International Breakthrough Act

Voted for by viewers of MTV, and presented by Avril Lavigne and Will Young. Nominees:

  • Justin Bieber
  • Glee Cast
  • Bruno Mars
  • The National
  • The Temper Trap

Winner: Justin Bieber

Critics’ Choice

In association with War Child, and presented by Mark Ronson and Ellie Goulding. Nominees:

  • James Blake
  • Jessie J
  • The Vaccines

Winner: Jessie J

Outstanding Contribution

The BBC’s coverage (linked below) of the previous week’s Music Producers Guild Awards is a little confusing, as the entire event must have been. Was the Outstanding Contribution award part of the BRITs or of the Music Producers Guild event? Wikipedia thinks it was part of the BRITs…

My own interpretation of the situation is that there was no outstanding contribution award at the BRITs this year, but either way, the entirely justified winner was the founder of Mute Records, Daniel Miller, presented by Alison Goldfrapp, while Tony Visconti won the Innovation in Production award.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

Pet Shop Boys – Electric

After 2012’s Elysium, you could probably have been forgiven for thinking Pet Shop Boys had lost it a little bit. There was, as I explained when I reviewed it, nothing especially wrong with it, but it wasn’t exactly contemporary.

But there were rumours floating around at the same time – they had recorded a dance album, and it was going to come out very soon. Which it did. Electric is entirely contemporary. And also retro. And also totally brilliant.

It wasn’t the first time they had done something like this. 1993’s Very was both accompanied by a mini-dance album Relentless and also followed soon after by remix album Disco 2. The largely forgotten guitar album Release (2002) was followed by the brilliant remix/dance album Disco 3 (2003). So they had form, but even so, Electric was quite unexpected. Previously they had all been mini-albums or remix albums, whereas this was another proper album. Not only that, but having got into the habit of only releasing new material every three or four years, this was a whole new release, just ten months after its predecessor.

The album opens with the excellent Axis. There aren’t a lot of vocals – mainly “turn it on,” and “electric energy,” but somehow it’s still classic Pet Shop Boys, perhaps channelling the extended introduction to their first remix album Disco in 1986, which opened with the brilliant In the Night.

Bolshy follows, probably my least favourite track on the album due to its slightly daft chorus, but the verse and production more than make up for any failings it might have. Single Love is a bourgeois construct comes next, again with a slightly daft chorus, but this time also with a cheeky smile on its face and a fun lyric.

It’s tempting to wonder where exactly Pet Shop Boys found the creativity to record something quite this brilliant. After all, three decades into their career, they could certainly be forgiven for going a bit more slowly from now on. Perhaps the support of producer Stuart Price helped – and Neil Tennant‘s claim that this is just the first in a trilogy of albums with Price will be very welcome news if it turns out to be true.

Flourescent is lacking somewhat in Neil Tennant‘s trademark clever lyrics, but it’s easily one of the best tracks on this album, probably mainly because of the production. It’s enormous, moody, dark, and beautiful. We may be just four tracks into this album, but it’s already excellent in the extreme.

Somehow, though, the best is yet to come. Inside a dream is far from the dreary centrepiece that many acts might go for. It’s perhaps the most retro-sounding track on the album, with its huge hand claps and 80s-style counter-melodies, but there’s also something very contemporary about it.

Then comes perhaps the oddest track on the album, The Last to Die, a cover of a song by Bruce Springsteen. It could easily sound very out-of-place indeed, but somehow it fits perfectly, and is another of the best tracks on here. Like all Pet Shop Boys covers, it’s totally unexpected and probably shouldn’t work, but it really does work very well indeed.

Shouting in the evening is probably the low point of the second half of the album. Which is a bold statement, as this is still an excellent track – the calibre is just so high on Electric that there’s no room for anything less than extraordinary.

Then the most recent single Thursday is the penultimate track, and from the opening chords you can hear that it’s classic Pet Shop Boys – it even boasts a West End girls-inspired bass line. And a list! Chris Lowe turns up for one of his occasional vocals to list the days of the weekend – “Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” The lyrics are quite incredible – everyone knows the weekend starts on Thursday rather than Friday, so why had nobody ever written a song about that before? Just when you think you’ve got the hang of the song, Example turns up and raps and sings his way through the second half. It’s an unlikely collaboration, but one which works perfectly.

Finally the main single Vocal brings the album to a close in exceptional form. By the time the chorus kicks off, you know pretty much what to expect, but somehow it still surprises, with its “hands in the air,” synth riff. Quite incredible.

Electric is, without a doubt, the best Pet Shop Boys record in at least two decades, and easily deserved to spend the entirety of 2013 at number one. Without doing anything completely different, they have managed totally reinvent themselves and come back sounding fresh and new. Three decades on, and they still clearly have a lot to offer. Quite how they will come back after this is difficult to guess, but I for one am looking forward to finding out.

You can find Electric through all standard retailers. There isn’t a special edition, so just grab the CD version instead.