The BRIT Awards 1998

“If,” said Chumbawamba, “John Prescott has the nerve to turn up at events like the BRIT Awards in a vain attempt to make Labour seem cool and trendy, then he deserves all we can throw at him.”

Indeed. For it was in 1998 that they put this unusually specific philosophy into practice by emptying a bucket of iced water over the Labour fatty.

But despite a bit of anarchy here and there, things remained pretty corporate. It was February 9th 1998, the venue was London Arena, and our host for the evening was Ben Elton out of comedy. Watch the opening here, and the introduction here.

Best International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Matthew Modine and Chaudia Schiffer. Nominees:

  • Jon Bon Jovi
  • Coolio
  • DJ Shadow
  • LL Cool J
  • Sash!

“Why,” you may ask, “Did Jon Bon Jovi merit a solo award nomination?” No idea. Video here.

Winner: Jon Bon Jovi.

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1, and presented by Max Beesley and Jo Whiley. Nominees:

  • All Saints
  • Shola Ama
  • Embrace
  • Olive
  • Beth Orton
  • Finley Quaye
  • Conner Reeves
  • Roni Size/Reprazent
  • Stereophonics
  • Travis

Winner: Stereophonics.

Best International Female Solo Artist

Was to be presented by Dusty Springfield, but sadly she was too unwell to do so (and would pass away a year later), so it was presented by Alexander McQueen and Honor Fraser. Nominees:

  • Erykah Badu
  • Björk
  • Meredith Brooks
  • Celine Dion
  • Janet Jackson

I am grateful grapefruit.

Winner: Björk.

Best British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Richard Branson. Nominees:

  • Shola Ama
  • Michelle Gayle
  • Louise
  • Beth Orton
  • Lisa Stansfield

Winner: Shola Ama.

International Sales Award

A special award for the best selling international album.

Winner: Spice Girls.

Best British Video

Voted for by viewers of The Box, and presented in character by Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan). Nominees:

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Blur – Song 2
  • David Bowie – Little Wonder
  • Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats
  • Dario G – Sunchyme
  • Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean?
  • Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous
  • Spice Girls – Spice up Your Life
  • Supergrass – Late in the Day
  • The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony

Winner: All Saints.

Best British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Errol Brown and Natalie Imbruglia. Nominees:

  • Gary Barlow
  • Elton John
  • Finley Quaye
  • Paul Weller
  • Robbie Williams

Winner: Finley Quaye.

Best International Group

Presented by Heather Small from M. People with unusually small hair and Jay Kay out of Jamiroquai. Nominees:

  • Daft Punk
  • Eels
  • Hanson
  • No Doubt
  • U2

Although Ben Elton introduces Jamiroquai as a former BRIT winner, this is in fact not true – he’s never won one in the entire history of the awards.

Winner: U2.

The Freddie Mercury Award

A special award for Doing A Song About Princess Diana. Presented by Tony Blair out of Starting Illegal Wars, on video from Washington DC. Cringeworthy video here.

Winner: Elton John.

Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording

Presented using the medium of song by Cleopatra (comin’ atcha). Nominees:

  • The Full Monty (various artists)
  • Men in Black (various artists)
  • Romeo + Juliet (various artists)
  • Space Jam (various artists)
  • Trainspotting 2 (various artists)

Winner: The Full Monty.

Best British Group

Presented by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel. Nominees:

  • Oasis
  • The Prodigy
  • Radiohead
  • Texas
  • The Verve

Winner: The Verve.

Best Dance Act

Nominees:

  • Brand New Heavies
  • The Chemical Brothers
  • Eternal
  • Jamiroquai
  • The Prodigy

Oh yes, the Dance Act award, which was sadly dropped in later years, and which inexplicably featured an annual nomination for not-very-dancey-and-frankly-pretty-lousy Jamiroquai.

Winner: The Prodigy.

Best British Single

Voted for by listeners of independent radio, and presented by Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson. Big up to the UK. Nominees:

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Blur – Song 2
  • Chumbawumba – Tubthumping
  • Eternal feat. Bebe Winans – I Wanna Be the Only One
  • Elton John – Candle in the Wind
  • Olive – You’re Not Alone
  • Radiohead – Paranoid Android
  • Texas – Say What You Want
  • The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
  • Robbie Williams – Old Before I Die

Singles, according to Ben Elton, had experienced a big revival in 1997. Of course, as we now know, the draconian chart rules introduced later in 1998 would kill them in a way that they could never recover.

Winner: All Saints.

Best International Newcomer

Nominees:

  • Erykah Badu
  • Daft Punk
  • Eels
  • Hanson
  • No Doubt

Winner: Eels.

Best Producer

Nominees:

  • Nigel Godrich / Radiohead
  • Liam Howlett
  • Roni Size
  • Stephen Street
  • The Verve / Chris Potter / Youth

Winner: The Verve / Chris Potter / Youth.

Mastercard British Album

Presented by Zoë Ball. Nominees:

  • Oasis – Be Here Now
  • The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
  • Radiohead – OK Computer
  • Texas – White on Blonde
  • The Verve – Urban Hymns

Winner: The Verve.

Outstanding Achievement

Presented by Sir George Martin.

Winner: Fleetwood Mac.

Performances

  • All Saints – Never Ever
  • Chumbawamba – Tubthumping
  • Finlay Quaye – Sun is Shining
  • Fleetwood Mac – The Chain and Don’t Stop
  • Robbie Williams and Tom Jones – Come Up and See Me
  • Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody
  • Spice Girls – Stop
  • Texas featuring The Method Man – Say What You Want
  • The Verve – Lucky Man

Further Reading / Viewing

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

The BRIT Awards 2009

Some acts are much more successful in the world of the BRIT Awards than they are in the real world; some are the other way round. Erasure, for instance, whatever you may think of them, scored five consecutive number 1 albums from 1988 to 1994, but only managed one BRIT (Best British Group in 1989) with just a couple of other nominations. Depeche Mode just have one Single award to their names. New Order just one Video award. There are plenty of other examples.

Pet Shop Boys, though, are definitely very highly regarded by The Industry:

  • 1987 – Won Best British Single for West End Girls, picked up by Neil
  • 1988 – Won Best British Group and performed What Have I Done to Deserve This?
  • 1989 – Nominated for Best British Group and Best British Album for Introspective
  • 1992 – Nominated for Best British Group
  • 1994 – Nominated for Best British Music Video for Go West and performed Go West on stage with two Welsh Male Voice choirs
  • 2009 – See below
  • 2010 – Nominated for Brits Hits 30 for Go West

I think it’s fair to say that 2009 was the year when they made the ceremony their own. It was February 15th, the venue was Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, and Kylie MinogueJames Corden and Mathew Horne were presenting the show live on ITV1.

British Female Solo Artist

Presented by Simon Pegg. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Beth Rowley
  • Duffy
  • Estelle
  • M.I.A.

Winner: Duffy.

International Female Solo Artist

Presented by Lionel Richie. Nominees:

  • Beyoncé
  • Gabriella Cilmi
  • Katy Perry
  • Pink
  • Santogold

Winner: Katy Perry.

International Group

Presented by Natalie Imbruglia. Nominees:

  • AC/DC
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Kings of Leon
  • MGMT
  • The Killers

Winner: Kings of Leon.

British Male Solo Artist

Presented by Jamie Oliver and Jamie Cullum. Nominees:

  • Ian Brown
  • James Morrison
  • Paul Weller
  • The Streets (Mike Skinner)
  • Will Young

Winner: Paul Weller.

British Breakthrough Act

Presented by Alex James from Blur. Nominees:

  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • Scouting for Girls
  • The Last Shadow Puppets
  • The Ting Tings

Winner: Duffy.

International Album

Presented by Joe Calzaghe. Nominees:

  • AC/DC – Black Ice
  • Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  • Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
  • MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
  • The Killers – Day & Age

Winner: Kings of Leon.

British Live Act

Presented by Nick Frost. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Elbow
  • Iron Maiden
  • Scouting for Girls
  • The Verve

Winner: Iron Maiden.

British Group

Presented by David Hasselhoff. Nominees:

  • Coldplay
  • Elbow
  • Girls Aloud
  • Radiohead
  • Take That

Winner: Elbow.

Critics’ Choice

Nominees:

  • Florence + The Machine
  • Little Boots
  • White Lies

Winner: Florence + The Machine.

International Male Solo Artist

Presented by Gok Wan. Nominees:

  • Beck
  • Jay-Z
  • Kanye West
  • Neil Diamond
  • Seasick Steve

Winner: Kanye West.

British Single

Voted for by phone during the ceremony, and presented by Alan Carr. Nominees:

  • Adele – Chasing Pavements
  • Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
  • Coldplay – Viva la Vida
  • Dizzee Rascal / Calvin Harris / Chrome – Dance wiv Me
  • Duffy – Mercy
  • Estelle feat. Kanye West – American Boy
  • Girls Aloud – The Promise
  • Leona Lewis – Better in Time
  • Scouting for Girls – Heartbeat
  • The X Factor Finalists – Hero

Winner: Girls Aloud.

Best Producer

Winner: Bernard Butler.

MasterCard British Album

Presented by Sir Tom Jones. Nominees:

  • Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
  • Duffy – Rockferry
  • Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing

Winner: Duffy.

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Brandon Flowers.

Winner: Pet Shop Boys.

Performances

Further Reading / Viewing

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

Thirty years of CDs

Happy birthday! The compact disc celebrates its thirtieth birthday this month, just a matter of months after CD sales were finally overtaken by downloads in the USA, and also the same month that the UK singles chart turns sixty.

The Official Charts Company (OCC) has celebrated this by compiling a chart of the top 30 UK CDs of all time, which I hope they won’t mind me reproducing here:

  1. Abba – Gold (1992)
  2. Adele – 21 (2011)
  3. Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
  4. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (2006)
  5. James Blunt – Back to Bedlam (2004)
  6. Dido – No Angel (2000)
  7. Shania Twain – Come on Over (1997)
  8. Leona Lewis – Spirit (2007)
  9. The Verve – Urban Hymns (1997)
  10. David Gray – White Ladder (1998)
  11. Dido – Life for Rent (2003)
  12. The Beatles – 1 (2000)
  13. Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
  14. Take That – Beautiful World (2006)
  15. Keane – Hopes and Fears (2004)
  16. Michael Bublé – Crazy Love (2009)
  17. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters (2004)
  18. The Corrs – Talk on Corners (1997)
  19. Coldplay – X&Y (2005)
  20. Travis – The Man Who (1999)
  21. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)
  22. Lady Gaga – The Fame (2008)
  23. Norah Jones – Come Away with Me (2002)
  24. Kings of Leon – Only by the Knight (2008)
  25. Robbie Williams – I’ve Been Expecting You (1998)
  26. Robbie Williams – Greatest Hits (2004)
  27. Robbie Williams – Swing When You’re Winning (2001)
  28. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
  29. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open (2006)
  30. George Michael – Ladies and Gentlemen – The Best Of (1998)

Abba Gold has sold over four million copies! There are a number of interesting things about this list actually. The first thing I noticed was the British bias – by far the vast majority are British artists, which surprised me. There’s only one album older than fifteen years on there, and also only one from the last three, which says a lot about the popularity of CDs. But then there’s Adele selling 3.6 million copies of an album which came out last year, and you realise just how much hold the humble CD still has.

More at the OCC’s website here.