Yello – Zebra

If you could pinpoint the period when Yello really found themselves, I think 1994’s Zebra would be a decent estimate. Now eight albums into their career, they had gone through the slightly silly novelty stage, tried serious pop, motorsport-inspired energetic electronic pop, and a very strong smattering of jazz. But it was with Zebra that they truly embraced dance music – maybe not quite for the first time, but it was certainly the first time they had dived this deep.

It opens with Suite 909, a big dance piece with trance bass and tribal beats. It does feel somewhat dated now – Yello were, perhaps, never quite the sonic trailblazers that their contemporaries were. It’s technically a prelude to Tremendous Pain, which we’ll hear later. If nothing else, as an opening track, it does make for a bit of a shock to the system.

It wouldn’t be Yello if it didn’t have its sillier moments, and second single How How is one. It’s catchy and clever – it fuses jazzy elements with acid breaks and dance beats – but you also can’t stop yourself from wondering who other than Yello would ever release anything this daft.

Night Train is probably as good as this album gets. It’s dark, with throbbing, tribal beats, and lyrics that echo the nocturnal feel of the track perfectly. The samples – I don’t recognise all of them, but Alison Moyet‘s cackle from her Yazoo days is definitely one of them – complement the track perfectly. This is quite brilliant.

Lead single Do It is next (although curiously it’s pushed back to track 2 of side B on the vinyl and cassette versions of the album). This is clever, actually – it’s a classic Yello track, but with clean, simple, dance production. It’s a great single to re-introduce us to the wacky Swiss duo after the three year break that preceded this album. Remixes on the single came from Thomas Fehlmann and Mark Picchiotti, so they were in illustrious company.

I… I’m in Love is next, another classic Yello moment with huge dance beats. As with much of this album, I think it’s fair to say that it hasn’t dated particularly well, so this is perhaps more a track for those who were there at the time than it is for people discovering this act for the first time. That’s alright, although I might have to revise my beginner’s guide recommendations.

S.A.X. is a bit of a surprise on an electronic dance album, full, as you might guess, of saxophone solos and chanted lyrics, among the tribal beats. It’s great, in its own special way, because you really can’t see that anybody else would have been doing anything like this. By itself, it’s hardly contemporary, but it is at least interesting.

But Yello have always had a more serious side to them, such as the huge Lost Again a decade or so earlier. Fat Cry is hardly serious, with its pitch-tweaked backing vocals, but it does channel that atmospheric sound. In a way I’m glad they don’t do things like that all the time, as it just makes them stand out all the more, but Fat Cry does grab you in a way that some of the earlier tracks may not have. In spite of the whistling in the melody half way through.

Final single Tremendous Pain follows, with some very confusing lyrics (“How do you spell / Suite 9-0-7?”) If you’re tied to the traditional structure of an album, you’ll probably struggle to reconcile this track with opener Suite 909, but then you’ll probably be struggling with Yello anyway – they had already been dropping remixes onto albums in odd places for the last couple of albums. Tremendous Pain is a good track, with a particularly catchy chorus, but as is also sometimes the case with Yello, the impenetrable lyrics make it a difficult listen at times.

Move Dance Be Born feels very Teutonic, as though they’re channelling a certain Düsseldorf quartet. It’s great, full of squawking processed vocal samples, more tribal beats, and lots of instructions to move, dance, and be born.

This is, in a way, a fairly short album, the second half of which is reserved for darker dance territory, as The Premix (How How) follows. It is, as the name somewhat confusingly suggests, a remix of the earlier track – this time with fast beats and acid bass, alongside bizarre squelchy beats. It’s an odd remix, and maybe the name tells us that it was actually recorded before the single. It’s different enough from the other version to comfortably secure a place here, but it is a strange inclusion.

Finally comes Poom Shanka. Yello have never been scared of throwing something completely unexpected at their listeners, and this is a fine example of that. For a Swiss group to bring Indian influences is really no less incongruous than someone from Liverpool doing the same thing, but somehow something doesn’t quite seem right here. If you put that out of your mind, what you have here is a beautiful, gentle piece of music which fits well on the end of this album, but the track might be over by the time you’ve really got the hang of it. I think, in the end, I like it a lot, though.

So Zebra is classic Yello in many ways – it’s not exactly groundbreaking, because you’ll have heard most of the sounds already on earlier releases, but it was contemporary for its time, and the mix of jazz and electronic influences is, as always, spot on. It has all the trademarks – such as crazy lyrics and insane vocal delivery, but for pretty much the first time, they have tapped dance culture in a way that would never really stop on subsequent albums. It’s an essential release for Yello, just perhaps a slightly impenetrable one for those who don’t know them well.

You can still find Zebra at all major retailers.

Record Companies – Mute Records

Closing this mini-series out is a quick look at Daniel Miller‘s Mute Records, which, since its launch in 1978, has become one of the most cult, collectible labels. Initially devised as an engine to release Miller’s own electronic act The Normal, it has grown to house a huge roster of artists from a broad range of genres.

Key artists include Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Moby, Goldfrapp, and more recently, New Order, but it has also housed some hugely influential underground artists, including Fad Gadget, Nitzer Ebb, and Laibach. The list could be endless. Many of those artists were lost when Mute was sold to EMI in 2002, and didn’t follow back when it regained its independence at the end of the decade, but the list of artists is still very strong.

Perhaps most notable in recent times is the now-legendary box set MUTE433, a compilation of different artists performing John Cage‘s 4’33”. Which is clearly brilliant, even if I don’t really want a copy (thanks all the same). By the time you read this, it might already be in the shops.

You can find out more about Mute by going to
http://mute.com/

Stowaway Awards 2019

So now we finally find out who the winners of the all-important 2019 Stowaways are!

Best Single

Already announced just before the new year, the winner of the Best Single award this year goes to Ladytron, for The Animals.

Best Album

  • Dubstar “One”
  • Front Line Assembly “WarMech”
  • The Future Sound of London “My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)”
  • Jean-Michel Jarre “Equinoxe Infinity”
  • The Radiophonic Workshop “Possum”

The winner is: The Future Sound of London

Best Reissue / Compilation

  • The Beloved “Reissue Series”
  • The Human League “Secrets”
  • Jean-Michel Jarre “Planet Jarre”
  • Soft Cell “Keychains & Snowstorms – The Singles”
  • Yazoo “Four Pieces”

The winner is: The Human League

Best Artist

  • The Future Sound of London
  • Jean-Michel Jarre
  • Ladytron
  • The Presets
  • The Radiophonic Workshop

The winner is: The Radiophonic Workshop

Best Live Act

  • Erasure
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  • Sparks

The winner is: Sparks

Outstanding Contribution

  • David Bowie
  • Everything But The Girl
  • The Future Sound of London
  • Hot Chip
  • Leftfield

The winner is: David Bowie

Stowaway Awards 2019 – Nominations

Who will win in the all-important Stowaway Awards this year? Here are the nominations:

Best Album

  • Dubstar “One”
  • Front Line Assembly “WarMech”
  • The Future Sound of London “My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)”
  • Jean-Michel Jarre “Equinoxe Infinity”
  • The Radiophonic Workshop “Possum”

Best Reissue / Compilation

  • The Beloved “Reissue Series”
  • The Human League “Secrets”
  • Jean-Michel Jarre “Planet Jarre”
  • Soft Cell “Keychains & Snowstorms – The Singles”
  • Yazoo “Four Pieces”

Best Artist

  • The Future Sound of London
  • Jean-Michel Jarre
  • Ladytron
  • The Presets
  • The Radiophonic Workshop

Best Live Act

  • Erasure
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  • Sparks

Outstanding Contribution

  • David Bowie
  • Everything But The Girl
  • The Future Sound of London
  • Hot Chip
  • Leftfield

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

The Assembly – Never Never

After a few stormy years with Depeche Mode and YazooVince Clarke‘s third attempt at a group was The Assembly, formed with Yazoo‘s producer (and provider of the first album title) Eric Radcliffe. It was a short-lived project, which supposedly was intended to consist of collaborations with multiple vocalists, but after the follow-up with Paul Quinn failed to break the charts, Clarke moved onto Erasure, and the rest is history.

So the lovely Never Never sadly never made it onto an album. Released thirty-five years ago this week, barely a year and a half after Yazoo had disbanded, it peaked at number four on the UK charts. As a standalone hit, it’s largely forgotten now, but it’s worth remembering from time to time.

It’s a great song, for the first time on a Clarke production featuring some very audible acoustic guitar work, and also including some early pre-echoes of Erasure‘s early work. But the overriding mood here is of Yazoo‘s unfinished business – you can’t help but wonder whether Clarke wrote this intending that Alison Moyet would be delivering the vocal. Instead, it’s Feargal Sharkey who does the honours, and he does a great job.

Side B brings us the brilliantly syncopated instrumental Stop/Start. Again, this would have fitted perfectly on the tail end of Yazoo‘s imaginary third album, and it’s hard to stop thinking about that now, but there’s also a fairly different feel to this track that maybe would prevent it from fitting in quite so well with Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both.

The 12″ version of the single just gives us two extended versions – Never Never gains a long introduction which honestly sounds exceptional, and Stop/Start also gets some extra bits at the front, although they don’t add a huge amount in this instance. They also seem to have left the radio on in the background for the extra part of this recording, for some reason.

It’s a short, compact single, with just two tracks on each format, but you have to wonder slightly what might have happened if an album had followed. Instead, Clarke found peace and sold millions of records as half of Erasure, and Never Never was largely forgotten.

The 1996 CD reissue of Never Never has long since fallen out of print, but you can still find it as a stream or download.