The BPI Awards 1986

Noel Edmonds was at the helm on February 10th 1986 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The BRIT Awards official website proudly tells us that Norman Tebbitt‘s appearance to present the Outstanding Contribution award brought “the first hint of official recognition.” Others might argue it signed a death warrant for the awards, but there we go.

This post is part of a series about the history of the BRIT Awards. You can read about the 1985 ceremony here, and the 1987 ceremony here.

Best British Album

Presented by Daryl Hall. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
  • Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
  • Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  • Eurythmics – Be Yourself Tonight
  • Tears for Fears – Songs from the Big Chair

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Female

Presented by Paul Young. Nominees:

  • Kate Bush
  • Annie Lennox
  • Alison Moyet
  • Sade
  • Bonnie Tyler

Winner: Annie Lennox

Best British Group

Presented by Joan Armatrading. Nominees:

  • Dire Straits
  • Eurythmics
  • Simple Minds
  • Tears for Fears
  • U2

Winner: Dire Straits

Best British Male

Presented by Alison Moyet. Nominees:

  • Phil Collins
  • Elton John
  • Sting
  • Midge Ure
  • Paul Young

Winner: Phil Collins

Best British Newcomer

Voted for by listeners of BBC Radio 1. Presented by Gary Davies.

Winner: Go West

Best British Producer

Presented by Howard Jones. Nominees:

  • Trevor Horn
  • Chris Hughes
  • Steve Lilywhite
  • David A. Stewart
  • Hugh Padgham

Winner: David A. Stewart

Best British Single

Presented by Roger Daltry. Nominees:

  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Hardcastle – Nineteen
  • Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Winner: Tears for Fears

Best British Video


  • David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
  • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
  • Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away

Winner: Paul Young

Best Classical Recording

Presented by Sir Georg Solti. Nominees:

  • Vernon Handley – Violin Concerto – Elgar
  • Julian Lloyd Webber – Cello Concerto – Haydn
  • Trevor Pinnock – Cannon and Gigue – Pachelbel
  • John Rutter – Requiem – Faure
  • Sir Georg Solti – Messiah – Handel – Chicago

Winner: Vernon Handley

Best International Group

Presented by Elton John. Nominees:

  • The Cars
  • Huey Lewis and The News
  • Kool and The Gang
  • Talking Heads
  • ZZ Top

Winner: Huey Lewis and The News

Best International Solo Artist

Presented by Midge Ure from Ultravox. Nominees:

  • Madonna
  • Lionel Richie
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tina Turner
  • Stevie Wonder

Winner: Bruce Springsteen

Outstanding Contribution

Presented by Norman Tebbitt.

Winners: Wham! and Elton John

Special Award

Winner: Bob Geldof


Further Reading / Viewing

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.


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).