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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 18:29 GMT
Putting on the Brits
Take That in 1996
Take That: Brits favourites in the 1990s
They may not have the 100 categories and the long history of the Grammys, but the Brit Awards have evolved into the UK's most prestigious music ceremony.

The Brits can be traced back to 1977. Since then, 294 awards have been handed out.

Brits facts and figures
Most awards: Annie Lennox, 8 (7 as an individual and 1 with Eurythmics)
Most nominations: George Michael, 17
Most successful losers: Jamiroquai (13 nominations, no wins)
Most successful year: Blur in 1995, 4 wins
The ceremony - then called the Britannia Awards - was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of recorded sound, and the achievements of the growing UK record business.

They also marked the Queen's silver jubilee, and recognised achievements in the previous 25 years.

Beatles prize

The Beatles took a best album prize for the groundbreaking Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band.

Cliff Richard was voted best male, and US duo Simon and Garfunkel won the overseas gong. But it took the pair six takes to get their song Bookend/Old Friends right for inclusion in the show.

Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox: More awards than anyone else
Hosted by the British Phonographic Institute (BPI), the awards took place at Wembley Conference Centre in London.

Although organisers hoped to make it an annual event, the ceremony did not grace the stage again until 1982. Then known as the British Record Industry Awards, it became the Brits in 1989.

They are voted for by more than 1,000 people, including BPI member companies, DJs, music press, TV presenters, music industry members, lawyers, accountants, promoters and student union entertainment officers.

Top winners

This eclectic group has voted singer and Eurythmics member Annie Lennox as the Brits' champion of champions.

She has received eight awards - seven for most successful British female artist and one with the Eurythmics.

Spice Girls
Tears before bedtime: The Spice Girls' emotional performance
Just behind is Robbie Williams. He has also won eight awards but only five as a solo artist, the three others were with Take That.

Michael Jackson has six awards and Phil Collins and U2 are at joint third with five awards each.

The prize for the most nominations goes to George Michael, with a whopping 17, although Blur and Sir Elton John have been nominated 14 times.

Jamiroquai take the gong for the most successful losers.

The group, fronted by Jay Kay, have been nominated 13 times but have never won an award.

More Brits facts
Best British male: Phil Collins, three awards
Best British single: Take That, three awards
Best British video: Robbie Williams, two wins
Most successful international woman: Björk, three awards
Best international group: U2, four awards
Most performances at awards: Simply Red, four times

Of the show's 18 presenters, only three have been women - Davina McCall in 2000, Cathy McGowan in 1990 and Samantha Fox.


She and Mick Fleetwood presented the 1989 show - the first to be called the Brits - but it was blighted by a series of blunders.

They introduced the wrong acts, and had trouble reading the autocue.

Impresario Jonathan King was called in to give the show a further relaunch for 1990.

Politicians have been attracted to the Brits to try and woo young people, but their efforts haven't always been appreciated.

Robbie Williams
Popular Brit: Robbie Williams
Conservative education minister Kenneth (now Lord) Baker was booed by the audience in 1989, while a 90s audience saw a film of Margaret Thatcher crooning her favourite song - How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?

Then-opposition leader Tony Blair was cheered in 1995, but after he became Prime Minister, his deputy John Prescott had a cooler reception.

Mr Prescott had a barrel load of ice water poured on his head courtesy of Chumbawumba's Danbert Nobacon in 1998, with pictures of a drenched deputy prime minister splashed across the next day's papers.

Michael Jackson in 1996
Michael Jackson: Popular with the judges, but not with Jarvis Cocker
Last year saw club DJ Brandon Block square up to Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, while Robbie Williams demanded a fight with Oasis singer Liam Gallagher - the kind of antics which would be unthinkable at the Grammys.

Neither would the Grammys tolerate antics like Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker's protest against Michael Jackson's performance in 1996.

While pundits may say this year's nominees are an uninspiring line-up, they will be hoping the show itself continues to provide more drama and surprises.





See also:

04 Mar 00 | Brit Awards
Brits behaving badly
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