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Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 12:53 GMT
Brit Awards: Did you know...?
The Beatles
No prizes for guessing who won the first Brit Award...
The Brit Awards have hailed British stars from the Beatles to Blur. BBC News Online charts its history, revealing some surprising facts about the winners and losers.

It's that time of year again, when the UK music industry salutes its heroes and hopefully boosts a few record sales into the bargain.

The Brit Awards, which celebrate the successes of UK and overseas music, can be traced back to the big hair and hip-hugging flares of 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 loser: Jamiroquai (13 nominations, no wins)
Most successful year: Blur in 1995, 4 wins
Most successful band: Manics Street Preachers, 2 wins
Best dance: M People and The Prodigy, 2 each
The ceremony was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of recorded sound, and the achievements of the growing UK record business.

Not surprisingly, the first recipients of the best album prize were The Beatles, 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 London's Wembley Conference Centre.

Although organisers hoped to make it an annual event, the next Brit Awards did not grace the stage until 1982.

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 NUS entertainment officers.

This eclectic group have 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.

Take That
Take That: Most awards for best single
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.

And, surprisingly, Jamiroquai takes the gong for the most successful loser.

The highly successful band and its lead singer Jay Kay have been nominated 13 times but have never won an award.

More facts and figures
Best British male: Phil Collins, three awards
Best British single: Take That, three awards
Best British video: Robbie Williams, two wins
Most successful international female artist: Björk, three awards
Best international group: U2, four awards
Most performances at awards: Simply Red, four times
The Brits also unite Take That and Phil Collins - they have each won a particular category three times, the band for best single and Collins for best British male.

Björk remains in a class of her own, with three awards for most successful international female artist - more than anyone else in that category.

But although the Brits gives equal nods to men and women's categories, it does not grant its presenters the same equality.

Of the show's 18 presenters, only three have been women - Davina McCall in 2000, Cathy McGowan in 1990 and Samantha Fox in 1989.

Bjork: Popular with the judges
She and Mick Fleetwood presented the show but received very bad press for introducing the wrong acts, not being able to read the autocue and generally taking it miles away from the slick show it is today.

Government minister Kenneth (now Lord) Baker was also booed by the audience, who felt pretty disgruntled at the whole affair.

He is not the only member of the government to have fallen foul of the Brits.

In 1998, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, keen to maintain Labour's links with the hip world of pop music, had a barrel load of ice water poured on his head courtesy of Chumbawumba.

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec: Hosts with the most
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are fans of the event, as is Culture Secretary Chris Smith, but so far they remain unscathed.

The Brits have also been used to promote good causes. This year's event is going to be "carbon neutral", with trees being planted to counteract the carbon dioxide produced by the pollution it will generate.

And in 1999, U2 singer Bono took to the podium with Muhammad Ali to urge Western governments to write off Third World debt by the year 2000.

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