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The Brit Awards
2009 BRIT Awards
The BRIT Awards logo
Awarded for Excellence in music
Presented by British Phonographic Industry
Country United Kingdom
First awarded 1977
Official Website

The Brit Awards, often simply called The Brits and stylized as The BRIT Awards, are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards. The name was originally a shortened form of "British" or "Britannia", but has subsequently become a backronym for British Record Industry Trust. In addition, an equivalent awards ceremony for classical music, called the Classical BRIT Awards, is held each May.



Music of the United Kingdom
Royal Albert Hall, London, a major venue for all forms of music
General Topics
Early popular music • 1950s and 60s • 1970s • 1980s • 1990s to present
Baroque • Classical • Early music • Folk • Hip Hop • Jazz • Pop • Popular • Rock • Soul
Specific Forms
Ethnic music Caribbean • England • Ireland • Scotland • Wales
Traditional music British folk revivalBalladCarolChildren's songHornpipeJigMorris danceProtest songReelSea shantyStrathspeyWar songWork song
Media and Performance
Music awards MercuryThe Brit AwardsGramophone Awards
Music charts Singles ChartClassical ChartAlbums ChartR&B ChartIndie ChartDance ChartRock Chart
Music festivals Cambridge folkDownloadEdinburghEisteddfoddGlastonburyIsle of WightKnebworthRoyal National ModThe PromsReading and LeedsT in the ParkV
Music media NMEMelody MakerMojoQThe WireThe Gramophone
National anthem "God Save the Queen"
Regional Music
Local forms BirminghamCardiffCornwallLiverpoolManchesterNorthumbriaSomersetYorkshire
Other regions AnguillaBermudaCayman IslandsGibraltarMontserratTurks and CaicosVirgin Islands

The awards began in 1977 under the auspices of the BPI, the British record industry's trade association. The last BPI Awards show took place at the Albert Hall and was the first of the ceremonies to be broadcast on television, by the BBC; the awards transferred to ITV in 1993. In 1989 they were renamed the Britannia Music Awards to echo sponsorship by Britannia Music Club and this was shortened to BRIT Awards.

BRIT is also an acronym for the British Record Industry Trust, which supports youngsters in the arts and education mainly at The Brit School in London. Since the affiliation with Britannia Music Club was dropped, MasterCard has been the long-time sponsor of this annual event.

The Brit Awards were broadcast live until 1989, when Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood hosted a poorly organised show in which little went as rehearsed. Subsequently, the event was recorded and broadcast the following night. This was part of a revamp by Jonathan King, who had hosted the show in 1987. He created the "BRITs" moniker and released a megamix of British dance acts, including S'Express and A Guy Called Gerald, called BRITs 1990. He also persuaded Margaret Thatcher to sing "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" for a pre-recorded segment.

From 2007, the Brit Awards reverted to a live broadcast on British television, on 14 February on ITV. Comedian Russell Brand was presenter. Three awards were dropped from the 2007 ceremony: Best British Rock Act, Best British Urban Act and Best Pop Act.[1]

On 18 February 2009, the venue for the Brits was once again the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London. The Outstanding Contribution to Music Award was presented to the Pet Shop Boys. The hosts were Mathew Horne and James Corden along with Kylie Minogue.

In addition, an equivalent awards ceremony for classical music, called the Classical BRIT Awards, is held each May.

The BRIT Awards 2010 will take place on Feb. 16 at London's Earls Court Arena. Robbie Williams will perform and receive an award for contriubution to music.

It will be the 30th occasion on which the British music awards ceremony has been staged. Although the BRIT Awards launched in 1977—when it was known as the BPI Awards—it has only been staged annually since 1982.

ITV will again be broadcasting the BRIT Awards live.

The nominations have also been confirmed for Jan. 18, and they have moved to London's IndigO2 venue. The noms will also include live performances and will be broadcast on ITV2.

The awards will also continue a sponsorship partnership with global payment card brand MasterCard for the 12th year

Primary winners of each year

Notable moments

Mick Kluczynski (2009)

Ten days before the 2009 Brits, Mick Kluczynski, production manager for the event since 1995, died. Despite this setback the team he put in place ensured that everything went as planned. He is widely credited with the transition from the Fleetwood/Fox debacle to the scale of the current ceremony. The show was dedicated to his memory.[2]

Vic Reeves and Sharon Osbourne (2008)

After Vic Reeves appeared to forget which award he was presenting, Sharon Osbourne attempted to wrestle the microphone from him, insisted he was drunk and called him a "pissed bastard". She proceeded to make the full announcement herself. The next day it was reported that Reeves was not intoxicated and was hurt by Osbourne's behaviour.[3] The incident has since been ascribed to an autocue malfunction.

Russell Brand (2007)

Some controversy was caused by the host of the 2007 Awards ceremony, comedian Russell Brand, who made several quips relating to news stories of the time including singer Robbie Williams' entering rehab for addiction to prescription drugs, the Queen's 'naughty bits' and a fatal friendly fire incident involving a British soldier killed by American armed forces in Iraq. ITV1 received over 300 complaint calls from viewers.[4] He would again instigate controversy the following year at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.

Geri Halliwell Vs. The Spice Girls (2000)

The Spice Girls were set to receive the Outstanding Contribution award at the 2000 Brit awards, reportedly to mark their dominance of the music scene in the past decade. There was much media speculation before and even during the event as to whether or not former Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell would accept the award with the four remaining members of the group[5]. On the night, however, Halliwell declined to join her former band mates and instead ensured front page coverage the following day by performing her solo number 1 single "Bag it Up" straddling a pole between a pair of giant inflatable legs.

Ronnie Wood and Brandon Block (2000)

Dance DJ Brandon Block was told by his friends that he had won an award and had been summoned to the stage to collect it. Because of his advanced state of intoxication he believed them and walked on to the stage, eventually ending up next to a bemused Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and actress Thora Birch, who were about to present the award for Best Soundtrack Album. After Block was removed from the stage by security, Wood aimed an insult in his direction at which Block broke free to square up to the guitarist. A series of insults were then traded between the two — both audible through the stage microphone. Wood threw his drink into Block's face and the DJ was again ejected. Some time after the incident, Block claimed that he had subsequently apologised for his behaviour to Wood, who had merely brushed it off with Wood claiming that Block was 'the most famous man in Britain'.

Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher (2000)

Around the time of his departure from Take That, Robbie Williams had begun a friendship with the Gallagher brothers from Britpop band Oasis at the Glastonbury Festival. However, it was short-lived and the two parties regularly traded insults in the press with Noel Gallagher once famously referring to Williams as "the fat dancer from Take That". Having won Best British Single and Best Video for "She's the One", Williams challenged Liam Gallagher to a televised fight saying, "So, anybody like to see me fight Liam? Would you pay to come and see it? Liam, a hundred grand of your money and a hundred grand of my money. We'll get in a ring and we'll have a fight and you can all watch it on TV, what d'you think about that?"

Belle & Sebastian (1999)

In 1999, indie band Belle & Sebastian were nominated for Best British Newcomers, despite having released three albums before the 1999 Awards. The award was sponsored by Radio One and voted for online by their listeners. At the time, Steps were arguably Britain's biggest boy/girl pop band and were also nominated. Despite this, the award was won by Belle & Sebastian. On the Saturday after the awards, a story appeared in the press alleging that the group had rigged the vote in their favour, encouraging students from two universities to vote online. However, fans argued that the band had a predominantly large student following, that band member Isobel Campbell had attended one of the universities in question, and in particular, the award ought to be given on artistic merit as opposed to popularity or CD sales. Belle & Sebastian were not the first act to have been accused of motivating all their fans to vote for them in a BRITs public vote; similar allegations were directed at Depeche Mode for winning Best British single with "Enjoy the Silence".

Chumbawamba and John Prescott (1998)

In 1998, Danbert Nobacon of politically active band Chumbawamba threw a bucket of iced water over Labour cabinet minister John Prescott. Despite apologies on behalf of the band from EMI Europe, Chumbawamba were unrepentant claiming, "If 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."

Melanie C and Liam Gallagher (1997)

Prior to the ceremony in 1997, Liam Gallagher stated in the British media that he "wasn't going to the Brit Awards because if he bumped into the Spice Girls, he would smack them". In response to this, as the Spice Girls received the award for Best British Video, during their acceptance speech, Sporty Spice, Melanie C, challenged Gallagher by saying "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough".

Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress (1997)

One of the most Iconic Brits moments in the awards history, and indeed for pop culture as a whole in the 1990s, is Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, wearing her infamous Union Jack mini dress. The Height of Spicemania was taking place in the UK and the Spice Girls had just cracked the USA as well, reaching number 1 with their debut single, taking British music across the globe in a way not seen by a British pop group since the Beatles, Geri Halliwell captured the zeitgeist of the moment and became pin up girl for Cool Britannia. Halliwell was originally going to wear an all-black dress, but she thought it was too boring so her sister sewed on a Union Jack tea-towel, with a 'peace' sign on the back, so as to not offend anyone. It was worn during the Spice Girls' performance of their number one song "Who Do You Think You Are". Later on she sold her dress in a charity auction to Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas for a record £41,320, giving Halliwell the Guinness World Record for the most expensive piece of pop star clothing ever sold.[6]

Michael Jackson and Jarvis Cocker (1996)

In 1996, Michael Jackson was given a special Artist of a Generation award. At the ceremony he accompanied his single "Earth Song" with a stage show, with Jackson as a Christ-like figure surrounded by children. Jarvis Cocker, of the band Pulp, mounted the stage in protest of the performance. Cocker ran across the stage, lifting his shirt and pointing his (clothed) bottom in Jackson's direction. Cocker was subsequently questioned by the police on suspicion of causing injury towards three of the children in Jackson's performance, although no criminal proceedings followed. "Earth Song", by that point, had become Jackson's biggest hit in the UK, spending six weeks at the top of the chart.

The KLF (1992)

In 1992, dance/art band The KLF were awarded Best British Group (shared with Simply Red) and were booked to open the show. In an attempt to hijack the event the duo collaborated with grindcore metal band Extreme Noise Terror to perform a death metal version of the dance song "3 a.m. Eternal" that prompted conductor Sir Georg Solti to walk out.[7] The performance ended with Bill Drummond firing blanks from a vintage machine gun over the audience and KLF publicist/announcer Scott Piering stating, "Ladies and gentlemen, The KLF have now left the music business." Producers of the show then refused to let a motorcycle courier collect the award on behalf of the band. Later, guests arriving for an after show party witnessed the band dump a dead sheep outside the venue with the message "I died for ewe — bon appetit" tied around its waist. KLF disbanded three months later.

Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood (1989)

In 1989, the ceremony was broadcast live and presented by Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and former page three girl Samantha Fox. The inexperience of the hosts, an ineffective autocue and little preparation combined to create an unprofessional show that was poorly received. The hosts continually got their lines mixed up, a pre-recorded message from Michael Jackson was never transmitted and several star guests arrived late on-stage or at the wrong time (such as Boy George in place of the announced Four Tops).

The Samantha Fox/Mick Fleetwood show proved to be the single most important event in BPI/Brit Awards history. It was perceived to be so disastrous that the British public's interest was revived and the BRITs became associated with risky live TV.[8]

Bananarama (1988)

1988 saw the final performance of all three original band members (until 2000) performing their single Love In The First Degree with fourteen partially clothed male dancers.[9]

Rick Astley and The Who (1988)

1988 was the first year that the show moved to the Royal Albert Hall. A major coup at the time was to get The Who to perform, which was intended to be the first appearance of their much awaited comeback. The show was running late because the amount of time needed for the winners to get to stage to collect their awards had been underestimated. Rick Astley was the final winner of the day, and was seated in a box rather than at a table. With 9:00 pm and the news broadcast fast approaching, the decision was made to let The Who on and Astley was half-way to the stage when the band started playing. Even with this change, The Who's performance was still going to overrun, and the BBC took the decision to delay the 9:00pm news by over a minute. Astley subsequently criticised the turn of events.

Electricians' strike (1987)

In 1987 the BPI Awards ceremony was held in the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel. At the time there was a BBC electricians' strike in effect and the organisers decided to use a non-TV events production company, called Upfront, to manage the show. Despite the show being picketed, the event was transmitted as intended. For a while the outdoor broadcast scanner was rocked on its wheels by the protesters and they managed to turn off the power to one of the big GE video screen projectors. Upfront was then asked to organise the following year and persuaded the BPI to move the event to a larger venue, starting the trend that continues to this day, albeit at Earls Court, and with a different production company (MJK Productions).


Most successful acts

There have been numerous acts, both groups and individuals, that have won multiple awards. The table below shows those that have won four or more awards.

Artist Number of awards
Robbie Williams 11
Annie Lennox 8
Paul McCartney 8
U2 7
Take That 7
Coldplay 6
Prince 6
George Michael (3 With Wham!) 5
Arctic Monkeys 5
Michael Jackson 5
Oasis 5
Björk 4
Blur 4
Spice Girls 4
Dido 4
Manic Street Preachers 4

See also


External links

Simple English

The BRIT Awards (often called just the Brits), are awards given yearly by the British Phonographic Industry (an association of British people who are professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding work in music.

Most successful acts

There have been many musicians that have won more than one award. The table below shows those that have won more than four awards.

Artist Number of awards won
Robbie Williams 11
U2 7
Take That 7
Coldplay 6
Prince 6
Arctic Monkeys 5
Oasis 5
Michael Jackson 5
Annie Lennox 5
Blur 4

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