|The BRIT Awards|
|2013 BRIT Awards|
|Awarded for||Excellence in music|
|Presented by||British Phonographic Industry|
The Brit Awards (stylised as the BRIT Awards; often simply called the Brits) are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards, and the British equivalent of the American Grammy Awards. The name was originally a shortened form of "British", "Britain" or "Britannia" (in the early days the awards were sponsored by Britannia Music Club), but subsequently became a backronym for British Record Industry Trust. In addition, an equivalent awards ceremony for classical music, called the Classic BRIT Awards, is held each May. Robbie Williams holds the record for the most Brit Awards, having won a total of 12 as a solo artist and another five awards as part of Take That.
The awards began in 1977 as part of the commemoration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and as an annual event in 1982 under the auspices of the British record industry's trade association, the BPI. The last BPI Awards show was the first of the ceremonies to be broadcast on television, by the BBC, and in 1989 they were renamed the Brit Awards. MasterCard has been the long-time sponsor of the event.
The Brit Awards were broadcast live until 1989, when Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood hosted a widely criticised 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 created the "BRITs" moniker, and organised a new look show.
From 2007, the Brit Awards reverted to a live broadcast on British television, on 14 February on ITV. In that year, comedian Russell Brand was presenter and three awards were dropped from the ceremony: Best British Rock Act, Best British Urban Act and Best Pop Act.
On 18 February 2009, the venue for the BRITs was once again the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London. The 2011 Brit Awards were held at The O2 Arena in London for the first time in its history, moving from the original venue of Earls Court.
The last BPI Awards was the first of the ceremonies to be broadcast on live television, by the BBC in 1988. BBC continued to broadcast the renamed BRIT Awards, live in 1989 and pre-recorded from 1990–1992. BBC Radio 1 has provided radio coverage since 2008.
Table summary 
Notable moments 
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 shut 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).
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 halfway 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 9:00 pm news by over a minute.
Bananarama (1988) 
Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood (1989) 
In 1989, the ceremony was broadcast live and presented by Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and singer 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 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.
Freddie Mercury (1990) 
The 1990 awards ceremony saw the last public appearance of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Queen appeared at the ceremony to receive the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Mercury (who had been suffering from AIDS since 1987 but had not disclosed it to the public) did not make a speech, as Brian May did the talking on behalf of the other members, but his gaunt appearance was noticeable.
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 in disgust. 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.
Suede (1993) 
In previous years the Awards were primarily aimed as a tribute to already legendary status stars such as Annie Lennox, Phil Collins and Rod Stewart. However before the ceremony, publication The NME had critisied the Awards show for not representing new exciting music.
In 1993, Suede were an up-and-coming indie band who already had a sizeable following. As a result of NME's criticism and the release of new single "Metal Mickey", Suede earned a last-minute invitation to play at that year's Brit Awards ceremony where they performed their third single, "Animal Nitrate". Impressed by the band's charged sexuality, in particular the androgyny and energy of singer Brett Anderson, Suede's debut album shocked audiences and critics alike and earned them the Mercury Prize, and "Animal Nitrate" rose into the UK top ten. Looking back on the performance Anderson has said, "I've never felt more out of place then that time we played at the Brits, it was so ridiculously corporate."
Blur (1995) 
In 1995, British band Blur won 4 Brit Awards (Best Album for Parklife, Best Single and Best British Video for the single with same name as the album "Parklife" and Best Band) in only one night, something unheard in the history of the awards' show.
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, culminating with Jackson as a 'Christ-like figure' surrounded by children. Jarvis Cocker, of the band Pulp, mounted the stage in what he would later claim as protest at this portion 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, who were now on stage. No criminal proceedings followed. This was Jackson's second to last performance in the UK before his death in 2009 - his final performance being at Wembley Stadium in 1997.
Oasis and Blur (1996) 
1996 saw the height of a well-documented feud between Oasis and fellow Britpop band Blur. The differing styles of the bands, coupled with their prominence within the Britpop movement, led the British media to seize upon the rivalry between the bands. Both factions played along, with the Gallaghers taunting Blur at the 1996 BRIT Awards by singing a rendition of "Parklife" when they collected their "Best British Band" award (with Liam changing the lyrics to "Shite-life").
Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress (1997) 
Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell, wore an infamous Union Jack dress made so when she popped out of the dress whilst performing onstage with the group. Spicemania was at its height in the UK and the Spice Girls had just cracked the US as well, reaching number 1 with their debut single and album. Geri Halliwell captured the zeitgeist 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. The performance won Most Memorable Performance Of 30 Years at the Brit Awards in 2010.
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".
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."
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.
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 Oasis at the Glastonbury Festival. However, it was short-lived and the two parties regularly traded insults in the press with Noel Gallagher 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?". Liam Gallagher was not in the country at the time.
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 of which were audible through the stage microphone, causing claims that the whole event may have been staged. Wood then threw his drink into Block's face, and the DJ was ejected from the event. Some time after the incident, Block claimed that he had subsequently apologised to Wood for his behaviour, and Wood had merely brushed it off.
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. 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.
Noel Gallagher and A1 (2001) 
During the night, British pop rock/boyband group A1 picked up an award for 'Best Newcomer'. At the end of the night, Noel Gallagher walked onto stage to present the night's Outstanding Contribution winners, U2, their award. As Gallagher took the microphone at the start of his presenting speech, he said "This award ceremony over the years has been accused of not having a sense of humour, but when you see A1 winning best newcomer, you know that someone's taking the piss somewhere". Apparently, A1 were offended, and in April 2001 they performed a cover version of the Oasis song "Don't Look Back in Anger" in a mocking way, live using instruments, and not a backing track, as Gallagher had also called the band "manufactured".
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. ITV received over 300 complaint calls from viewers. He would again instigate controversy the following year at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
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. The incident has since been ascribed to an autocue malfunction, but Reeves said in his defence that he was trying to read the autocue screen, but he couldn't read it because Osbourne was pushing him out of the way.
Arctic Monkeys (2008) 
When the Arctic Monkeys took to the stage to collect their award for 'Best British Album', the band were dressed up in traditional English country and hunting outfits, and even took a plastic duck to the stage with them. During the acceptance speech, they made a rude tirade about the BRITs School, which forced the television producers to pull it from the television broadcast.
Girls Aloud (2009) 
British reality band, Girls Aloud, marked their first ever performance at the 2009 ceremony, by performing their single "The Promise". The performance saw the band members, including Cheryl Cole and Nicola Roberts appear as though they were naked, with their modesty being covered by pink feathers. This performance was nominated in the 2011 ceremony for the "BRITs Hits 30 - Best Live Performance at the BRIT Awards", alongside Oasis and The Who, which the Spice Girls eventually went on to win. The Promise won best British single, their first BRIT award.
Mick Kluczynski (2009) 
Ten days before the 2009 Brits, Mick Kluczynski, the production manager for the Brits since 1995 who assisted with the transition from the Fleetwood/Fox debacle to the scale of the current ceremony, died. Despite this setback the team he put in place ensured that everything went as planned, and the show was dedicated to him.
Liam Gallagher and Peter Kay (2010) 
At the 2010 Brits, Liam Gallagher made a surprise appearance to accept his award for Best Brits album of the past 30 years. After thanking all of his former bandmates (apart from brother Noel) and declaring his fans "the best fans in the fucking world", he gave his award to a lucky fan and hurled his microphone into the audience; a search for the microphone caused a 10 minute delay. After walking off stage, comedian Peter Kay, who hosted the awards, reacted to Liam's actions by saying "what a knobhead".
Adele's performance of "Someone like You" (2011) 
Adele performed her song "Someone like You" at the 2011 Brits with only a piano accompanying her. Her emotional performance was received with a standing ovation at the O2 Arena and the video received 450 million views on YouTube within days. The performance launched "Someone Like You" 46 spots up the UK charts to number one, and in the process, made Adele the first artist in the UK since The Beatles to have two top five singles and two top five albums at the same time. The performance had all lights down and focused Adele and her piano.
James Corden, Justin Bieber and Plan B (2011) 
James Corden, the host of the 2011 ceremony (as well as the 2012 ceremony and co-host for the 2009 ceremony), made jokes throughout the ceremony which drew criticism on social networking site Twitter. A targeted example was talking to acts in between awards when he came across Justin Bieber. Corden, in his trademark humour, said to Bieber "You smell amazing! How old are you?". A bemused Bieber replied "thanks". Similarly, after Plan B's performance of his hit "Prayin'" finished with a man on fire, Corden described it as a really violent episode of Porridge and remarked "is Justin Bieber OK? The amount of hair products that boy uses. He could have gone up in flames." As the man on fire took to the stage during Plan B's performance, some of the crowd showed their disapproval and booed.
Adele and Blur (2012) 
At the Brit Awards 2012, Adele won the award for 'MasterCard British Album of the Year' which is widely regarded as the most important award of the ceremony. Less than half a minute into her acceptance speech, host James Corden was forced to cut Adele off in order to introduce Blur who were due to perform an eleven minute set as they had won the 'Outstanding Contribution to Music' award and the ceremony was over-running. Adele was visibly annoyed and proceeded to flick her middle finger up into the air and the producers of the show came under fire from members of social networking website Twitter for the decision. Following the incident Adele said "I got cut off during my speech for Best Album and I flung the middle finger. But that finger was to the suits at the BRIT Awards, not to my fans". Adele received an apology from the show's organisers, who stated; "We send our deepest apologies to Adele that her big moment was cut short. We don't want this to undermine her incredible achievement in winning our night's biggest award. It tops off what's been an incredible year for her." Due to the tight schedule, only three of the five songs Blur played were broadcast on ITV.
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.
|British acts||Number of awards|
|Robbie Williams (5 with Take That)||17|
|George Michael (3 with Wham!)|
|Freddie Mercury (3 with Queen) (2 posthumous)|
|Manic Street Preachers|
|International Acts||Number of awards|
See also 
- "The Brit Awards 2008". ITV. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "BFI Film & TV Database Search results for 'Brit Awards'". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Brit Awards: Did you know...?". BBC News. 16 January 2001. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- BRITs Duo On Track To Reach Dizzee-ing Heights in UK Charts British Recorded Music Industry Retrieved 28 April 2011
- Martin, George (with Jeremy Hornsby) (1979). All You Need Is Ears. New York: St. Martin’s Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-312-02043-0.
- "British Pop's Big Party". BBC News. Retrieved 10 December 2012
- "MasterCard Renews Sponsorship of The BRIT Awards". BPI. Retrieved 23 November 2012
- "2007 Brits to be broadcast live". BBC. Retrieved 23 November 2012
- "The Highs and Lows of the Brit Awards: Jonathan King". BBC. Retrieved 23 November 2012
- "The BRIT Awards 2011 with MasterCard unveils new location". BPI. Retrieved 23 November 2012
- "The BRIT Awards". BFI. Retrieved 07-09-12.
- YouTube – Broadcast Yourself[dead link]
- "Brits behaving badly". BBC News. 4 March 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- The Highs and Lows of the Brit Awards BBC News Retrieved 28 April 2011
- Queen, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Brian May, BRITS 1990 BRIT Awards.co.uk Retrieved 28 April 2011
- "4. The KLF's art terrorism at the Brits 1992". NME. Archived from the original on 17 April 2006.
- "Iconic Union Jack dress". The Sun (UK). 15 December 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Spice Girls form The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2012
- "Pop World Records, Music World Records, Record Breaking Achievements". Philbrodieband.com.
- Gibbons, Fiachra (4 March 2010). "Spice whirl casts shadow over Brit awards". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- "A1 TAKE ON NOEL". NME. 22 April 2001.
- "Viewers complain over Brits jokes". BBC News. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Reeves upset by Osbourne Brits rant". Digital Spy. 21 February 2008.
- Evans, Natalie (22 February 2012). "The top 10 controversial Brits moments: Wardrobe malfunctions, stage invasions and a bucket of iced water - Mirror Online". Daily Mirror.
- "TRIBUTE: Mick Kluczynski".
- Lee, Ann (16 February 2011). "Brit Awards 2011: James Corden slammed on Twitter for 'hitting on' Justin Bieber". Metro.co.uk.
- Lee, Ann (16 February 2011). "Brit Awards 2011: Plan B booed for 'setting dancer on fire'". Metro.co.uk.
- "OK! Magazine: First For Celebrity News :: Latest Celebrity News :: BRITs 2012: Adele gives the finger after James Corden cuts off her acceptance speech". Ok.co.uk. 21 February 2012.
- "Blur to play for record time at Brits 2012, says James Corden". Digital Spy. 20 February 2012.
- Ellie (19 June 2012). "BRITs 2012: Adele wins Best Album, gets cut off mid-speech. Ouch. | 110% pop". Yahoo!.
- Tarley, Rachel. "Adele apologises to fans after flicking middle finger following Brits speech snub". Metro.co.uk.
- "News - General - Adele gives the finger at BRIT Awards". 4Music. 21 February 2012.
- Adele Receives Apology From BRIT Awards for Acceptance-Speech Interruption The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 February 2012
- Hirst, Damien. "BRIT Award “Spot” Statue Designed by British Artist Damien Hirst". Moresay. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- BRIT Awards Official website