The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) awards began in 1977 as part of the commemoration for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Five years elapsed before the next one in 1982. It then became an annual event with television broadcasts commencing in 1988. The following year saw a re-brand to The Brit Awards with affable hosts Samantha Fox and Mick Fleetwood. This live show was widely criticised and from 1990 to 2006 the event was subsequently recorded and broadcast the following night. The first album tie-in was in 1989 and released on vinyl, cassette and a glorious fatbox CD.
Best International Group: The nominees included Fleetwood Mac – such was the longevity of Tango In The Night. Originally released in April 1987 and still riding high in the charts during the spring of ’89. Little Lies is a sparkling opening track, a classic ’80s hit penned by Christine McVie. Also in the fray were INXS and Kick’s finest wine Never Tear Us Apart. An album that keeps on giving as the years fly by. This one made our wedding video. Bon Jovi also got the nod with the rather turgid Born To Be My Baby which was taken from the massive-selling New Jersey.
Best British Single: Shake it up with Tanita Tikaram and the waltz darling daring of Good Tradition. Get close to the edge and the edit with the Art of Noise and Tom Jones ripping up Kiss. Deacon Blue’s Scots Clan epic Real Gone Kid and Fairground Attraction’s charming Perfect also make the grade.
Best British Album. Aztec Camera’s rather anodyne How Men Are sounds nothing like any song from the Heaven 17 album of the same name. Thankfully The Pasadenas’ Riding On A Train makes us dance our hearts out.
Best British Male Artist. George Michael’s Faith is one of the great 80s LPs. Six singles emerged with the languid album closer Kissing A Fool being one of the highlights. Chris Rea made a brave decision to re-record a number of his hits for the New Light Through Old Windows compilation. I Can Hear Your Heartbeat was one of them and builds on the anthemic original with a more chilled-out vibe.
Best British Group. Just two nominees included here. Erasure with the simple yet devastatingly effective A Little Respect. Wet Wet Wet pile on the slush with This Time; an effective “slow things down” number.
Best International Newcomer. Take your pick. There’s Enya’s beguiling Orinico Flow and Belinda Carlisle’s enchanting Circle In The Sand. Summer memories are still fresh. I’d toss Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s Twist And Shout in the garbage can. Nip it in the bud. Drown all copies in lava. Short Sharp Shocked: the spiky Anchorage.
Best International Male Artist. Prince’s Lovesexy was one of the year’s best albums and I Wish U Heaven is a righteous funky groove. Do you prefer your Lovesexy to have nine tracks or just one continuous sequence? Alexander O’Neal is right here waiting with the molten heat of Criticize. Appears to be the slightly longer album version though. Master of the love realm: Luther Vandross mixes the dreamy and the passionate with Any Love. Take a hard line with Sign Your Name and Terence Trent D’Arby. For a short spell in 1987/88 he was the coolest brother in town.
Best British Female Artist. Savage by name. . . A watershed for Eurythmics. I Need A Man recalls the aggressive Be Yourself Tonight era. Go back seven years and it would have fitted in William Friedkin’s Cruising. Yazz goes it alone with the house classic Stand Up For Your Love Rights. Sade’s Love Is Stronger Than Pride then. Ambient and lush. Some faint praise: “I can always count on my British Nigerian Goddess for music that makes me want to mix an entire bottle of crushed sleeping pills with a tall glass bottle of Kool Aid”. Lovers rock.
Best Soundtrack and Original Cast Recording. The indestructible Four Tops fly it alone with the stranded-in-time Loco In Acapulco. Buster.
Best International Female Artist. Whitney Houston and One Moment In Time. 2,000,000 fans can’t be wrong.
Good Tradition’s chart run: 39-23-15-10-11-17-32-46-67.
And the Conservative Secretary of State for Education and Science Kenneth Baker was greeted by boos from the audience.
“Sitting here waiting for you
Would be like waiting for winter”.
Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies
INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
Tanita Tikaram – Good Tradition
Sade – Love Is Stronger Than Pride
Lest we forget
Chris Rea – I Can Hear Your Heartbeat (1988)