Friday 20 July 2018

BRIT Awards - the 14 best and worst moments from 40 years

Michael Jackson performs 'Earth Song' at the 1996 ceremony before Jarvis Cocker’s stage invasion.
Michael Jackson performs 'Earth Song' at the 1996 ceremony before Jarvis Cocker’s stage invasion.
Singer-songwriter said Michael Jackson told him Prince had "always been a meanie"
Prince performed at the Brit Awards on several occasions, most recently in 2014
Prince performs at the Brit Awards 2006
File photo dated 15/02/06 of Prince performing on stage at the Brit Awards, as the singer has died at the age of 57, his publicist said. Yui Mok/PA Wire
BRIT Awards 2006 – Earls Court
Katy Perry performing on stage at the Brit Awards at the O2 Arena, London.
Adele poses in the winners room at the BRIT Awards 2016 with her 4 Brit awards at The O2 Arena on February 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Luca Teuchmann/Getty Images)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Some would argue that the BRITs have become a little bland and boring in recent years compared to their rowdy, unpredictable, brilliant telly 90s heyday.

However, whether it's an unexpected artist collaboration or an unexpected mishap, there's usually something to spark the modern equivalent of the water cooler moment - a bit of buzz on Twitter.

Tonight's awards, airing from 8pm on ITV (and streaming on YouTube for those abroad), take place at the O2 Arena in London, with Jack Whitehall presenting.  There will be performances courtesy of Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Foo Fighteres, Jorja Smith, Justin Timberlake, Rag'n'Bone Man, Rita Ora, Sam Smith and Stormzy, and hopefully a few collaborations among them.  You can check out the nominations HERE

To get you in the mood, here's a fond look back at some of the most memorable moments - good and bad - from the awards show's 40 year history...

Katy Perry's dancer falling off the stage

Last year one of Katy's dancers, who was dressed as a teeny tiny house, fell off the stage during her performance of Chained to the Rhythm. 

"The dancer is okay and Katy went to see her as soon as she heard, and spent some time with her," someoen from Katy's

The George Michael tribute

In the year between BRITs 2016 and 2017 the music world lost Prince, Leonard Cohen, Viola Beach and George Michael among many more.  An emotional tribute was paid to them at the start of the night as a montage of their images were shown.  Then Michael's former Wham! bandmates Pepsie, Andrew Ridgeley and Shirlie paid their respects to the star and struggled to hold back their tears as they spoke about their late friend. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin then took to the stage to sing Wham! track A Different Corner while recordings and images of the star played in the background.

The muting of Skepta's performance

Also last year the decision was taken to mute segments of British Solo Male Artist nominee Skepta's performance of Shutdown for the audience at home, thanks to some colourful language.  Rock'n'roll.

The KLF's departure from the music business

The KLF, who won Best British Group (with Simply Red) opened the show at the 1992 BRITS and invited extreme metal band Extreme Noise Terror to perform with them.  At the end of the very noisy, flame-filled performance, n a move which would be utterly horrifying now in the light of the Manchester and Paris attacks, frontman Bill Drummond fired machine-gun blanks over the crowd.  They later sent a dead sheep to the after party with the words, "I died for ewe - bon appetit".

Adele flung the middle finger

When Adele's acceptance speech for the British Album of the Year 2012 award was chopped short in order to let Blur play their closing set, she gave the organisers the fingers.  They later apologised to the 23-year-old singer, who told reporters, "I got cut off during my speech and flung the middle finger. But that finger was to the suits at the Brit Awards, not to my fans."  Ironically, it was Blur's Damon Albarn who caused the ceremony to run over after his long and rambling acceptance speech earlier that evening.

John Prescott gets iced

It was 1998 and the Deputy Prime Minister of the time attended the awards with his wife, only to end up drenched from head to foot after Chumbawumba's Danbert Nobacon chucked a bucket of ice water over him.  “If John Prescott, as a representative of the Government, has the nerve to turn up at events such as the Brit Awards in a vain attempt to make Labour seem cool and trendy, then he deserves all we can throw at him”, said a statement released by the band.

There's no time for Rick Astley to accept his award - and he cries, allegedly

Ten years previously, it was a simpler time.  Rick Astley, of 'Never Gonna Give You Up' fame, was due to receive the last award of the night for Best British Single but there wasn't enough time to present it to him as the The Who were due to close the ceremony.  So, it was accepted instead by the Chairman of the BPI.  But then they spent two minutes on a montage of the finalists so... ouch.

The legendary Sam Fox and Mick Eastwood presenting disaster

Back in 1989 they fronted what was one of the most shambolic awards ceremonies in the history of awards ceremonies and it was an utterly compelling watch.  In 2010, Sam told the Guardian she wanted the ground to swallow her.  She said, "We were given the wrong cards to announce the acts, the Autocue was broken and the lady who was meant to be prompting, well I don't want to be ageist, but I'm not sure she could hear everything that was going on."

Michael Jackson gets mooned

Jarvis Cocker leapt on stage during Michael Jackson's epic performance of Michael Jackson's Earth Song and bared his bum.  It was 1996 and he audience at home was aghast at the event unfolding before them, although Cocker was rapidly dragged off by security as the camera switched from stage to Brits audience.

When you think you've won, but you haven't...

Long before La La Land thought they'd won at the Oscars, DJ Brandon Block thought he'd won at the BRITs.  In 2000 he stormed the stage during Ronnie Wood's acceptance speech.  His 'friends' had convinced him he'd won so off he went to claim his prize.  Wood was not impressed and threw a drink over him.

The Gallaghers

Noel and/or Liam can always been relied upon to provide some drama and where better to do so than during their home country's biggest night of music.  They've taken pops at Michael Hutchence (in 1996) and Robbie Williams (2000) as well as the Spice Girls (1997).

As Oasis received the award for Best Video from Hutchence, Noel said, “Has-beens shouldn’t present awards to gonna-bes” while Robbie Williams challenged Liam to a fight after Liam called him the "fat one" from Take That.

Language is choice - you have been warned:

Amy Winehouse performed Valerie

Three years before she died Amy Winehouse was at the peak of her career and when she sang Valerie at the Brits in 2008 with Mark Ronson it was something truly special.

Adele performs Someone Like You

Another performance that made the hairs collectively stand on the back of every neck at the event and at home came from Adele in 2011.  Her album, 21, had just been released and she gave an emotional rendition of Someone Like You at the awards.


After years of legal troubles and name issues, the purple one made his big comeback at the BRITs in 2006, energetically ripping through a selection of his hits from “Te Amo Corazon” to “Fury” and “Purple Rain” to “Let’s Go Crazy”. His 21-date reign at London’s O2 Arena followed.

Catch The Brit Awards 2017 on ITV from 8pm

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