The general consensus seems to be that this year’s Brit Awards ceremony was one of the most tedious ever, but musical gong fests aren’t always so flaccid. Here, we celebrate some of the more memorable moments from award shows gone by.
1. Jarvis disses Jacko
In 1996, Michael Jackson hadn’t quite made it all the way to Loonyville, but he was certainly on the trip there. During his Brits performance of Earth Song, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker took umbrage at the erstwhile King Of Pop’s messianic posturing, expressing his displeasure by storming the stage and waving his backside in Jackson’s general direction. Watch closely and you’ll see that a comedic Benny Hill style chase sequence followed, with Cocker being pursued by several members of security.
2. The KLF shock the industry
At the 1992 Brits, best male and female prizes went to Seal and Lisa Stansfield respectively. The cosy dinner party soul ambience was annihilated by the KLF, though, whose metal version of 3AM Eternal (they performed it with UK grindcore punk band Extreme Noise Terror) left the audience stunned. It finished with singer Bill Drummond peppering the crowd with a volley of blank machine gun fire.
Having walked off as winners of the Best Band category – hilariously, they had to share the honour with Simply Red – the KLF proceeded to dump a dead sheep at the aftershow party. You wouldn’t catch Mika doing that.
3. The Synthesizer Medley
Not really a controversial moment, this one, but more than 20 years after it happened, it can still put your jaw on the floor. Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, Stevie Wonder and Thomas ‘Amadeus’ Dolby indulge in four and a half minutes of preposterous synth wibbling - complete with keytars – at the 1985 Grammys. It set the cause of electronic music back two decades and inspired legions of kids to start playing the guitar.
Apparently, there’s some debate as to whether the medley was live or pre-recorded – the real question should be why it was ever allowed to happen in the first place.
4. Oasis rework Parklife
The not-at-all-manufactured feud between Oasis and Blur was at its height and, on winning the 1996 Brit Award for Best Group, Liam and Noel Gallagher were keen to rub salt into the wounds of their bitter rivals. But how best to do it? By singing Blur’s Parklife of course, subtly adjusting the last word of the chorus to leave Damon Albarn and chums crying into their cockerney barrows.
You can watch the clip to find out how this magnificent moment of parody unfolded; let’s just say, though, that if you’re looking for evidence to support the claim that Liam Gallagher has a Wildean capacity for wit, you won’t find it here.
5. Ol’ Dirty Bastard states his case
There’s losing with good grace, and then there’s what the much-missed Ol’ Dirty Bastard did when his band the Wu-Tang Clan lost out to Puff Daddy in the Best Hip-Hop Album category at the 1998 Grammys. Eschewing the ‘smile and clap politely’ approach, he stormed the stage as Wyclef and Erykah Badu presented the Song Of The Year award to explain why he and his collective should have won instead. He probably had a point.
6. Timmy C looks down on Limp Bizkit
For reasons best known to himself, Rage Against The Machine bassist Timmy C decided that the most appropriate way to show his displeasure at Limp Bizkit winning the Best Rock Video prize at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards was to clamber up a piece of the stage set while the band were accepting it.
This turn of events clearly left all members of The Bizkit bemused, so full marks to lead singer Fred Durst for exhibiting previously unknown levels of self-awareness by conceding that his band were “the most hated in the world”.
7. Monkey leaps on Take That
90s boyband Take That have staged one of pop’s more unlikely comebacks over the past couple of years, but Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has never been a fan. Having watched as the Mancunian four-piece were given a spurious ‘Idol’ honour at the 2006 Q Awards, he took his chance to declare them “bollocks” when he and his band collected the Best Album prize for Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not.
Gary Barlow refused to be drawn when asked about the slight, but could reasonably have pointed out that Turner wasn’t even ten years old when Take That were at the height of their fame, so was probably listening to Mr Blobby instead.
What do you think of these selections? Can you recall any other awards-related hi-jinks? Let us know below…
By Ben Rogerson