Often seen as a distant cousin of the Grammys, BRIT Awards ceremonies have their own fair share of surprises – including one anarchic group strafing the audiences with blanks, and The Beatles winning a Best Album award ten years after their record came out.
There’s been plenty more mishaps and mayhem along the way – so take cover! Here are seven of the biggest surprises in the history of the BRITS.
1977: The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band wins the first-ever Best Album Of The Year award
The first-ever BRIT Awards was held in 1977, as The BRITish Record Industry BRITannia Awards, to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. As a sign of the overwhelming importance of The Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it was deemed the best record of that year – despite having being released a decade earlier.
1996: Jarvis Cocker bum rushes Jacko
“I am not Jesus, but I have the same initials.” So sang Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker on the group’s 1998 song “Dishes.” Two years earlier, Jarvis had taken umbrage at Michael Jackson’s seemingly Christ-like posing during a performance of “Earth Song” – and waggled his bum in protest.
2000: Steps win Best British Live Act
In a year where David Bowie graced Glastonbury with his presence and The Who hit the road for the first time in two decades, pop-puppet five-piece Steps were deemed the best live performers the UK had to offer.
1989: Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood host an entire ceremony
Surprising in the sense that someone even considered this: a Page Three model and the drummer from soft rock icons Fleetwood Mac – what could go wrong? Well, everything, so it turned out. Despite one of these two having taken their clothes off for a living, it’s fair to say that neither had ever felt so exposed as they did on this night.
2011: Laura Marling wins Best Female Solo Artist
A pleasant surprise, this one. The odds may have been on the more flamboyant Ellie Goulding or Paloma Faith, but Laura Marling deservedly won at the BRIT Awards for her second album, I Speak Because I Can. Seven months later she made even greater strides with the stunning A Creature I Don’t Know.
1998: Chumbawumba chuck water over Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
Which was more transparent: New Labour’s attempt to align themselves with “Cool Brittania,” or the KLF wannabes’ hope that this would be seen as more than an attempt to hit the front pages?
1992: The KLF perform metal version of 3am Eternal with Extreme Noise Terror
Jimmy Caulty and Bill Drummond machine-gunned the audience with blanks during a metal performance of their classic single “3am Eternal.” Legend has it they also wanted to chuck sheep’s blood over the crowd – but their collaborators were vegans, which put paid to that.