Who's the only politician to win Hero Of The Year? What categories were in the first ceremonies? Find out the answers and more here.
It’s not long now until the VO5 NME Awards 2017 take over London’s O2 Academy Brixton. February 15 will see the great and good of modern music celebrate each other’s achievements and gather together for one big party.
The VO5 NME Awards return for another night of celebrating all the great music over the last 12 months on February 15. We won’t know who’s winning what until the night so tide yourself over with these very geeky facts about the ceremony’s past.
When the first NME Awards was held in 1953, then called the NME Poll Winners Concert, things looked a little different. There were no scruffy indie bands walking on stage to pick up middle finger-raising trophies. Instead, respectable musicians like Ronnie Scott (pictured, centre) and Ted Heath were amongst the first ever winners. How times have changed…
If you’re celebrating the most rock’n’roll music, people and antics at your awards ceremony, the award itself should probably reflect that a little. So, in 1994, instead of handing out some fancy, elegantly designed trophy, we’ve been giving all our winners an award shaped like a hand with its middle finger raised. Taylor Swift got a bit confused by it, to say the least.
Following a year off in 1993, the awards were named the Brats as a cheeky take on the Brits in 1994. Here’s Paul McCartney and Damon Albarn getting along nicely at the 2000 event.
Being called the epitome of evil that many times in a row is probably a sign you should take a long, hard look at yourself.
Yeah, the NME Awards aren’t just limited to music and Dubya wasn’t the first politician to be repeatedly slated at the ceremony. If you were under any doubt what NME readers of the ’80s thought about The Iron Lady, wonder no more.
It seems voters in the early ’70s just couldn’t make their minds up about what was better – T. Rex’s ‘Electric Warrior’ or John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Instead of NME staff casting the deciding vote, the award was given to both. Democracy in action.
Instead, he sent in handwritten notes thanking the magazine every time he was victorious. What a gent.
It was taken over to the US before his death and is now on display to the public as part of the Graceland exhibit.
The Leicester lads might have a way to go before they beat Elvis’ winning record, but at least they can lay claim to being nominated for the most awards in one year. They were up for a whopping nine in 2015. They went on to win two – Best British Band and Best Album for ’48:13′.
Can’t imagine Johnny Borrell was happy about this one… Following a glowing 8/10 review in NME, Razorlight’s self-titled record was giving one great big tug back down to earth when it was named Worst Album. That makes it the highest rated Worst Album winner ever.
Every year, we crown someone Godlike Genius. Many legends over the years have picked up the award, including Blondie, Dave Grohl, The Clash, The Cure and Ian Brown. The first ever recipient, though, was legendary DJ John Peel who was recognised for his dedication to new music.
The Fab Four’s last ever ever gig might have been in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, but they said goodbye to their screaming fans in the UK with one final performance at our very own party.
As the most famous band in the world and being bigger than Jesus, The Beatles were forced to turn up to the awards incognito. Their disguises? Pastry cooks. They would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for Ringo dropping a tray of cakes on the floor. Classic Ringo, eh?
Not all indie bands are gobby, eloquent or just excitable. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Nick Jago really took things to extremes in 2003, though, giving a seven-minute speech that consisted of pure silence as the band collected the trophy for Best Video.
These days, when an artist is recognised as a Godlike Genius, they perform some of their best songs to close out the ceremony. Most bands do five or six tracks. In 2011, Dave Grohl decided he was going to play for two hours, with a little help from his Foo Fighters bandmates.
The NME Awards might be a very British thing, but the ceremony once took place twice in one year with one event in London and another in LA. The NME Awards USA was held at the El Rey Theatre in 2008 and rewarded a host of US stars, including Band Of The Year, The Killers.
After picking up the award for Best New Band in 2000, the Devon trio jumped onto a private plane to get to their next gig. Very fancy, especially for a young band. Only thing was one of the engines caught fire. Thankfully, all ended well, but the group were a little frightened by the experience. Matt Bellamy later explained: “We had to fly to a gig and one of the engines caught alight as it was going down the runway – we were actually sitting there with the award in our hands when the engine burst into flames.”
Back in the early days of the NME Awards, there was no Villain Of The Year, no Best Dancefloor Filler. Instead the categories were things like Outstanding Arranger, Outstanding Clarinet Player and Outstanding American Feminine Singer (won by Doris Day, pictured). Truly another world.
At 1999’s NME Awards, readers were asked to vote for things like Pop Personality You’d Most Like As Your Doctor or Pop Personality You’d Most Like As Your Driving Instructor. Natalie Imbruglia and Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay won those two respectively.
And, for some reason, it was won by “You fat bastard!” in 1991. The line was often chanted at Carter USM gigs around the time.
They were only the third band to do so in the modern era after Coldplay and The Strokes. Their awards? Best New Band, Best British Band and Best Track for ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’.
O2 Academy Brixton might be our long-standing home, but the NME Awards have been held in almost every corner of London since their conception. Venues have included Hammersmith Palais, Troxy, Royal Albert Hall, Empire Pool Wembley, indigO2 and the Mermaid Theatre, plus many more.
Some bands are quite familiar with some of the categories. Not least The Killers, who have found themselves nominated for Best International Band five times since 2005. Will they be in the running in 2017?
The superstar rapper was nominated for Hero Of The Year, but also Villain Of The Year. A rare feat, yet Yeezy picked up neither award. He was beaten by Dave Grohl and Donald Trump, respectively. Poor Ye.
Both groups were up for the Best Newcomer Award in 1965, but the Stones won out in the end. Ray Davies didn’t take it very well, though, storming off stage when the result was announced.
Young Peter wasn’t too happy about being kicked out of the band due to his drug addiction and infamously broke into bandmate Carl’s house when the rest of the Libertines were touring Japan. Amongst the things he took was the group’s NME Award for Best New Band.
A year later, Pete was present at the Awards and celebrated The Libertines’ win for Best Band by roping Carl into reciting Suicide In The Trenches with him. It’s still one of the best acceptance speeches in recent memory.
A “crazy, weird, co-dependent psycho girlfriend that loves you, hates you and wants you to come back for more,” according to an interview he gave us in 2011. Thanks, we think?
The Monkees man passed away the day before the 2012 ceremony and Kasabian’s Tom Meighan made sure he was remembered on the night. When picking up the award for Best British Band, he told the audience: “It’s nice [to win], it’s an achievement… I’m over the moon. But fuck tonight man, tonight belongs to Davy Jones from The Monkees. There’s a hole in rock’n’roll – I dedicate that award to him.”
As a reflection of the changing face of technology and media, one vlogger was crowned the best in this year’s Awards. The winner? KSI, a rapper who has also found fame and a huge online following via his blogs about the FIFA videogames.
No other festival has won as many awards as Michael and Emily Eavis’ Glastonbury. The Somerset bash has picked up 13 awards over the years, and we’d bet there’s more to come in its future too.
The BBC Radio 1 DJ made the hosting gig his own in 2014 and has been invited back to reprise the role for the two years since. Other broadcasters to have hosted the NME Awards include Zane Lowe, Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs.
Usually Villain Of The Year is reserved for evil politicians like Trump and Thatcher. Only one politician has ever won Hero Of The Year, however. Who? Barack Obama, of course. He picked up the award in 2013.
Other winners over the years include The Silence Of The Lambs and Wayne’s World.
The first winner of Best TV was ITV’s music show Ready Steady Go!, which featured acts like The Who, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Temptations and more. Other winners over the years include The Office, The Mighty Boosh, Coronation Street and Brookside.
Some musicians have also presented the ceremony over the years. There was Roy Orbison way back in the ’60s, along with Tony Bennett, then years later, Jarvis Cocker and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
The south London venue is one of the UK’s most iconic live music spaces so it’s little wonder it won Best Venue more than once. Would you believe that it won the award 10 times between 1986-2000, though? We reckon it’s pretty well deserved.
After picking up the prize for Best Website five years in a row, the category name had to be changed to Best Website (excluding NME.com). Guess you can be just too good.
@babyhaim entertained us all in 2013 with her social media usage, so it was only right that she win the award for Best Band Blog Or Twitter.
Back in the ’90s, there was a specific award for the sessions broadcast on Radio 1’s Evening Session programme, as hosted by Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley – basically the equivalent of a Live Lounge award. It was only handed out for four years, with winners including Supergrass, Coldplay, Radiohead and Suede.
Oh yes, you think it’s mad that we gave The 1975 Worst Band in 2014 and then voted their second album Album Of The Year in our end-of-year review. That’s nothing compared to 1997, when we gave Worst Band and Best Band to the same group – Oasis.
For a time, there were awards for the sexiest man and woman in music. Muse’s Matt Bellamy won sexiest/hottest man four times over the years – the most victories in the category ever.
The Jam frontman was given the old Most Wonderful Human Being award four years, including three years in a row. Other winners include Morrissey and Johnny Rotten.
The first few instances of the Event Of The Year award were morbid affairs, marking the deaths of Elvis and John Lennon. Later, it was often given to big political moments including the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, the nuclear agreement of 1987 and Nelson Mandela’s birthday party the following year.
For one year only, Threat Of The Year was a legitimate category. Its recipient? AIDS, which was a big worry in the mid-80s.
Morrissey picked this one up, which is possibly the most bizarre category to ever exist in NME Awards history. What does it even mean?!
The late, legendary DJ certainly had this category all sewn up. He also collected the Best DJ award a further six times.
No, it wasn’t with the Stones or even for his fantastic dance moves. Instead it was Best New Disc Or TV Singer in 1964.
The first NME Awards in 1953 only had five different categories – Dance Band, Female Vocalist, Outstanding Musician, Small Band and Male Vocalist. Compare that to the Awards in the modern era when 25 awards are handed out.
Paul Weller’s old group picked up the trophy three times for their records ‘All Mod Cons’, ‘Setting Sons’ and ‘Sound Affects’. Arctic Monkeys, however, have only won the award twice.