Fellow recipients of BPI's "Outstanding Contribution" award

In February 2009 the Pet Shop Boys received the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) award for Outstanding Contribution to Music (in the "Contemporary" category as opposed to the "Classical" category, for which it's separately also awarded). The recipients of this prestigious "BRIT" award through the years are as follows:


1Regarding the means by which John Lennon received this award before the Beatles, never underestimate the power of untimely death to circumvent logic. (I'm not counting the 1977 BPI "Silver Jubilee" awards, when the Beatles were co-recipients of a similar honor. Those awards appear to have been intended as a one-off, distinct from the annual awards that started a half-decade later. Otherwise, why would the Beatles have received the award again in 1983? On the other hand, consider the cases of Elton John, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury/Queen, and Robbie Williams.)

2Inexplicably, whoever makes the decision for this award settled on two winners in 1986. But this, too, defies logic, implicitly suggesting that Wham! was able to achieve in five years what it had taken more than fifteen for Elton. Speaking quite objectively, I don't think so.

3At least this time they gave the award to the entire band before granting it to one of its members on account of untimely death—although, to be honest, I don't see how Freddie deserved this award outside of Queen. Well, aside from that thing about untimely death.

4Maybe they felt bad about making Elton share the award with Wham! nearly a decade earlier—either that or they figured that his having co-written the songs for the phenomenally successful The Lion King the year before constituted a second "Outstanding Contribution to Music."

5I have nothing against the Spice Girls, but c'mon. Ahead of U2? Sting? McCartney? Pet Shop Boys? Hell, ahead of Oasis?—and I don't even like Oasis, though I will concede that "Champagne Supernova" is one honkin' fine piece o' pop music. And while we're talking about acts that I don't particularly like, what about the Rolling Stones? I personally don't care much for them—I can count on my two hands (OK, and maybe one or two of my feet) the number of songs from their vast catalog that I actually like—yet surely they deserve this recognition as much as if not more than at least half of those who have already received it. (Don't make me name them.) Curious things, these awards.

6It has been mistakenly reported elsewhere that Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, received the award in 2011. But his was a different "outstanding contribution" award made not by BPI but by a separate organization, the Music Producers Guild.

7Elton wins for a third time? What's up with that? Don't get me wrong—I love Elton. But I would think one "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award for anybody would suffice, much less three. Incidentally, starting in 2014, the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award was renamed the "Icon Award," although it's generally acknowledged that it's essentially the same award.

8OK, so both David and Robbie joined the ranks of repeat award-winners in 2016 and 2017, respectively. If the arbiters of these awards honestly feel that nobody else deserves this particular recognition, maybe they ought to just give up on it. I mean, in the case of Bowie in 2016, as with Freddie in 1992, wasn't it really just the "Damn, we're awfully sorry he just died" award?

9Notably, Pink is the first American to receive this award (if you don't count the American members of Fleetwood Mac, a predominantly British band with clear U.K. origins), which has previously been reserved for artists from the British Isles (including Ireland).