Stiff Records, pioneers of the UK small labels boom and still among the sharpest and wittiest of the independents despite Jake Riviera's defection to Radar, were on the receiving end of some well-deserved recognition this year in NME's annual Awards To The British Music Industry.
Stiff and Elvis Costello, who left to join Radar with Riviera, earned mentions in four out of the five categories they were eligible for — including winning the Best Produced British Record section with "Watching The Detectives."
Nick Lowe, who produced "Detectives," and Jake Riviera collected their awards at a presentation lunch held last week at London's Europa Hotel.
Stiff/Costello's other awards were Highly Commended mentions for Best Sleeve, Best Marketing Concept and Best Designed Advertisement Appearing In NME — all for Elvis' My Aim Is True album.
Winner of the Best Designed Sleeve, rock category, was The Stranglers' No More Heroes, designed by Paul Henry for UA Records. Best Engineered Record was Joan Armatrading's "Willow," engineered by Glyn Johns; Best Designed Advertisement was an RCA spread for David Bowie; Best Marketing Concept was the campaign EMI ran for The Shadows' Greatest Hits set.
Some of the thunder of the winners was undoubtedly stolen by guest speaker Bill Grundy, journalist, broadcaster and associate of The Sex Pistols. Mr. Grundy, in time-honoured Fleet Street tradition, appeared a shade tired and emotional during a speech designed to produce after-dinner amusement at the expense of the Pistols. This ended somewhat abruptly to untumultuous applause when Mr. Glundly, as befits a BOF of his standing (53 years’ practice), was overcome by sudden tiredness.
“Unforgettable” was how one observer summarised Mr. Glundly’s contribution to the event.
The awards scheme is organised by NME Advertisement Director Percy Dickens and this is the tenth year they have been presented.
Full details of the 1978 awards are as follows:
BEST DESIGNED SLEEVE
“No More Heroes” The Stranglers, designed by Paul Henry for United Artists Records.
Highly Commended: “My Aim Is True” Elvis Costello (Stiff), designed by Barney Bubbles and Jake Riviera; “Get Stoned” Rolling Stones (Arcade), designed by Colin Birchall; “Overnight Angel” Ian Hunter (CBS), designed by Roslav Szaybo and John Berg.
“The Monty Python Instant Record Collection” (Charisma), designed by Terry Gilliam.
Highly Commended: “The Muppet Show” (Pye), designed by Henson Associates and Paul Chave/Tactics; “Daylight” Hudson-Ford (CBS), designed by Lyn Moore; “Michael Chapman Lived Here” (Cube), designed by Dobney Johnson Studios.
“Salman Shukur-Oud” (Decca), designed by Laurie Richards.
Highly Commended: “An Album of English Songs” (Enigma Records) by Ian Partridge, designed by Peter Whiteside; “Schubert Mass In A Flat” (Decca), designed by Roderick White; “Walton Facade Suite” (EMI) designed by David Anstey
BEST BRITISH PRODUCED
“Watching The Detectives” by Elvis Costello on Stiff Records. Produced by Nick Lowe.
Highly Commended; “Sound And Vision” by David Bowie on RCA Records, produced by David Bowie and Tony Visconti; “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave on GTO Records, produced by Barry Blue; “First Thing In The Morning” by Kiki Dee on Rocket Records, produced by Elton John and Clive Franks.
BEST BRITISH ENGINEERED
“Willow” by Joan Armatrading on A & M Records. Engineered by Glyn Johns.
Highly Commended: “We Are The Champions” by Queen on EMI Records, engineered by Mike Stone; “Meaningless” by Cafe Jacques on CBS Records, engineered by Peter Kelsey; “Sweet Jamaica” by Cat Stevens on Island Records, engineered by Freddy Hansson.
BEST DESIGNED ADVERTISEMENT APPEARING IN NME.
RCA Records for “There’s Old Wave - There’s New Wave - And There’s David Bowie” … designed by Steve Weltman and Primary Contacts
Highly Commended: Stiff Records for “My Aim Is True” by Elvis Costello, designed by Barney Bubbles and Jake Riviera; CBS Records for “Hard Again” by Muddy Waters designed by David Pilton Advertising; A & M Records for “Rick Wakeman’s Criminal Record”, designed by Michael Ross.
BEST BRITISH MARKETING CONCEPT
EMI Records for “The Shadows Greatest Hits”.
Highly Commended: Motown Records for “Diana Ross & The Supremes - 20 Golden Greats”; Stiff Records for Elvis Costello “My Aim Is True”; United Artists for The Stranglers “No More Heroes”.