The weirdest Brits performances – ranked!

Next week is the 38th Brit awards, so what better time to countdown the strangest musical moments to grace its stage?

15. Bananarama: Love in the First Degree (1988)

Bananarama highstepping in 1988

To be frank, the weirdest thing about Bananarama’s rumbustious 80s blowout is that the entire performance – oiled men, star-jumps, loincloths-aplenty and a banging disco track – hasn’t yet been faithfully recreated at the Brits by Ed Sheeran. Could 2018 be the year?

14. Olly Murs feat Rizzle Kicks: Heart Skips a Beat (2012)

Olly Murs: he was tired, right?

Over to YouTube commenter Kirstin Bradley: “For all those saying Olly was off-key and crap he had been doing his first arena tour the night before an night after he was exhausted all his fans know he’s never like this without reason he knew he’d done bad the Brits also rushed the song because they were running behind (if u wonder how I know this it was on a episode of the show special he did called olly:life on Murs).”

13. The Police: Outstanding contribution presentation (1985)

The Police – just outstanding, guys

Not a performance in the conventional sense, but noteworthy because it was one of numerous instances of BPI boss Maurice Oberstein appearing on stage at the Brits with one of his ludicrous dogs. (When “Obie” appeared at the 1992 Brits, he was sans dog but dressed as Robin Hood.)

12. Robbie Williams and Joss Stone: Angels (2005)

Robbie Williams and Joss Stone – angelic

Some people insist that the Brits lost their power to shock or amaze during the 2000s, but those people have clearly forgotten that Joss Stone took her shoes off halfway through this performance. What a set piece!

11. kd lang and Andy Bell: No More Tears (Enough is Enough) (1993)

kd lang and Andy Bell

In 2018, this partnership’s sub-sub-Stock Aitken & Waterman assault on No More Tears is more Air & Cartland than Summer and Streisand, but in 1993 a studio version was deemed good enough to subsequently appear on the soundtrack of extra-terrestrial comedy Coneheads, which critic Roger Ebert described as “dismal, dreary and fairly desperate”. BRITS GOLD!

10. Geri Halliwell: Bag It Up (2000)

Geri Halliwell in 2000

Seventy-eight Spice Girls reunions ago, G-Haz scored three successive No 1s, so triumphant rebirth imagery – she appeared from between a pair of inflatable legs – was wholly justified. And for fans who had missed the nuances of Girl Power, Geri bellowing “treat him like a lady!” while thrusting her groin into a male dancer’s face no doubt filled in some blanks.

9. Lady Gaga: Telephone/Dance in the Dark (2010)

Lady Gaga goes acoustic

Reeling from the recent death of Alexander McQueen, at the last minute Gaga jettisoned her planned Brits performance in favour of a subdued acoustic rendition of Telephone and a minimal, jarring deconstruction of an album track whose sudden, unexpected end felt as if it had come too soon.

8. Texas and Method Man: Say What You Want (1998)

Texas and Method Man in 1998

In 2015, Sharleen Spiteri explained that Brits organisers had suggested a duet with some chancer called Smokey Robinson. No, Sharleen replied – that would be too obvious. Texas used a free trip on Concorde to persuade Method Man to appear. Sharleen’s words to Method Man before they went on stage? “We’re Marvin and Tammi for the 90s.”

7. Shaggy and Ali G: Me Julie (2002)

Ali G bigs it up with Shaggy

Two years after treating the Brits audience to a joke about raping Britney Spears and presenting Macy Gray with an award for “best international punani”, Ali G’s 2002 entrance involved a “joke” about receiving oral sex from Kylie Minogue and a line about sticking a cotton bud in his penis. Almost impressively, things actually got worse over the subsequent three minutes.

6. Rick Astley: Never Gonna Give You Up (1987)

Rick Astley almost live in 1987

There was a lot to unpack in this performance: the jaunty musical notes motif selected by that year’s set designers; the hi-tech scoreboards looming at the back; Rick’s growing discomfort with that evening’s shirt-and-tie combo. But it was mainly notable for how deftly Rick dealt with performing to a backing track that usually faded but, on live TV, simply stopped.

5. Björk and PJ Harvey: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1994)

In many respects, this coming together of two of the world’s boldest and most majestically idiosyncratic talents was precisely the type of fearless, borderline-iconic pairing more recent Brits ceremonies have been sadly lacking. In one other, more immediately obvious respect: what a bloody racket.

4. Steps, Billie Piper, B*Witched, Cleopatra and Tina Cousins: Thank ABBA for the Music (1999)

It says a lot about how effectively Billie Piper subsequently made peace with herself over this atrocious arse-clencher that, even seven years later, when she had full unrestricted access to a time machine, she did not take steps (or Steps) to ensure this catastrophic medley never took place.

3. The KLF and Extreme Noise Terror: 3am Eternal (1992)

Noise annoys: the KLF in 1992

In 1991, Christmas TOTP producers politely declined the KLF’s offer of a death metal performance, but Brits organisers took the bait. Classical bigwig Sir Georg Solti walked out; Bill Drummond fired a machine gun at the audience. Years later, the KLF’s publicist commented that Drummond was “basically experiencing a nervous breakdown”.

2. The 1975: The Sound (2017)

The 1975 go postmodern in 2017

In which the 1975 played it straight on stage, but had requested in advance that a barrage of pink and white graphics with dad-pre-empting statements (“IS THIS A JOKE?” “UNCONVINCING EMO LYRICS”, “FRIVOLOUS”, “RIDICULOUS”, “DESPERATE”) were inserted into the live TV broadcast. Ooh – postmodern!

1. Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield: Ain’t Nobody (2005)

Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield make it a family affair in 2005

Seriously, though, who are we to judge? What could be more pure than a song about how the closeness between two people can unexpectedly lead to an endless night of tender love-making? What, realistically, is more innocent than two people expressing their mutual desire to a live television audience of millions? Who among us would state that this expression of lust is not the most wonderful thing in the world? And it is a wonderful thing, Natasha and Daniel. You were absolutely right not to let anybody or anything – not even sections 64–65 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 – tell you otherwise.


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