From producers, arrangers, music publishers, to songwriters and musicians, the awards celebrate the unique contribution each recipient has made to support creativity in the music profession. BASCA’s Chairman Stephen McNeff said: “Each and everyone is a true champion of British music, and BASCA takes pride in the opportunity to honour them.”
Among those honoured were PRS for Music’s John Logan, champion of new artists Tom Robinson, artist Kim Wilde, jazz vocalist and lyricist Norma Winstone, and musician Peter Gabriel.
Cat Stevens, Harry Nillson, Elton John and Scott Walker are just some of the songwriters whose work has been elevated by the soaring orchestral arrangements of Del Newman, over the years. Newman has worked on many West End and Hollywood musicals but it’s his work conducting the orchestra on Wings’ James Bond theme ‘Live and Let Die’ and Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Road’ that remain unforgettable. Legendary guitarist Gordon Giltrap who worked with Newman three times, including on his Troubadour album, praised him as being “full of encouragement, patience and enthusiasm”.
John Logan, whose career with PRS for Music spans 42 years, was praised for his ‘generous spirit’ and ‘discretion’ by presenter Guy Fletcher OBE. Logan said it’s been a privilege to ‘reward those whose music gives so much to the world’.
Chris Wright CBE, who developed a love for music while booking bands at university, co founded Chrysalis with Terry Ellis in 1969 and has helped launch and sustain the careers of hundreds of diverse artists – from Blondie, Leo Sayer, to The Waterboys and Laura Marling. He was ‘thrilled and delighted’ to receive his gold badge in recognition of his huge contribution to popular music.
Norma Winstone MBE, who also recently won the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Jazz vocalist this year, was praised for ‘evolving her own style of improvisation’. Encouraged by her piano teacher, who spotted Norma’s talent early on, she successfully won a scholarship to Trinity College London. She has ‘loved every minute of singing jazz’ ever since and is thrilled to still be able to do it.
BASCA and Musicians’ Union awarded broadcaster and musician Tom Robinson, whose ‘troubled adolescence’ led to his discovery of music. He is now considered to be one of the most important BBC presenters, especially when it comes to championing emerging artists.
Robinson wryly commented that with more ‘equal opportunities’ for creating music in the current age (all you need now is a ‘killer song and an iphone’) there are also ‘equal opportunities to be ripped off’. He lampooned giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple who are ‘unaccountable to creators and don’t invest back into music’. He said that the songwriters’ cause is ‘our cause’ and added he advises any upcoming musician to stand up for their collective rights by joining BASCA, Musicians’ Union and PRS for Music.
Director of Serious Claire Whitaker OBE was celebrated for her services to jazz, and bringing music to wider audiences through her ambitious, inspirational events. She thanked her fellow directors David Jones and John Cummings and remarked on the power of music to bring cultures together.
Both BASCA and PRS for Music honoured lawyer Michael Eaton. He was praised for his being a ‘brilliant and trustworthy music lawyer’ with Guy Fletcher stating that ‘no one in the legal profession deserves this more’. Eaton, who has worked with the Bee Gees said he’s still having ‘too much fun to retire’.
Conductor and composer Iain Sutherland has had a 40-year association with the BBC as Principal Conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as appearing as guest conductor with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Brazilian National Symphony and Capetown Philharmonic. Sutherland was at the first ever Gold Badge Awards and humbly described his award as a ‘small contribution to what we’re celebrating’.
Level 42 front man Mark King has ‘been at the top of his game since the ‘80s’. With worldwide sales of his records reaching 30 million, he was praised for his ‘unique place in the market, underpinned by a fantastic vocal style and bass playing’. Both BASCA and BMI honoured him for an incredible contribution to music. In his acceptance speech King called for more labels to give young artists time to develop their work.
Kim Wilde’s heart-rending acceptance speech was all the more touching for the fact she’s the first child of a Gold Badge winner (her father Marty Wilde, in ‘91) to win one. She talked openly about her enduring love affair with music, since hearing Cilla Black on the radio, and paid tribute to her parents.
Producer, philanthropist, humanitarian – these are just some of the titles given to Peter Gabriel, as well as musician and songwriter. From founding WOMAD in 1980 (to bring world music to a wider audience) to being one of the first in the music business to embrace digital ventures, he continues to support the wider songwriting and composing community. His outstanding contribution to the industry was recognised by both BASCA and PPL.
Gabriel said: “Songwriting is what I’ll do till I drop” and described it as a wonderful art that’s not always acknowledged. He added: “This means a lot to me, I’m very touched.”
Leo Sayer, who started singing as an altar boy in his local church was praised for his ‘unstoppable energy and charisma’ but most of all his ‘magic voice’. Sayer thanked friends and supporters in the room who had helped make his career possible and said he is ‘still motivated’ to create music today.
For more information on this year’s 2015 Gold Badge Award Recipients please visit Gold Badge Awards.