Hits of the Brits

Next week's Brit Awards include a category commemorating the most memorable performance of the show's past 30 years, writes Elisa Bray

The award for the most memorable Brit performance surely goes to Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" in 1996 – if only for Jarvis Cocker's famous stage invasion. "He was pretending to be Jesus", Cocker later told David Dimbleby on Question Time. "I'm not religious but I think, as a performer myself, the idea of someone pretending to have the power of healing is just not right. Rock stars have big enough egos without pretending to be Jesus."

Next week is the 30th Brit Awards ceremony, the biggest date in the British music calendar, and to celebrate the anniversary, a new category has been launched this year – the Most Memorable Brits Performance of 30 Years. Those on the shortlist, as voted by ITV and GMTV viewers, include Pet Shop Boys' "Go West" in 1994, when Neil Tennant opened the ceremony joined on stage by 90 hard hat-wearing Welsh miners, and the Spice Girls' performance of "Wannabe" and "Who Do You Think You Are" in 1997 – most memorable for Geri Halliwell's choice of outfit, her famous Union Jack mini-dress.

Other favourites are Tom Jones and Robbie Williams duetting a medley of hits from The Full Monty in 1998, and Kanye West, who employed 77 female gold-spray-painted dancers for his rendition of "Gold Digger" in 2006. Not forgetting Annie Lennox dominating the Brits in the Eighties and Nineties with her six wins for Best British Female.

But there are some other performances over the three decades that should be remembered as being among the best. In 2006, Prince played a selection of hits, "Te Amo Corazón", "Fury", "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy". Also notorious was Ali G and Shaggy's duet of "It Wasn't Me". Surely, then, there have been enough decent performances to choose between that the new award does not need to be bestowed upon Coldplay for "Clocks".

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