Blur and Oasis in clash for Brits

JOHN McKIE

Established bands missed out against young British groups in nominations announced yesterday for this year's Brit pop awards.

The Rolling Stones, Simply Red and Wet Wet Wet - all of whom released successful albums in 1995 - have not been nominated in the best British band category; the nominees are Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Radiohead and the Lightning Seeds.

David Bowie will, however, win an award for outstanding contribution to British music at the ceremony at Earls Court arena on 19 February. Previous recipients of the award include Van Morrison and Elton John.

There is also an inaugural Freddy Mercury Award for charitable work, named after the late Queen singer who died in 1991.

Blur, who won four Brit awards last year, and rivals Oasis are both nominated five times, with the producers of both bands' last albums also nominated. Not far behind are Pulp and Radiohead, who are nominated for four and three awards respectively.

Oasis are hotly tipped to usurp Blur's success last year and other likely winners include Supergrass for Best New British Act, and Madonna-protegee Alanis Morrissette for Best International Newcomer.

Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was bullish yesterday about his band's chances. He said: "I expect to win every category, even best female artist."

Other notable absentees in the awards are Madonna, Michael Jackson and the best-selling British act of last year, Robson and Jerome.

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