Bowie and Blair band together

When David Bowie was chosen to receive this year's Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, the Labour leader, Tony Blair, was not the most obvious immediate choice to present him with it last night.

But there are similarities: both have fronted unsuccessful rock bands - Bowie's was Tin Machine, in the 1980s; Mr Blair's was a college combo called Ugly Rumours. Both are in their forties and both are great admirers of each other.

Mr Blair and his wife, Cherie, went backstage after one of Bowie's Wembley Arena shows last year. Mr Blair said: "I have always liked David Bowie and it was great to meet him." Bowie was even more gushing: "I really like him a lot - we get on very well. It seemed ironic that a major priority on both our minds was the challenge of how to present new ideas."

According to Mr Blair's office, Bowie personally requested that the Labour leader should present the award. But Bowie's spokeswoman said it had been the idea of the Brit Award organisers, adding that Bowie would be unlikely to return the compliment at a Labour rally. She continued: "Tony and Cherie came backstage to see his last tour and Cherie brought along a couple of album sleeves to be signed, which he readily did."

Bowie last night performed his new single, "Hello Spaceboy" with special guests the Pet Shop Boys at the ceremony. Michael Jackson topped the bill, making his first appearance in Britain since 1992 and his first television appearance anywhere since he collapsed before Christmas and the announcement of his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley. He did not gain a single nomination - the judging academy decided his last album, HIStory, contained too much re-released material.

Teenage heart-throbs Take That said goodbye with a performance of new single, "How Deep Is Your Love", recorded before their split, announced last week.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat