Novello awards for Robbie Williams

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ROBBIE WILLIAMS, the pop star who fought off the traditional demons of drugs and drink to make a remarkable comeback with chart-topping albums, was lauded yesterday for his songwriting.

At the prestigious Ivor Novello Awards he took the prize for Most Played Song and for Songwriter of the Year (both shared with co-writer Guy Chambers) to go with the three Brit Awards he won in February.

But the biggest tally of prizes went to the six British songwriters who penned the worldwide hit "Believe" for the US superstar Cher. They won Best Song Musically and Lyrically, and two awards for sales - International Hit of the Year and Best Selling UK Single.

The other top songwriting title went to Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin of The Sundays, who were not present at the London ceremony in the Grosvenor House hotel, for their song "Here's Where The Story Ends". The song was covered and became a hit for Tin Tin Out last year.

Other winners included Rod Stewart, who picked up a Lifetime Achievement trophy, and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, who was rewarded for her Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

Williams has been craving recognition for his songwriting talents since his solo career took off at the start of last year the song "Angels", a track that won the Most Performed Work title.

As he picked up the Songwriter of the Year Award he told guests: "Unaccustomed as I am to gloating in public I'll try my best. I am overwhelmed. I've just been sitting here and watching everybody come up and get their awards and it's just hit me how big it is.

"When I first went solo I said I wanted to be up there with George Michael and Oasis and sell as many records as them. People laughed at me."

The star, who scored his first number one last September with "Millennium", said backstage: "I get a bit dumbfounded at awards like this. They're a bit overpowering. I'm often accused of being arrogant but it's just because I'm scared. I've won something for doing good, for doing a good thing."