Take That voted best, worst and most tragic

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The Independent Online
Take That swept the board at yesterday's Smash Hits Poll Winners Party scooping the best group in the world award for the fourth year running.

The band shrugged off the shock departure of member Robbie Williams earlier this year to win eight of the honours awarded on the vote of readers of the teenage magazine.

Only in the best indie band category did the music dubbed Britpop make a showing - Blur took the top award, trouncing arch-rivals Oasis into second place.

Take That were acclaimed as best British group and for best album and best video, but were also, bizarrely, named worst group. Band member Howard Donald, who sports distinctive dreadlocks, received the award for "most tragic haircut".

At a star-studded party at the London Arena yesterday, thousands of young girls greeted them with screams which turned to laughter when Take That member, Mark Owen, collected his awards for most fanciable male, best haircut and best dressed person in a gold lame ballgown and long blond wig.

The band's songwriter, Gary Barlow, said they cherished the Smash Hits awards "more than ever". He said: "We really needed the support, and we love and thank the Take That fans for voting for us."

Fans took revenge on defector Robbie Williams by voting him the saddest loser of 1995.

To the delight of the audience, the remaining members performed "Want You Back" and "Never Forget", named first and second best single respectively in the readers' poll.

In one of the top pop bills of the year, bands taking to the stage to a rapturous reception included Pulp, Eternal, Shaggy, Robson and Jerome, and Radiohead.

Other poll winners included Michael Jackson who set aside the controversy which has dogged him in the last few years to take the best male solo singer title while also winning the worst singer award. A relative newcomer, Mariah Carey, won best female solo singer.

In the awards, which stretched beyond pop and rock to embrace film and television, Tom Hanks and the star of While You Were Sleeping, Sandra Bullock, were named best film actor and actress.

But Sharon Stone was voted worst film actress despite her recent acclaim as a highpoint of culture in France.