Amy Winehouse shows at Ivor awards


LONDON -- The buzz ahead of Thursday's Ivor Novello Awards ceremony in central London mostly centered on whether Amy Winehouse would show. Well, she did in the end, but not until 10 minutes after her father had graced the stage to collect her one and only trophy.

Winehouse was one of many glittering stars who attended the ceremony, affectionately known as the "Ivors," joining the likes of David Gilmour, Robert Plant, Mika and Phil Collins.

The five-time Grammy-winning singer was nominated three times ahead of the gala, converting a win in the best song musically and lyrically category for "Love Is a Losing Game", published by EMI Music Publishing.

Her father, Mitch, collected the award on her behalf, saying, "Amy couldn't get here. She's getting better, and she sends all her love." He went on to thank a list of contributors behind her award, singling out her manager, noting "Raye (Cosbert), he should be awarded ... is there an equivalent of a Victoria Cross in the music business?"

The singer and Cosbert arrived through a back door during the presentation of the following award, while her father was still backstage being photographed.

One of the biggest honors handed out during the lunchtime gala was the lifetime achievement accolade, received this year by Pink Floyd guitarist and frontman David Gilmour. "Let's hope in 20 or 30 years, Amy Winehouse will get one of these long service gongs, "he told the audience. "(My career) feels like a long, long time," Gilmour told Billboard after wining the prize. "It's very nice to get this award."

Led Zeppelin great Robert Plant was called upon to present the international achievement award to veteran artist Phil Collins, who famously filled in behind the drums when the rock giants played Live Aid in 1985. "Phil is perhaps. over the past 40 years, one of the top five drummers (Britain has) had," he remarked.

Collins, who endures a tough time with the British press, showed his humour hadn't deserted him. "We always get together for a kiss on the lips every 10 years," he said of Plant, before tipping a hat to a well-received Cadbury's chocolate TV campaign, which features a gorilla playing along to Collins' 1981 hit "In the Air Tonight."

"I can't get away without thanking the gorilla," he told the audience, after thanking his band Genesis, his team, and his manager. "It can't have gone unnoticed that he is far more talented and better-looking than me. And I'm going to give him the Genesis job."

The Ivors album award went to Radiohead's "In Rainbows," published in the U.K. by Warner/Chappell Music Publishing. The members of the British alternative rock act were unable to attend because they were having "a reunion with their children, who they haven't seen for months," commented the gala's host, Paul Gambaccini.

Mika grabbed the songwriter of the year trophy. Gabrielle took the award for the outstanding song collection, Soul II Soul founder Jazzy B won the new Ivors inspiration category, and Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, the core duo in British 1970s-80s hitmakers Squeeze, received the PRS outstanding contribution to British music award.

The PRS most performed work honor went to Take That's "Shine," published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing/EMI Music Publishing/Universal Music Publishing/V2 Music Publishing.

The 53rd annual ceremony was presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, in association with the Performing Right Society.

The 15 awards, which celebrate the achievements of the best British composers and musicians from the previous year, are judged either by a panel of BACS members or on sales and broadcast performance.

Songwriting master Diane Warren claimed the special international award during the lunchtime gala. Collins returned to the stage to present Warren with her trophy. "She's a remarkable woman, and she's very shy, which is strange for an American," he joked.

During her acceptance speech, Warren quipped, "Thankfully, this is one of the last awards. You're probably all drunk, and I'm not." Warren could have rectified the situation as Sony ATV publishing hosted a special reception for the songwriter directly after the awards ceremony.