Specials star recognised at Ivors

Bicester Advertiser: Specials star Jerry Dammers has been hailed at the Ivor Novello awards Specials star Jerry Dammers has been hailed at the Ivor Novello awards

Specials songwriter Jerry Dammers h as been named a music industry inspiration three decades after his song, Nelson Mandela, stormed the charts calling for the release of the anti-apartheid campaigner.

Dammers, who scored a top 10 hit with the track performed by Special AKA, picked up the inspiration award at the 59th Ivor Novello Awards.

The song became an anti-apartheid anthem and Mr Mandela, who died in December, was eventually released in 1990.

The annual awards, known as The Ivors, are presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca) and are highly prized because they are voted for by songwriters and composers.

Other winners include Passenger, whose song Let Her Go was named most performed work, and James Blake, who followed last year's Mercury Award win with a triumph for his track Retrograde, which won the best contemporary song category.

Veteran guitarist Jeff Beck, whose career includes stints with The Yardbirds and working with Stevie Wonder, was presented with the award for o utstanding contribution to British music.

There was a lifetime achievement award for Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie, while Strong by trio London Grammar was named b est song musically and lyrically.

Mumford & Sons picked up the award for international achievement, while Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' Push The Sky Away won the album award.

Dance duo The Chemical Brothers won the o utstanding song collection award and Chic's Nile Rodgers, who played on Daft Punk's Get Lucky, won the special international award.

Basca chairman Simon Darlow said: " Basca is delighted that in their 59th year The Ivors continue to recognise the best young and emerging talent that the UK has to offer whilst celebrating the enduring catalogues of some of our outstanding songwriters and composers. I congratulate everyone who has received an Ivor Novello Award today."

The ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane was hosted for the 27th year by DJ Paul Gambaccini.

Dammers was presented with his award by former Clash frontman Mick Jones, who described him as "the Tsar of Ska".

Dammers revealed that he had almost missed the ceremony because his mother is ill, and dedicated his win to her.

Speaking backstage, the Ghost Town songwriter said he thought the idea of protest music was still thriving.

"I don't think protest music necessarily has to have lyrics even," he said. "Y ou can have instrumental protest music, you know - jungle, dub-step, all of those are kind of abstract but still protest music like jazz was before."

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