Natasha Bedingfield was one of the big winners tonight at the BMI London Awards, where she took out a string of honors including the prestigious Robert S. Musel Award, recognizing the most performed work of the year, for her 2004 song "Unwritten."
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd, "Unwritten", which the British singer co-penned with Danielle Brisebois, was the title track to Bedingfield's platinum-selling Sony BMG debut album release. EMI Music Publishing U.K. managing director Guy Moot was on hand to collect the victory spoils.
The annual Awards recognize the most played songs on U.S. radio and television in the past year written by European songwriter and publisher members of its overseas sister societies.
In one of the highlights of the night, Peter Gabriel was recognized as a BMI Icon for his "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers." Gabriel co-founded prog-rockers Genesis and went on to have a stellar solo career with such hits as "Sledgehammer," "Big Time" and "Games Without Frontiers." In 1987, he established the Real World companies, which specialize in world music.
Gabriel joins an elite list of previous BMI Icon winners, which includes Ray Davies, Steve Winwood, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana, Charlie Daniels, James Brown and Dolly Parton.
Meanwhile, U.K. chart-topper "Crazy," performed by Gnarls Barkley and co-written by Cee-Lo Green, GianFranco Reverberi and GianPiero Reverberi, received BMI's College Song of the Year trophy in recognition of the most performances on American college radio. The track is published by Universal Music Publishing Ricordi srl and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Ltd.
Multiple-winner James Blunt's smash "You're Beautiful" grabbed the Internet award, for achieving the most hits on BMI-licensed Web sites. The track is co-penned by Blunt, Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek (all PRS), and published by Bucks Music Group Ltd. and EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
British "cartoon" band Gorillaz scored BMI's dance award for their international hit "Dare," which featured Happy Mondays and Black Grape frontman Shaun Ryder on vocals. "Dare" was co-written by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and comic artist Jamie Hewlett, and published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Among other honors, "Million-Air" certificates, which recognize songs that have had three million performances on U.S. radio or television, were handed out to numerous writers and publishers.
At the top of the list with a nine-million performance award was the Police's 1983 hit "Every Breath You Take," written by frontman Sting and published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd. and GM Sumner. Sting was also feted with a five-million performance honor for the trio's 1981 track "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."
Other multiple award-winners on the evening included KT Tunstall, Pete Townshend, Snow Patrol member Gary Lightbody and Kraftwerk's Karl Bartos.
Attendees included a-ha's Magne Furuholmen and Morten Harket, Ace of Base's Jenny Berggren, and HIM's Ville Valo.