The iconic and influential singer died on January 10th last year, and while the BRITs paid tribute to him at the 2016 ceremony, it was the 2017 edition in which Bowie was posthumously nominated for his final works.
“He's always been there supporting people who think they're a little bit weird or a little bit strange. He's ways been there for them. This award is for all the kooks and all the people who make the kooks,” said Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, collecting the best album prize.
David Bowie won posthumously at the 2017 BRIT Awards
“If David Bowie could be here tonight, he probably wouldn't be here tonight,” joked actor Michael C. Hall, who starred in the musical Lazarus, collecting Bowie’s other prize. “I'm honoured to stand here before you and acknowledge the potency of his work and acknowledge his kindness and generosity and enthusiasm which inspires me to be better man.”
As well as honouring Bowie, there was also an understated tribute to George Michael, who died on Christmas Day. Coldplay’s Chris Martin sang ‘A Different Corner’, duetting with a projected recording of Michael’s voice.
North London singer Rag’n’Bone Man was the night’s other big winner, taking home the previously announced Critics’ Choice Award and the Best British Breakthrough Act. With his debut album Human currently atop the British charts, it’s set to be a stellar 2017 for the singer, whose real name is Rory Graham.
Other winners on the night were Emeli Sande for Best British Female; The 1975 for Best British Group; Little Mix’s ‘Shout Out To My Ex’ that scooped Best British Single, and One Direction’s ‘History’ that won the public vote for British Artist Video.
Drake, Beyonce and A Tribe Called Quest won the International Male, Female and Group categories respectively in a disappointing ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ section dedicated to them. Adele and Robbie Williams won the Global Success Award and British Icon prizes.
For all the much-vaunted diversity of this year’s nominations, grime artists ultimately went home empty-handed, although fans of the scene got to see Skepta perform a blazing ‘Shutdown’ and Stormzy perform alongside Ed Sheeran.