Belfast Telegraph

Winehouse wins best album prize at Q Awards

By Arifa Akbar

Amy Winehouse can for once look forward to positive headlines today after collecting one of Britain's most prestigious music awards.

Winehouse, 24, last night beat an otherwise all-male shortlist comprised of Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Manic Street Preachers to win the best album prize at the Q Awards. She adds the latest prize, for her album Back to Black, to her clutch of recent accolades including an Ivor Novello, a Brit award and a Mobo prize.

The awards have been earned amid reports of a gruelling battle against her addictions, a string of cancelled performances and reports of off-stage dramas.

In September, there were rumours of "burn out" as Winehouse fled to the Caribbean with her husband. Only days later, she won praise for an impeccable performance at the Mercury Awards ceremony, for which she was nominated.

Images in the popular press of Winehouse and her husband looking bloody and battered on the streets of London, the singer's face apparently covered in scratches, then drove her parents to speak out. Her husband's parents also took the extraordinary step of speaking on live radio in what they described as a "last-ditch" plea for the couple to seek help. Yet more speculation of the state of her health was raised when she stumbled on stage at the Mobo awards ceremony last month.

Winehouse was not at the Q Awards ceremony to collect her prize yesterday.

Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue was honoured as a "Q Idol", as Sir Paul McCartney won the title of "Q Icon". Minogue's win was greeted with a standing ovation, who is working on her first album since winning her battle against breast cancer, said: "I would like to thank those of you who continue to support me – including my dress."

Sir Paul also received a cheer as he paid tribute to his late wife, Linda. "I thank Linda for seeing me through some real tough periods," he said, while also thanking his former Beatles band-mates and his "fantastic, beautiful" children.

Other winners included the singer-songwriter Kate Nash, who scooped the title of best breakthrough artist. Nash recently became the latest MySpace sensation when her single, "Foundations", reached number two in the British charts with virtually no preliminary airplay from the major radio stations.

The Sheffield group Arctic Monkeys was named best band in the world, while The Verve, who reformed for a winter tour after eight years apart, won the award for best classic album for their 1997 release, Urban Hymns.

The Q Legend award went to Ian Brown, who found fame in the heyday of the Manchester music scene, while Anthony Wilson, the founder of the legendary Hacienda nightclub in the same city, was honoured posthumously with the Q Hero award. He died of cancer in August, aged 57. It was accepted by his children, Oliver and Isobel.

Paul Rees, the editor of Q Magazine, which organises the annual prize, said: "At a time when the digital revolution has prompted many to predict the demise of the music business itself, this year the awards demonstrate that great music and outstanding artists will continue to flourish and inspire, no matter how or where people choose to listen to them."

The winners

* Best New Act: The Enemy

* Best Track: Manic Street Preachers, "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough"

* Breakthrough Artist: Kate Nash

* Best Video: Kaiser Chiefs, "Ruby"

* Q Classic Song: Stereophonics, "Local Boy In The Photograph"

* Q Classic Album: The Verve, Urban Hymns

* Q Innovation In Sound: Sigur Ros

* Q Merit Award: Ryan Adams

* Q Hero: Anthony Wilson

* Q Lifetime Achievement: Johnny Marr

* Best Album: Amy Winehouse, Back To Black

* Best Live Act: Muse

* Q Legend: Ian Brown

* Q Classic Songwriter: Billy Bragg

* Q Inspiration Award: Damon Albarn

* Best Act In The World Today: Arctic Monkeys

* Q Idol: Kylie Minogue

* Q Icon: Sir Paul McCartney

Belfast Telegraph


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