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Edison award 1961
|Awarded for||Outstanding achievements in the music industry|
The first Edisons — named after the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Alva Edison — were awarded in October 1960 at the inaugural Grand Gala du Disque, held at the Kurhaus hall in the coastal resort of Scheveningen. The broadcast, which was a joint venture of TV broadcaster AVRO and the Netherlands' major record companies, featured dozens of acts and went on for hours. In the years that followed, the Grand Gala du Disque became an annual event with legendary status. The 1963 event, which overran by almost two hours, saw Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Vaughan and Charles Aznavour accepting an Edison.
Each year, Edisons were awarded in two main categories: International artists and domestic (Dutch) artists, in various musical styles such as pop, vocal, jazz, instrumental, children and (in the early years) a separate award for French-language music.
Through the years, the format for the Edison ceremony has changed several times. The grand old style of the Grand Gala du Disque was deemed old fashioned by the end of the 1960s, as the emphasis in the music business shifted from classical/vocal music to pop and rock. The Grand Galas in the early 1970s featured more pop/rock artists in a more informal setting (although most of them still accompanied by an orchestra).
The final Grand Gala du Disque was televised in 1974, after which the awards ceremonies became a much more intimate affair. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the ceremonies were not even televised. During the 1980s, several attempts were made to revive the old Grand Gala format (or a format similar to that of the Oscar and Grammy Award ceremonies), but due to lack of interest from record companies, artists, the media and broadcasters, none of these initiatives proved successful and long-lasting. The 2011 ceremony, held on 2 October and which featured eight categories, was not televised.
The award itself has also gone through many changes. In the 1960s and early 1970s grew to a (then) record number of 24 categories in 1969. In later years, the number of awards was inconsistent and several categories did not last longer than a couple of years. From 1974–1976 no Edisons were awarded and in 1977 only Dutch artists were awarded a prize.
While the award lost much of its prestige in the 1980s — due to lack of media coverage and interest from record companies — the number of categories continued to grow to a record number of 35 in 1991. The choices became more progressive, as several award winners were virtually unknown to the general public. In 1991, for instance, no awards were given to best selling and critically lauded albums like Nirvana's Nevermind or U2's Achtung Baby, but instead lesser known artists like The Riverdogs, Michael Lee Firkins, rapper Paris and instrumentalist Jean Marc Zelwer got the prizes.
By the end of the 1990s, the Edison experienced another overhaul, as the prize was split into the Edison Pop and Edison Jazz/World awards (there had always been a separate Edison Classical Award ceremony). It also began to focus more on Dutch artists and a number of new categories were introduced, such as 'Best album', 'Best video', 'Best single' and 'Best newcomer'. Each year also featured one or two awards which were directly voted for by the television audiences.
Interest in the Edison has gone up in recent years, although no awards were given in 2006 and 2007. These days, the award is focused on Dutch product only, with several categories such as 'Best male artist', 'Best female artist', 'Best newcomer', 'Best theatre/vocal artist', etc. There is also an annual lifetime achievement award for an artist with a distinguished career.
From 1960 to 2011, over 750 Edison awards have been handed out. The list of artists with most Edison wins is dominated by Dutch artists with relatively young careers. This is mainly because from the late 1990s, it has become much easier to win multiple awards in one year, which in the early days of the award was virtually impossible.
Most wins for international artists
Miles Davis, Beach Boys, Charles Aznavour, Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton, Bob James, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Ry Cooder, Stevie Wonder, U2 and Robbie Williams all had three Edison wins each. (Miles Davis and the Beach Boys were awarded an additional fourth Edison in 1966, but these were later scrapped as the list of winners had been leaked to the press prematurely and no awards were given that year).
The Edison Classical Music Awards (Edison Klassiek) are a collection of awards annually given to the best classical music recordings of the year. Awards are separately given in eleven categories. The award, part of the Edison Award, is issued from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.