Flamboyant British rockers The Darkness were named songwriters of the year Thursday at the 49th annual Ivor Novello Awards for British composers. The four band members with a taste for skintight catsuits, big hair, and guitar solos crowned a breakthrough year when they accepted their Ivor award at a London ceremony. Their debut album Permission to Land has sold well over 1 million copies in Britain and went gold in the United States in February. Singer Dido was among the other winners, picking up the international hit of the year award for "White Flag," from her second album Life for Rent.
Will Young, the out winner of the U.K.'s 2002 Pop Idol competition, picked up the best song award for his British number 1 "Leave Right Now." Rising star Amy Winehouse won the best contemporary song award with "Stronger Than Me," her jazzy debut single about having a passive boyfriend. Moody quartet Radiohead picked up an international achievement award, while Motown legends Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland were given a special prize. Composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett won the classical music award. The event was staged by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters in association with the Performing Rights Society, a body that manages music royalties.
The Ivor Novello awards take their name from the gay Welsh actor, composer, and playwright who was one of Britain's biggest stage and screen stars in the early part of the last century.