The Age

Good Neighbors As Kylie Crowns A New Pop Princess

Author: Patrick Donovan

Former Neighbours actor Natalie Imbruglia dominated last night’s ARIA Australian Music Awards, collecting six awards, including best single, best female artist and best new talent.

Imbruglia, whose first album, Left of the Middle, has sold five million copies worldwide, thanked the media, her fans and her family as she collected her first award. “This is brilliant,” she said.

The 23-year-old from the New South Wales central coast was presented with two of her prizes by fellow Ramsay Street graduate, Kylie Minogue, who went home empty-handed despite earning four nominations for her album Impossible Princess.

Minogue spoke generously of her rival’s award-winning single. “I think Torn is one of the best songs that’s been around for ages. It still comes on the radio and I still sing along, so yeah, it’s fantastic,” she said.

Brisbane three-piece band Regurgitator were also big winners. Having revived 1980s pop and combined It with 1990s satire on the album Unit, they received five awards, including best album and best cover art work.

The Whitlams, whose album Eternal Nightcap has made them Australia’s highest-selling Independent band, won the song of the year award for their Infectious ballad No Aphrodisiac, and the best group.

The band’s inspiration, former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, got the biggest reception of the night when he was introduced as the godfather of soul. As he presented the best group award to the Sydney group, the former PM declared: “It’s my family!” Melbourne singer-songwriter Paul Kelly was named best male artist for the second year running, while Aboriginal singer Archle Roach had a phenomenal night. His album Looking for Butter Boy took out awards for best indigenous release and best adult contemporary release.

Adelaide’s The Superjesus, who won the best new talent award last year, took out a new category award, best rock release.

The Angels and The Masters Apprentices were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and Savage Garden, who won 10 prizes last year, received a special achievement award for selling eight million copies of their self-titled album.

Imbruglia and The Mavis’s performed two of the best single nominations, Torn and Cry but the performance of the night came from the Whitlams with their cover version of the Skyhooks classic Women in Uniform.

Rockabilly-punk trio The Living End had two reasons to celebrate their self- titled first album made its debut at number one this week, and its anthemic single, Prisoner of Society won the award for best-selling single.

Singer Chris Cheney said the award proved that young bands could achieve success without a big budget. “It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a big killer production or a million-dollar marketing campaign. If the kids like it they will buy it and it’s just good it’s so popular.”

Mr Whitlam wasn’t the only prominent political presenter at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre last night. The Democrats’ Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja did the honors in the Independent release category. Julian Lennon and actor Alex Dimitriades were also recruited as presenters.