Ivor Novello win for The Villagers

Ivor Novello win for The Villagers

Irish act The Villagers took the prized "Best Song Musically and Lyrically" award for 'Becoming A Jackal' at the esteemed Ivor Novello Awards.

The song failed to even chart when it was released.

The Mercury Prize-nominated act - essentially musician Conor O'Brien - gained wider exposure for the song with an appearance on BBC2's 'Later With Jools Holland' a year ago.

Chart star Plan B was a triple winner today as he was rewarded for his songwriting prowess.

The rapper-turned-soul singer - real name Ben Drew - was named songwriter of the year at the event. His chart-topping release 'The Defamation Of Strickland Banks' was named Best Slbum and his single 'She Said' was the year's Most-performed Track.

Best Contemporary Song was snatched by double Brit-winner Tinie Tempah for his chart-topping single 'Pass Out'. It beat the tracks 'Islands' by The xx and Katy B's 'On A Mission'.

The annual awards - now in their 56th year - are highly prized because they are voted for by songwriters and composers themselves.

Plan B has had huge success since reinventing his music for his second album, released last year.

On top of his music career, he has also branched out into movies, directing his own film 'Ill Manors' and starring in a forthcoming remake of 'The Sweeney' alongside Ray Winstone.

Legendary US composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim - the master of stage musicals - was honoured with the International Award.

The 81-year-old's works include 'West Side Story', 'Sweeney Todd' and his Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Sunday In The Park With George'.

Other winners included rock giants Muse who took the prize for International Achievement at the event staged at London's Grosvenor House.

Dizzee Rascal, who has become a major chart star since winning the Mercury Prize in 2003 at the age of 19 with debut album 'Boy In Da Corner', was given the Inspiration Award.

Stevie Winwood, who first found fame as a teenager in the Spencer Davis Group, was honoured as recipient of the Outstanding Song Collection Prize.

During his extensive career the singer, guitarist and keyboard wizard also had stints with Traffic, Blind Faith and as a solo star, writing hits such as 'Gimme Some Lovin', 'Paper Sun' and 'While You See A Chance'.

His hit 'Valerie' was reworked by Eric Prydz as 'Call On Me' in 2004, making it to number one.

Another honorary prize went to singer Paul Rodgers who has enjoyed fame with Free, Bad Company, The Firm and latterly as Freddie Mercury's replacement in a rebooted Queen.

Rodgers was given a trophy for his outstanding contribution to British Music.

Respected composer Michael Nyman - who has been writing for almost five decades - was given the classical music award.

He is best known for his film scores including collaborations with Peter Greenaway, although his most celebrated work is his haunting theme for the film 'The Piano'.

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