Edison Award

The Edison Award is an annual Dutch music prize awarded for outstanding achievements in the music industry. The Edison award itself is a bronze replica of a statuette of Thomas Edison, designed by the Dutch sculptor Pieter d'Hont.[1] It is one of the oldest music awards in the world; first presented in 1960 at the inaugural Grand Gala du Disque.[2]

Edison Award
Edison award 1961
Awarded forOutstanding achievements in the music industry
Presented byNVPI
First awarded1960

Grand Gala du Disque

The Grand Gala du Disque was organized by the Committee for Collective Gramophone Campaigns (CCGC) as a gala where the Edisons would be presented and an event where a variety of national and international artists would perform.[3] The first ceremony took place on October 22, 1960 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.[4] The first gala lasted a total of 7 hours and featured about 50 acts. Five of them received an Edison.[5]

The broadcast, which was a joint venture of TV broadcaster AVRO and the Netherlands' major record companies. The event became the most popular radio and TV show of the year in Holland. The Grand Gala was instrumental in introducing the European market to foreign artist.[3]

In the years that followed, the Grand Gala du Disque became an annual event with legendary status, booking top performers such as The Supremes.[6] There were separate events, the Grand Gala du Disque Classique for classical music, and the Grand Gala du Disque Populaire for popular music.[7]

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 soul. However, the promotional power of the Grand Gala du Disque was evident after the Four Tops appeared in 1968, they subsequently sold 45,000 in album sales.[8] Nancy Wilson, Jimmy Smith, Eugene Cicero, and Vikki Carr were among the performers at the 1968 Grand Gala du Disque Populaire.[9]

The 10th annual Grand Gala du Disque Populaire took place at the RAI Congress Center in Amsterdam on March 7, 1969.[10] The lineup of performers were: Nini Rosso, Peggy March, Chet Atkins, Buck Owens, the Sandpipers, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ike & Tina Turner, Miriam Makeba, the Pentangle, the Moody Blues, Harry Secombe, Rika Zarai, Mireille Mathieu, James Last, Amalia Rodrigues, Martine Bijl, and Ann Burton.[10] 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 Academy Awards 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.


In addition to the Grand Gala du Disque, the Committee for Collective Gramophone Campaigns (CCGC) organized the Edison awards for recordings in various categories.[3] The first Edisons — named after the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Edison — were awarded at the inaugural Grand Gala du Disque.

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. The winners were decided by judges.

The 1963 event, which overran by almost two hours, saw Marlene Dietrich, Sarah Vaughan and Charles Aznavour accepting an Edison. In 1965, the winners included Esther Ofarim, Oliver Nelson, Louis van Dijke, the Beatles and Joan Baez.[6]

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.[2]

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.

Award winners

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.

  • Marco Borsato – 13 wins, from 1995 to 2011, including a lifetime achievement award in 2011 and five wins in the 'Best male artist' category.
  • Anouk – 9 wins, from 1998 to 2011, including three Edisons in her debut year (1998) and five awards in the 'Best female artist' category.[11]
  • Herman van Veen – 8 wins, from 1970 to 2010, including a lifetime achievement award in 2010, two awards in the children's category and four in the 'Best male vocal' category.
  • Bløf – 7 wins, from 2000 to 2009, including five awards for 'Best group'.
  • Ilse DeLange – 6 wins, from 1999 to 2011, including four times as 'Best female artist'.

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).[12]

Edison Pop Oeuvreprijs

Edison Jazz/World Oeuvreprijs

Edison Classical Music Awards

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.





  1. Edison van beeldhouwer D'Hont onder de hamer. rtvutrecht.nl. 21 March 2014
  2. Edisons Archived 2014-03-02 at the Wayback Machine. edisons.nl
  3. Hageman, Bas (March 15, 1969). "Dutch Record Industry Boom Credited to CCGC Promotion" (PDF). Billboard: 62.
  4. Versteeg, Frits (October 3, 1960). "Holland Newsnotes" (PDF). Billboard: 6.
  5. "History". Edisons (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  6. "Top Performers At Edison Awards" (PDF). Billboard: 6. October 16, 1965.
  7. "In Holland: Edison Awards Go to Top Talent" (PDF). Billboard: 48. October 26, 1963.
  8. "Dutch Record Industry" (PDF). Billboard: 66. March 15, 1969.
  9. "From Music Capitals Around The World: Amsterdam" (PDF). Billboard: 53. April 13, 1968.
  10. "Artist Are Listed For Amsterdam Grand Gala" (PDF). Billboard: 62. March 15, 1969.
  11. Anouk. edisons.nl
  12. Dit jaar in het populaire genre geen Edisons. Leeuwarder Courant, 1 June 1966
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