Sunday, July 30, 2006

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BBC Tops Of The Pops History

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Top of the Pops bids fond goodbye

Sir Jimmy Savile opened the show as he did in 1964
Fans have bid farewell to iconic TV music show Top of the Pops which was being broadcast for the last time in its 42-year history.
The one-hour finale was a look-back over the show's four decades featuring memorable archive clips.

Many of the show's former presenters had returned - including Sir Jimmy Savile, Dave Lee Travis and Mike Read.

The BBC decided to axe the show as it could no longer compete with digital 24-hour music channels.

Sir Jimmy opened the show just as he did in 1964, but this time wearing a shiny gold tracksuit.

He was surrounded by his fellow presenters who included Janice Long, Reggie Yates, Edith Bowman, Pat Sharp, Sarah Cawood, Rufus Hound, Mike Read and Tony Blackburn.

"Forty-two years ago I said welcome on the very first Top of the Pops... but it belongs to the world now, they are going to carry the Top of the Pops banner," said Sir Jimmy.

Girl power

The first classic performance came from the Rolling Stones. The black and white clip featured the band singing their hit The Last Time from 1965.

The band were also the first to open the inaugural programme, but then the track was I Wanna Be Your Man. Sir Jimmy told the audience the BBC had lost the tape of the recording.

Audience members got into the spirit of things for the last show

The next classic moment featured the Spice Girls' Top of the Pops debut in 1996 singing Wannabe, taking the audience back to the heady days of girl power and when Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham looked very different.

Also much-changed was a very young and colourfully-dressed Michael Jackson who sang Rockin' Robin along with his brothers in a clip from 1972.

Robbie Williams in the early days of his post-Take That career followed with Let Me Entertain from 1998.

Pat Sharp described Williams as "testosterone on legs" and presenter Edith Bowerman told the audience Williams had appeared on the Top of the Pops more than 100 times.

Other artists featured included David Bowie singing Starman from 1972, Madonna in a shocking pink wig performing Like A Virgin, Wham from 1984 with Wake Me Up Before You Go Go and the more recent Gnarls Barkley with last year's Crazy.

Party mood

Almost 200 people were in the audience for show, which was recorded earlier in the week, to make history as part of the last crowd to take part in Top of the Pops.

Their mood was exuberant despite the sadness of the occasion as they cheered and clapped as each of the classic moments came and went.

"Don't the audience look fantastic and so do we," said Tony Blackburn, referring to the way many of the audience had dressed as their favourite pop stars for the occasion.

The presenters on stage also got into the party mood, cracking jokes at each others' expense just like good mates, again harking back to when Top of the Pops was in its heyday and the presenters - all Radio 1 DJs - seemed to revel in hosting the show every week.

Abba featured in a montage summing up the best of the 1970s

The studio was decorated for the event with many nostalgic elements from the programme's past such as a huge glitter ball and dry ice filled the studio and many of the Top of the Pops logos from across the decades had been brought back.

As well as the individual archive band footage, the show featured montage films capturing the best of the pop decades from the 1960s onwards.

Perhaps the best of these compilations came from the 1970s, the era of the outrageous and flamboyant glam rock and the time when Top of the Pops is considered to have been at the height of its powers.

"In the 70s Top of the Pops glittered," said Pat Sharp. "The show was in colour and the clothes were even more colourful, in fact Top of the Pops became a national institution."

The likes of Slade, Marc Bolan, Abba, Queen, Rod Stewart and The Three Degrees flashed across the scene all sporting the compulsory long hiar and in John's case his trademark oversized glasses.

The music ended with a video of Shakira performing this week's number one song Don't Stop Me Now.

"It's been an amazing show with some amazing performances," said Dave Lee Travis as the show drew to its conclusion.

But the final word went to Sir Jimmy who signed off with the once traditional "Don't forget it's number one, it's still Top of the Pops," as the audience gave one last and final cheer.

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