It has entertained generations of young pop fans with performances from such illustrious acts as the Rolling Stones, The Who, Nirvana and Oasis, but last night the BBC confirmed that after 42 years Top of the Pops will finally be laid to rest.
Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, announced the chart show would be broadcast for the last time on 30 July.
In a statement, the BBC admitted that the decision to axe the programme - part of its wide-ranging Creative Review - had not been taken lightly, but said it was failing to deliver in the face of increasing competition from multimedia outlets.
The music show has already suffered a demotion from its heyday, after being shunted from BBC1 to BBC2 last year.
Over the past decade, audience figures have fallen from nearly 7 million to around 1 million. The final show will be episode number 2,204.
Ms Bennett said: "We're very proud of a show which has survived 42 years in the UK and gone on to become a worldwide brand but the time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion. Although we bid a fond farewell to Top of the Pops we remain as passionate as ever about reflecting the vitality of contemporary music across all our channels."
Originally transmitted from a converted church in Manchester, the BBC only commissioned six episodes of Top of the Pops.
It went on to become one of the most successful shows in UK television history - helping to launch the careers of numerous pop stars and presenters.
Jarvis Cocker once commented that he considered himself a failure until he appeared on the show. The Kinks even named one of their songs after the programme.
Jimmy Saville presented the first episode on 1 January 1964, when the Rolling Stones performed on the show, followed by Dusty Springfield and the Dave Clark Five.
In the late Sixties, the show moved to London to make it easier for artists to appear, and a new raft of presenters, including Kenny Everett, joined from their day-jobs at the fledgling Radio 1. Dave Lee Travis, Tony Blackburn, Simon Mayo, Noel Edmonds, Sara Cox and Fearne Cotton have all presented the weekly programme.
Janice Long, the first female presenter, said: "My memories are just feeling so incredibly lucky. For me, the main thing was to be standing there next to the bands you'd worshipped for such a long time.
"Top of the Pops was such an institution. But now there are so many alternatives - computers and music channels. My kids don't think to watch it. It's a shame nevertheless."
The BBC statement said: "The decision to bring the show to an end after 42 years has not been taken lightly and over the past few years every effort has been made to maintain the quality and distinctiveness of the show.
"However, the BBC's Creative Review Music Strategy has concluded that in a rapidly changing musical landscape Top of the Pops no longer occupies the central role it once did."
The show recently received a further blow when the audience had to be filled with staff, after it emerged that the BBC had failed to comply with the new licensing regulations for live music.
End of an era
* Top of the Pops proved to critics it was not just a haven for anodyne tunes when Jimi Hendrix performed in 1967. Only instead of Purple Haze, Hendrix was seen miming to an Alan Price song that was inadvertently played.
* April 1968 saw the inclusion of a studio dance group, Pan's People, who were replaced eight years later by Legs & Co, who danced to tunes when the artist was not available. They would often only have a few hours prior to the show to choreograph their moves, but it was Pan's People's scanty clothing that led to objections from Mary Whitehouse.
* 1978: The Boomtown Rats, the first of the New Wave bands to appear on Top of the Pops, were so pleased with their achievement of knocking the Grease duo John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John from the number-one spot they tore up pictures of Travolta during their performance of Rat Trap.
* One of Morrissey's first appearances was on the show in 1983, performing This Charming Man with The Smiths. The gladioli he waved around in homage to his hero Oscar Wilde left presenters bemused.
* The 1980s saw John Peel presenting with Kid (David) Jensen. Peel's descriptions of artists were at times more memorable than the songs themselves, describing David Grant as a "fire hazard" and after Haysi Fantayzee performed John Wayne is Big Leggy, he observed: "They're so good doesn't it make you want to spit."
The title comes from E M Forster, but more pertinently refers back to The Divine Comedy's debut album Fanfare for the Comic Muse, released back in 1990, when the band was still a band, rather than just a vehicle for Neil Hannon. This ninth outing features the by-now-familiar studies of characters such as "A Lady of a Certain Age", a lonely jet-set demi-monde habituée looking back on her life. Set to sombre acoustic guitar and strings, it has a relaxed, Mediterranean elegance redolent of some Côte d'Azur Promenade des Anglais, as madame sails into her dotage, hoping for a fleeting glance from some young buck.
It's a sad, sympathetic portrait of faded glamour, an allowance not afforded the brittle lustre of more modern glamour in "Diva Lady", a caustic depiction of a wafer-thin celebrity that's rather less witty than one expects from Hannon, and musically drab too. Better is "To Die a Virgin", in which the musings of a sex-obsessed adolescent youth are brought to life with all the swaggering erotic bathos appropriate to his accidental tumescence. "You don't know how much I need you/The Handy Andies I've been through," sings Hannon, while the music envelops the character with a warm bluster that's like the musical equivalent of Oliver Hardy, flustered but affectionate.
At his best, Hannon tackles complex issues with a deceptively slight but charming manner, as in "The Plough". Employing a light, pop-operatic style reminiscent of David Ackles, his initial target - a social climber on the make - becomes merely the vehicle for a theological discussion regarding the dubious value of a monotheism in which one's god spitefully ignores adherents of all other faiths. It's an issue which strikes at the nub of our current spiritual malaise, but Hannon manages to smuggle it in under a sly pretext, waltzing us deftly from social archetype to social comment.
Gemma Hayes brings it all back home with a concert in The Village, showcasing songs from her new album, The Roads Don't Love You with support coming from Choice Music Prize nominee, Joe Chester.
Gemma Hayes rose up through the ranks of the Dublin music scene in the late '90s, introducing her well-crafted songs and engaging stage presence with spell-binding performances in The International Bar and Whelans.
Word got out and soon Hayes was being courted by a number of record companies and decided to sign to France's Source label. Critics sat up for Hayes' first release, the five track EP, 4.35am and musicians of the calibre of David Gray and Mark Eitzel asked her to tour with them.
Enlisting the talents of Mercury Rev's producer, Dave Fridmann, Hayes began recording live favourites like "I Let A Good Thing Go", "Work To A Calm" and "Lucky Haze" for her debut album, Night On My Side.
After receiving rave reviews and touring her album around the world, Hayes settled down to write her second album. But she found it very difficult and decided to decamp to the splendid isolation of Ventry in Kerry to cure her writer's block. Hayes gradually began to piece her new album together but then she had to find musicians and a recording set up, so she moved to LA.
In LA, Hayes tracked down guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, bassist Cedric LeMoyne, keyboard player, Roger Manning Jr. and drummer, Joey Waronker to help her record her new album. When she found out Waronker had co-produced one of her favourite albums Lisa Germano's Lullaby For L Liquid Pig Album, she asked him to take over production duties for The Roads Don't Love You.
Returning to the capitol with a new, brasher West Coast sound, this concert in The Village on the 6th of July is an excellent opportunity to hear Hayes' new songs.
It may be 10 years since The Divine Comedy's ground-breaking Casanova, but sex is still a favourite topic for Neil Hannon. On the cusp of his new album release, Jane Graham talks dirty with the Enniskillen native
Talking to Neil Hannon, the man known collectively as The Divine Comedy, is rather good fun. The Enniskillen-born son of a Church of Ireland bishop has, on the one hand, always seemed rather too literary and self-aware for the pop industry, surveying his chosen environment like a lofty Oscar Wilde glancing amusedly over the huddled masses.
On the other hand, he's always up for a good old chat about sex, parties and premieres.
The Divine Comedy's eagerly awaited new and ninth album, Victory for the Comic Muse (see our review on page 10), opens with the tale of an adolescent boy feverishly investigating his older brother's porn collection 'under the covers', before his girlfriend comes round and rewards him with the birthday present she's long promised - the loss of his virginity.
Surely, as a happily settled husband and the father of a four-year-old daughter, Hannon can't still be obsessed with sex - can he?
"Oh yes," he confirms, good-naturedly. "It's a daily preoccupation. I wish it wasn't - it takes up lots of time, stops me getting on with practical things. But its not my fault, it's the way I'm made."
Hannon's interest in sex and the sexes has long been documented (the title of Divine Comedy's breakthrough 1996 album, Casanova, being an early give-away). But really, I chastise, shouldn't the responsible father be over all that randy lustiness by now?
"Actually," he cleverly rationalises, "I'm really doing teenage girls a favour, telling them the way things are. Because the truth is, no matter how interesting your conversation is, he's just thinking about sex."
Ash have revealed some details about their upcoming album.
The record is still very much a work in progress, but the band apparently have 27 songs which they are working on.
Lead singer Tim Wheeler wrote on the band's official website: "They're all arranged and sounding good as a band. I've still got to write most of my lyrics, though. I always write the melody and the music to begin with. At this point we've got a blank page and it feels like we can do anything with it. We're all pretty excited about it."
The group is currently working on the new material in New York.
Ash’s drummer Rick McMurray is refusing to move with the rest of the band.
Bandmates Tim Wheeler and Mark Hamilton are currently living in New York after moving last summer to record their new album.
However, McMurray is refusing to move from his home in Scotland. Wheeler explains: “We relocated here last summer, I'm loving it, but Rick is still in Scotland, he flies back and forth whenever we need him."
Legendary Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher played the renowned Montreux Festival on five occasions, spanning his breakthrough years in the mid-seventies right up to the year before his tragic early death at the age of 47 in 1995. This double DVD brings together material from all five shows to create the definitive Rory Gallagher live collection. Disc one features tracks from 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1985, while disc two has the whole concert from 1994 and bonus acoustic tracks from the earlier years.
Snow Patrol have been forced to postpone two dates on their current US tour because singer Gary Lightbody is struggling with his voice and has been advised to rest.
According to a posting on the band's official website, Snow Patrol will have to reschedule two of their concerts, due to take place this week.
Lightbody said in the message: "The reason for this is my voice is in pieces. You may have seen us on 'Good Morning America' this morning and if you did you'll be aware I barely scraped through it and that was only one song."
"Unfortunately now I can barely hit any notes. My entire upper range has disappeared into a whisper," the singer said.
Lightbody said that he was due to see a specialist in New York tomorrow and may also seek help from a vocal coach in order to get his voice back to full strength.
"I am so sorry for this to all of you who have bought tickets especially those of you who have travelled long distances to these shows," he said.