Terry Wogan’s Top Five Interviews With Musicians, From David Bowie To Paul McCartney

The beloved TV host Terry Wogan has died at the age of 77. Known not just as a Radio 2 DJ and the host of Children In Need and The Eurovision Song Contest (a role he handed over to Graham Norton in more recent years), the Irishman also hosted the popular weeknight chat show Wogan for 10 years on the BBC. While an honourable mention must go to his legendary chat with an erratic Nicholas Cage – who performed martial arts moves and removed his clothes – the presenter also had a neat line in musician interviews, the top five of which we’ve compiled below.

When He Met David Bowie And Tin Machine

Ach, this is a toughie to watch now: the late David Bowie, wearing a gaudy lime green suit that he somehow manages to make look cool, shows off his Tin Machine project. He was attempting to step away from superstar status and become just a bloke in a band (as if!), on an equal footing with his fellow members of Tin Machine, but – despite his best efforts – he’s still very much the centre of attention in this clip (which is not awkward, despite the name of the YouTube video). Also, look at the warm handshake he and Wogan exchange at the end. Gents, both of ’em.


When He Quizzed Madonna On Her Constant Reinvention

Speaking of musical shape-shifters, what about the time he sat weirdly far apart from Madonna (his aftershave wasn’t that bad, surely?). It’s 1991 and Her Madjesty, post-Like A Prayer, reveals that each reinvention focuses on a “different aspect” of her personality, comparing herself to Robert De Niro and saying it’s like acting. Interestingly, Bowie said similar things of his own musical personas. She also says: “I never want to be taken completely seriously. I think that’s the death of you.” So maybe it wasn’t an accident that she fell arse over tit at the Brits last year.


When Elton John Scooped Him Up Off The Stage

Someone else who could style out an accidental stage dive: Terry Wogan. The opening seconds of this 1985 clip see him slide down a step, landing at Elton John’s feet. “I’m glad I rehearsed that!” he quips. The interview is perhaps now most interesting for its focus on John’s then-recent marriage to female recording engineer Renate Blauel. They divorced just four years later and in 1992 the singer told Rolling Stone he had become comfortable with being identified as gay.


When He Warned Kylie Minogue Against Pop Stardom

Kylie was going through a period of transition in 1988. She had quit Neighbours and, though her episodes were still being broadcast in the UK because they were shown later here than in Australia, was launching herself as a proper pop star. Before she performed her version of ‘The Loco-motion’, though, concerned Uncle Terry took her aside for some kindly career advice: “Do you think maybe if you give up Neighbours you’ll slip away from us a bit?” Readers, that concern proved unfounded, but it’s nice to see he cared.

When He Got Paul McCartney To Admit Love Is Not All You Need

“All you need is love,” The Beatles sang. Well, no, because I can’t pay this leccy bill with love alone, can I? Paul conceded as much when he told Wogan: “Originally, not having any money, we used to write a song and say, y’know: ‘There’s a swimming pool’.” Wogan interviewed individual members of the Beatles plenty of times over the years, with a curmudgeonly George Harrison once grumbling: “[Ringo and I] were the economy class Beatles.