Top Of The Pops’ great lost moment

Indie band denied the last laugh

Art Brut have revealed how they almost came close to causing an upset on the last Top Of The Pops (July 30).

The band who celebrated the UK chart show in their debut single ‘Formed A Band’, have told NME.COM that a fan petition almost got them included in the final edition.

“Apparently there were about six and half thousand fans who signed a petition to try and get us on there,” explained frontman Eddie Argos. “Some kid started it and it just went from there. If we’d have had the chance we definitely would have done it and we’d given it our best shot and had loads of fun. I reckon I’d have thrown some sort of breakdance in there.”


Admitting the show, which was axed after 42 years, was his favourite TV programme, Argos predicted that he won’t have to go without Top Of The Pops for long though.

“It’s gonna come back though I reckon,” declared the singer. “Dr Who disappeared for a while and he came back eventually so I reckon it’ll be back on in four years time.”

So while Art Brut’s great indie moment was lost, here’s NME.COM’s pick of the best moments that did make it:

The Happy Mondays & The Stone Roses appear on the same show (1998)

The baggy breakout as Madchester’s answer to the Beatles and The Stones wreak havoc appearing on the same show. Suddenly flares were a must.

Nirvana trashing their kit (1991)


Forced to mime, Nirvana decided to restore the live element to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by trashing their kit and starting a mini stage invasion in the studio. Watch now.

Oasis swapping instruments (1995)

You’d have thought the show would have learnt about the miming… not “mad for it” Noel and Liam, who swapped jobs for ‘Roll With It’ yet the programme makers fail to notice the Gallaghers’ jape. Watch now.

The Jesus Lizard (1992)

Such was Kurt Cobain’s influence, when he made good on a promise to do a split single with grungers Jesus Lizard, TOTP were forced to book the Chicago band. “It was fun” said singer David Yow, “but Nirvana were the only reason we got on the show.”

Alex James wearing an Oasis t-shirt (1995)

They battled for number one, so how did Blur modestly celebrate beating Oasis? They rubbed it in with bassist Alex James playing his victorious performance wearing their rival’s t-shirt.

Justin Timberlake joins The Flaming Lips (2003)

The hottest pop star on the planet offers to guest with your band? Why not dress up him as a dolphin? Only The Flaming Lips can do this. Watch now.

Pan’s People dance to The Clash (1980)

Like Arctic Monkeys, The Clash refused to go on TOTP – so in pre video days programme makers got in house dancers Pans People to perform a routine to ‘Bank Robber’ in their absence. The best surrealist artists couldn’t beat it for strangeness.

The Smiths (various)

As lovers of all things pop Morrissey and Johnny Marr made their TOTP performances must watch occasions with their full gladiolus swinging, hearing aid wearing pomp. Watch now.

Jarvis Cocker slates Wet Wet Wet (1994)

Their awful cover of ‘Love Is All Around’ was number one for what seemed like ever, so Jarvis Cocker just did what the rest of the nation was thinking: he opened his velvet jacket while performing on the show and revealed a sign saying: “I hate Wet Wet Wet”. Thank you sir.

John Peel’s cheek (various)

Though an often host, the world’s greatest DJ wouldn’t stand for TOTP’s pop rubbish, typified by his follow up to George Michael and Aretha Franklin‘s performance of ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’ when he told viewers: “You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has.”

Manic Street Preachers play in terrorist style balaclavas (1994)

It’s your big break, finally all the people who called you freak at school will see you on TV. Not if you’re the Manics who appeared in terrorist style balaclava masks. Complaints flooded in. Watch now.

Pete Doherty does ‘For Lovers’ alone (2004)

Scoring a number two with his Wolfman collaboration, Doherty put in a touching performance without his collaborator as TOTP apparently feared his appearence might scare small children. Watch now.

New Order perform from the Baywatch set (1993)

Never ones to do the show by halves – their out of tune performance of ‘Thieves Like Us’ was so bad it forced the single down the charts – when New Order couldn’t make it to the studio they performed ‘Regret’ from the Baywatch set. Fortunately the group don’t model the red trunks. Watch now.

Green Day play longest ever song (2005)

Forget an edit, Green Day opted to play the full nine minutes of ‘Jesus Of Suburbia’ on the show. It was so big they played the song outside.

Primal Scream don’t play because of Luton Airport (1995)

Asked to perform on the show Bobby Gillespie said no. Why? To do it the band would have to fly to Luton Airport and they feared if their plane crashed they’d be forever associated with the Bedfordshire town. “It’s not right, is it? It’s not mythical. It’s not legendary,” noted Gillespie.

Agree? Disagree? Have your say at NME.COM/boards/ now.


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