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Top 10 Wogan music performances

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Legendary UK broadcaster Terry Wogan has died aged 77. The Irishman hosted the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show for 12 years between 1972 and 1984 and his popular TV chat show Wogan ran for three nights a week between 1985 and 1992.

The popularity of this show meant it was a highly regarded slot for music promotion, and crucially, unlike Top Of The Pops, acts could perform on the show (virtually always lip-synching) before their single had entered the UK top 40. Here, SDE presents you some of our favourite Wogan performances over the years…



Tears For Fears / Sowing The Seeds Of Love (1989)

Tears For Fears promote the lead single from their third album The Seeds of Love. Bizarrely, Manchester poet/artist Edward Barton is ‘playing’ guitar (to the right of Roland Orzabal). Songs From The Big Chair producer Chris Hughes is on the drums (unlike Barton he at least actually plays on the recording!).



Kate Bush / Experiment IV (1986)

Kate‘s 1986 single was issued to promote The Whole Story. She had made an impressive, and no doubt expensive, video for Experiment IV, so could have been forgiven for just ‘phoning in’ her performance on Wogan. But the simple, yet effective device of the desk and the white coats works superbly and Kate looks amazing!



Pet Shop Boys / Domino Dancing (1989)

The Pet Shop Boys promote the first single from their mini/remix album Introspective. I used to have one of those Suburbia T-shirts that the performers are sporting (sadly now lost).



Paul McCartney / Figure of Eight & My Brave Face (1989)

Sue Lawley stands in for Terry and Paul McCartney gets a massive slot to promote 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt. A nation groans as she says ‘bring on the dancers’ and the dancers groan as they try to boogie to Figure of Eight.



Lloyd Cole and the Commotions / My Bag (1987)

Despite Lloyd Cole and the Commotions appearing on Wogan to promote their first single from the then forthcoming Mainstream album, it failed to spark any interest and the single stalled at number 46 in the UK charts, which meant no Top of the Pops!



Culture Club / God Thank You Woman (1986)

Move Away had been a top-ten success, but Culture Club‘s follow-up from From Luxury To Heartache was a relative flop. The band called it a day and wouldn’t reunite again for another 12 years.



Prefab Sprout / When Love Breaks Down

Despite the prevalence of this Prefab Sprout track on numerous ‘love’ compilations, it flopped when first released and even the 1985 reissue was just a modest hit, peaking at number 25. Still sounds fantastic though!



Depeche Mode / Stripped (1986)

Depeche Mode‘s first single from their fifth studio album Black Celebration. Stripped peaked at number 15 in the UK but wasn’t issued at all in the US where Sire preferred B-side But Not Tonight.



The Beautiful South / A Little Time (1990)

This 1990 Beautiful South single was a surprise number one, in an era where, apparently, it was still possible to have a big hit by just writing and releasing a really good song. Dave Hemingway and Briana Corrigan handle the vocal duties with aplomb.



Deborah Harry / I Want That Man (1989)

Deborah Harry‘s first single from her third solo album Def, Dumb & Blonde was written by the Thompson Twins’ Alannah Currie and Tom Bailey. Criminally it was the only real single success from that album (reaching number 13 in the UK charts) although French Kissin’ in the USA remains her biggest solo hit in the UK (no. 8, 1986).

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43 responses to Top 10 Wogan music performances

  1. AKICKUPTHE80s says:

    RIP Terry

    I don’t think the show is given enough credit for the music acts that were featured on it

    There was a series on BBC2 Daytime a year or so ago that featured interviews and music performances from the series. I was amazed at some of the acts that performed on the Wogan show but didn’t perform those hits on TOTP. They showed Billy Joel performing “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and Whitney Houston performing “Saving All My Love For You”. I don’t recall TOTP performances of either

    I discovered one of my favourite songs via a Wogan performance… “I Can’t Leave You Alone” by Tracie Young

  2. BritinDetroit says:

    So very sad…A nod to Terry Wogan and how he handled the Georgie Best interview.

  3. gb says:

    love this! wogan was great for music artists.
    my fave culture club song :)

  4. Rob Wilcock says:

    Grace Jones’s “Slave To The Rythm” is unavailable on YouTube. As I recall Terry quipped about how long she’d been in makup, as Grace only revealed her face towards the end of her performance. I will have to console myself watching Kate Bush then…

  5. I’ll always remember this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNeZuB4qjg

    Sparks performing “Change”, complete with quadruple tympani miming for the fairlight solo and Ron Mael’s inimitable ‘dance routine’.

  6. Alan says:

    Kate Bush appeared on Wogan four times in all, between 1985 and 1991. There’s a story that she wasn’t going to appear for Rocket Man in 1991 (as she was supposedly hard at work on The Red Shoes and her mum was ill) but changed her mind when it was announced the programme would be axed the following year. She obviously wanted to work with him one more time!

  7. Dennis says:

    very sad news …
    I’ll throw in a bit of Midge Ure…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dxN8Rphtao

  8. Rib Wilcock says:

    The Grace Jones video on YouTube is not available on my device, but thanks very much for the trouble of foisting the link.

  9. Derek T. says:

    Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill was another standout. Another simple but very, very effective performance.

  10. Steve says:

    I remember watching Agnatha (ABBA) and his interview when he seemed genuinely interested in her (rather than ABBA).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du6aCvW3Z-s

  11. Martin says:

    Can definitely remember The Style Council doing ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WlmHv5RS3A

  12. James says:

    Some great acts would appear on his programme, it really was a teatime staple. Personal highlight for me was when Pet Shop Boys appeared with Liza Minelli for Losing My Mind.

    • Daran says:

      +1. I also remember Chris Lowe storming of stage from behind his keyboard when the song they were performing finished. Terry just calmly said “oh he’s gone already” or something like that. Apparently Chris was miffed that Terry was not interviewing them this time (they had only been on the sofa with Liza a few years earlier). RIP Sir Terry, another piece of my youth gone and this terrible year continues taking yet another great person from us.

  13. David Morgan says:

    Think you forgot Joni Mitchell performing Good Friends with a UK deputy standing in for Muchael McDobald.

  14. Joe Ellis says:

    Sorry, but the THE all time greatest is here…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lIbZyUG1sY

  15. Colin says:

    I remember that DM performance. I was (and still am) a massive fan.

    It still makes me smile to think of such a provocative track performed on the usually wholesome Wogan show at 7pm weekday evenings.
    I can only imagine what the average 50-year-old viewer thought, whilst waiting for an interview with Thora Hird, Mollie Sugden or similar.

    RIP Terry, though. A giant of broadcasting. He will be sorely missed.

  16. Mark R says:

    Duran Duran appeared playing “A View To A Kill” and also sang happy birthday to Simon Le Bon’s father who was in the audience. Unfortunately I cannot find it but here’s another appearance of theirs this time in 1990 promoting “Violence Of Summer”. It didn’t do well but still, not a bad song.

    http://youtu.be/hVlTbdq-vZ0

  17. Tony Dawson-Hill says:

    Thank you Paul for the TW tribute. He will be so sadly missed.

  18. RJSWinchester says:

    I think the PSB performance must be from 1988, not 1989 because Domino Dancing was released in September 1988.

  19. Ian says:

    Anyone who has heard Boo Hewerdine tell the story of his “television trousers” would include this in their top ten.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gSMraA9BaVk

  20. PAC says:

    A fitting tribute.

    I remember one FGTH performance distinctly.. presumbaly one of one, given the channel of broadcast.

    A beautiful chat with Holly before he walked across to join the boys for The Power Of Love. Performed at the very peak of their powers !

  21. JasonC says:

    Great collection & great contributions. It’s worth pointing out, although I’m sure many know, that Wogan came from the BBC Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush, which is now the (O2) Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

  22. JasonC says:

    And RIP Terry.

  23. Foxee says:

    Definitely would plump for the Grace Jones appearance for Slave – I used to have it on a VHS tape for many years, along with her performance of Party Girl on The Tube.

    She looked like a big teapot with a cosy on her head until she whipped it off at the ‘here’s Grace!’ moment. Very memorable.

    Also remember the Agnetha appearance when she was interviewed and performed ‘The Last Time’……..

    Wogan Meets Madonna was also a classic as they obviously hated each other’s guts……

    RIP Tel – thanks for the memories

  24. trash says:

    I’m currently in Paris, working away from home, so the first I heard of this was reading the SDE week in review.

    Loved Terry Wogan (which is probably quite and uncool thing to admit but who cares…). Loved the show and loved his humour and genuine warmth.

    As someone said earlier – can’t believe how much of my youth is being stripped away this year and it’s only the first of Feb.

    RIP Sir Terry!

  25. Dave McGonigle says:

    Amusing to see that the commotions weren’t allowed to sing ‘powder my nose’. Too close to the bone (or septum) for BBC execs at the time…?

  26. Mike the Fish says:

    I first saw/heard what is probably my favourite song on Wogan: “Dignity” by Deacon Blue.

  27. Chucky says:

    The Lloyd Cole + Commotions clip is great. Notice that they had to change the lyric in the first verse from “Excuse me one moment whilst I powder my nose” to “Excuse me one moment whilst I launder my clothes”!

  28. stewart says:

    you seem to have missed out the performance of the superb You Belong In Rock ‘n’ Roll by the (much needed) Tin Machine. check out the suits, the vibrators as used by Reeves Gabrels and the dodgy interview. still a cracking song and performance

  29. adam shaw says:

    Very sad news about our Terry.
    After hes Wogan tv show he went back to presenting his Radio 2 breakfast show until about 2009 and then a sunday afternoon show , so he worked for the BBC for over 30 years .

  30. RJSWinchester says:

    stewart, the Tin Machine appearance is featured on the BBC site today:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/35454033/when-sir-terry-met-david-bowie

  31. Simon says:

    Ruby Turner backing Culture Club there

  32. Gary C says:

    Regarding the guy miming along with Tears for Fears, Fletch from Depeche Mode has managed to get 40 plus years out of doing much the same thing.

  33. Daniel says:

    Thanks for posting this! Being in the US, I never got to see these at the time. Loved them all. The only thing missing was a great Aztec Camera clip (I’m sure there was one on his show). Made me wanna dig out all my old Beautiful South CDs!!

  34. Stevo says:

    Tracy and Terry always made a great couple…

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Q1eUQfNsg

    • Karen says:

      I remember the Tears for Fears one, many years ago, and had a big argument with my brother, saying that was Chris Hughes on the drums. many years later, thanks Paul for finding the video, I knew I was right. Although watching it back, firstly, the camera many focuses on Roland not Curt in the studio, secondly, was Chris on the drums, the way he was acting was, I rather be elsewhere, especially with that hat on, back to front!!!

      I also remember Kate Bush performing Rocket Man on Wogan, I think she did. Someone may correct me, Strumming away on a small guitar.

      Also the many appearances of Bananarama and Kylie

  35. Tracy says:

    You forgot Midge Ure!!!!!!!

  36. Chris Squires says:

    I will gladly take any excuse to get the Lovely Catherine on the front page. As someone has also said the “Monks” version of running up that Hill was gloriously played out. The images and the music blended perfectly.

    Sad to see old Tel go, as his only listener I will miss him.

    January was a very bad month for British icons.

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