Top of the Pops was the most iconic music chart programme on British TV. It was made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly from 1 January 1964 to 30 July 2006.
It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening and each weekly programme consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week's singles chart.
Additionally, every year there was a special edition of the programme on Christmas Day featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year.
The first show was presented by cigar-chomping DJ Jimmy Saville, and the first edition featured such greats as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and the Hollies. Although the early shows were live, the acts actually mimed to their songs, and in most cases had to re-record the backing track with session musicians because of Musician’s Union rules.
It was in the 70’s, and especially the glam rock period, that the show came into its own. The advent of colour TV was made for the costumes and make up of the glam artists. The world outside may have been jobless, on strike or on the breadline but the ‘glamsters’ did their best to brighten up the nation on TOTP.
There are only four episodes left from the 1960s and it was not until 1977 that the BBC began to keep the show in its archives. So there is very little evidence of Top of the Pops from its colourful heyday, although a variety of clips can be found online on sites such as ‘You Tube’.
The most famous of the many theme tunes the show had was a version of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" based on the C. C. S. release, but using session musicians. This was used as the show's theme tune for most of the period from 1972 to 1981, and again from May 1998 to November 2003.