Top of the Pops

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Top of the Pops (TOTP) is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. Top of the Pops was the world's longest running weekly music show. For most of its history, it was broadcast on Thursday evenings on BBC One. Each weekly show consisted of performances from some of that week's best-selling popular music records, usually excluding any tracks moving down the chart, including a rundown of that week's singles chart. This was originally the Top 20, though this varied throughout the show's history. The Official Charts Company states "performing on the show was considered an honour, and it pulled in just about every major player."[3]

Dusty Springfield’s "I Only Want to Be with You" was the first song performed on TOTP, while The Rolling Stones were the first band to perform with "I Wanna Be Your Man".[4] Snow Patrol were the last act to play live on the weekly show when they performed their single "Chasing Cars".[5] In addition to the weekly show there was a special edition of TOTP on Christmas Day (and usually, until 1984, a second edition a few days after Christmas), featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year and the Christmas Number 1. Although the weekly show was cancelled in 2006,[6] the Christmas special has continued. End-of-year round-up editions have also been broadcast on BBC1 on or around New Year's Eve, albeit largely featuring the same acts and tracks as the Christmas Day shows.[7][8][9] It also survives as Top of the Pops 2, which began in 1994 and features vintage performances from the Top of the Pops archives. Though TOTP2 ceased producing new episodes since 2017, repeats of older episodes are still shown.

The show has seen seminal performances over its history. The March 1971 TOTP appearance of T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan wearing glitter and satins as he performed "Hot Love" is often seen as the inception of glam rock.[10] In the 1990s, the show's format was sold to several foreign broadcasters in the form of a franchise package, and at one point various versions of the show were shown in more than 120 countries.[4] Editions of the programme from 1976 onwards started being repeated on BBC Four in 2011 and are aired on most Friday evenings – as of May 2021 the repeat run has reached 1991. Episodes featuring disgraced presenters and artists such as Jimmy Savile (who opened the show with its familiar slogan, 'It's Number One, it's Top of the Pops') and Gary Glitter are no longer repeated.