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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Mike Read's Pops memories
Mike Read and Sarah Greene
Read also hosted Saturday Superstore with Sarah Greene

Keily Oakes

As Top of the Pops celebrates its 2,000th episode, former presenter and Radio 1 DJ Mike Read talks about his time on the show and the current state of the music industry.

Mike Read first took the reins on Top of the Pops in 1978, but he was not allowed to do the first show on his own. Instead he was mentored by Dave Lee Travis for the first show.

For the next 12 years he introduced the best, and the worst, of hits from the top 40.

He steered clear of the more wacky and bizarre outfits as favoured by his TOTP colleagues like DLT and Jimmy Savile, although he briefly flirted with the mod look of the 1970s as he tried to look "marginally hip".

He presented the show on average every three weeks, quitting in 1990, the year before he left Radio 1.

But far from taking a back seat in the music business, Read went on to write a number of musicals and penned hits for others and still continues writing and radio presenting.

Far from being a stereotypical middle-age man mumbling at the TV that Top of the Pops is just noise, he still takes a keen interest in the current music scene. One of his particular favourites at the moment is the Strokes album.

But he has great memories of his time on TOTP.

Mike Read and Cliff Richard
Read is good friends with Cliff Richard
"There were many memorable performances but the one that really made me tingle was watching the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl singing Fairytale of New York.

"I just knew watching it that this was a magic moment," said Read.

One of his funniest moments on the show was when Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 fell over during a live performance.

Playlist

He was obviously embarrassed about it and so fell over five or so more times to make it look like it was part of the routine, according to the presenter.

Read loved the influence that DJs could have on a record or an artist during the early years.

"There was no such thing as the playlist so if I heard a song I liked I could go in the next day and play it," he said.

"There is no room to do that these days."

He recognises that the music scene has changed and that marketing and record bosses have such a great influence on the charts.

"It used to be that a song would enter at number 50 or so and it would build and build, and have a more natural growth," he said.

"Now you are lucky if you get more than two records a year selling a million and you are now considered a failure if a song doesn't enter at the top.

"It just used to be more fun."

 VOTE RESULTS
Top of the Pops - is it really still number one?

Yes
 34.61% 

No
 65.39% 

10778 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion



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13 Sep 02 | Entertainment
08 Sep 02 | Entertainment
11 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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