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22 Music Week 28.09.12


Mike Smith President Of Music, Mercury “I grew up on music TV, from Slade and Bowie on Top of the Pops to Patti Smith on The Old Grey

...on a Saturday night: Suede provide another evening’s music in 1996

“When we first started we weren’t quite sure if it was a pop show, a rock show, a folk show or a soul show – then we realised it was a music show” JOOLS HOLLAND

Christians, Nu Colours and D-Influence. The selection fitted a show roughly themed around soul music. Others who performed as the first series found

its feet included KD Lang, Loudon Wainwright III, John Martyn, Inspiral Carpets, Television, Morrissey and Chris Rea. “When we first started we weren’t quite sure if

it was a pop show, a rock show, a folk show or a soul show – then we realised it was a music show,” says Holland. “It became the bastard lovechild of The Tube, a show I did in America called Night Music and The Late Show - all of those mashed together. “Michael Jackson had seen what a brilliant job

Mark Cooper had been doing at the BBC and was familiar with the way I was able to communicate music on TV. “He thought that if Mark and I came together

with Janet it might work. We didn’t have a plan, it just evolved. When it started, it was a bit poor, really, but it had some good musical moments.” By the time the second series arrived in May

1993, viewers had become accustomed to two interesting quirks from Holland: his comfortable willingness to play jazzy piano alongside his guests, and an interviewing style which gently dug for musical influence and aspirations, rather than scandal or tearful admissions.

BELOW So what you do is this...: Jools offers Chris Martin some pre-show tips


THE ADVENT OF YOUTUBE in 2005 brought a new challenge and exciting new possibilities for the Later team. It didn’t take long for the show’s ringmaster to become suitably impressed. “YouTube’s changed

everything,” says Jools Holland. “A video of Adele performing on Later has had maybe 21 million people watch it. When we did the show live, perhaps a million people watched it. It completely changes how we look at things.” Adds Mark Cooper: “I think at

first we were a bit nervous. The whole show is supposed to be like the whole meal – the

ambition of the show is to take you on a bit of a journey. Obviously YouTube just tends to collect single tracks. “But I quickly learnt that these

two platforms are not mutually exclusive to one another: there are millions of people who want to follow the whole show and those who just want to see a single clip. They seem to survive pretty well together. “YouTube has been great for

Later – I don’t know if YouTube would survive without our clips! When someone like Lana Del Rey was on last year, the Hollywood Reporter was linking to the YouTube clip; people all around the world seized on it. Later travels enormously well and enormously quickly today.”

Whistle Test, that was the way I found out about new music. We never knew we had it so good. Jools Holland was a star in Squeeze, I adored him on The Tube and on Later he launched the best music programme out there. From the beginning, the show had the balls to pull together the chaotic mixture of musicians that would define its greatness. I knew I would always see someone I loved on the show and also be turned

BELOW ‘A clever boy’: Sir Macca tells Music Week that he’s a big fan of Jools

onto something new and brilliant. Later has been instrumental to the careers of so many artists I have worked with. I could not imagine a world without it and I’ll always take every opportunity to get down there regardless of whether I have artists on the show.”

Damian Christian Director of Promotions, Atlantic Records “Jools has a unique ability to discover, inspire and promote exciting new music and artists. Later

remains as relevant, important and exciting for the industry and fans today as it was when it launched 20 years ago.”

Rock ‘n’ roll stars: Liam and Noel flank the man himself

“Jools’ television show is one of the best in the world for introducing new talent and diverse music acts to us, the eager public” SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY

“When I sit with them at the piano, sometimes

artists communicate something the audience hasn’t heard before, or a side of them they don’t know,” says Holland. “Other interviewers might want to ask about people’s skidmarks and things like that. I’d rather not.” Holland’s genuine interest in his guest’s musical

reasoning and his respect for personal boundaries has been greatly appreciated by the artist community, and built a layer of trust between the show and worldwide superstars which rival programmes can only envy. “Jools’ television show is one of the best in the

world for introducing new talent and diverse music acts to us, the eager public,” Sir Paul McCartney tells Music Week. “He’s a clever boy and nice to boot. I know, I have booted him often.” When Later first aired on October 9, 1992

around 100,000 viewers tuned in. Today, it draws closer to 10 times that number – across Friday’s full-length show and Tuesday’s half-hour taster. The programme’s growing brand strength and

the increased calibre of its guests have undoubtedly boosted the viewing figures, but so too has its improved production values. The introduction of a live studio audience in Later’s second series inspired an intimacy and tangible sense of camaraderie that has lasted and helped define the show to this day.

Anyone can play guitar: Radiohead perform High And Dry in 1995

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