Britain still rocking 60 years on as music museum opens

THE rich history of 60 years of British rock and pop music went on show in a new exhibition yesterday.

The British Music Experience (BME) at London's O2 Arena features 144 loudspeakers playing changing music to visitors walking through seven time-zones.

The show includes memorabilia loaned by stars such as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Amy Winehouse, and features hundreds of artists, from the Beatles to Iron Maiden. Video exhibits set music from punk to glam rock in its social context.

In an interactive studio, visitors can play Gibson guitars, Baldwin pianos and Slingerland drums, and practice their vocal skills. They can also try out different dance crazes. Another area, The Future, is dedicated to a constantly updated look at the latest bands, solo artists, music scenes and technology.

There are 24 showcases featuring more than 100 artists and 600 artefacts, ranging from Bowie's Ashes to Ashes clown suit to Noel Gallagher's Union Flag guitar.

The exhibition's backers will be keen to avoid the fate of the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield, which opened a decade ago but closed after 16 months because of a lack of visitors.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, officially opened the BME, a non-profit museum that charges 15 a ticket.

"It reflects the rich history of fantastic talent that has conquered the world," he said.