60 years on throne? That’s something to sing about

THE Queen’s Diamond Jubilee hit all the right notes last night, as legends from the world of pop and rock marked her 60-year reign with a concert outside Buckingham Palace.

Among the highlights of the show – which was two years in the planning – was Madness performing Our House on the roof of the palace.

Queen Victoria, the only previous monarch to reach such a milestone, may not have been amused, but Queen Elizabeth might well have been, especially with Elton John breaking into I’m Still Standing.

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The all-star line-up included Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, JLS, Kylie Minogue, Will.i.am, Sir Tom Jones, Jessie J, Dame Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox and Ed Sheeran.

Yesterday, Wonder said: “It’s an honour to celebrate the Queen. It’s an honour to celebrate Great Britain. The time is overdue that I meet Her Majesty.”

The concert followed Sunday’s spectacular jubilee pageant that attracted more than a million people to the banks of the Thames, despite the wet, windy and cold conditions.

Last night, the Queen was again joined by many members of the Royal Family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Pop veterans Madness’s rooftop performance was aimed at emulating the efforts of Queen guitarist Brian May, who famously performed the National Anthem from the same spot during the 2002 concert marking the Golden Jubilee.

Another special moment was the performance of Sing, the Jubilee song written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Barlow recruited Prince Harry, a keen music fan, to play tambourine on the track, although he refused to sing. The track features contributions from artists from across the Commonwealth, including Kenya, Jamaica and Australia, as well as Britain’s chart-topping Military Wives.

During rehearsals yesterday afternoon, Minogue donned a plastic poncho as she practised her set and tweeted the words: “jubilee rehearsals #wetwetwet” to her legion of followers.

Barlow, who organised the event, said he felt like a “complete beginner” next to Paul McCartney, whom he described as “a total legend”.

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The former Beatle may have played a part in the staging of the concert. At the end of the Golden Jubilee event in 2002, he turned to the Queen and said: “Will we do this next year?” – to which she is said to have replied: “Not in my garden.”

Yesterday, Barlow said he had been keen to move this concert to the front of the palace. This would enable crowds to gather in The Mall and Green Park to share the experience of an event he hoped would attract 500,000 people.

“With Buckingham Palace as backdrop, it’s going to be a fantastic event which transcends multiple decades of music,” he said before the performance got under way.

“This has been 18 months in the planning tonight, so it feels like it’s all come to a head at last. What we’ve tried to do this evening is try to represent all the years of her reign.

“So music across 60 years, artists that span 60 years. So the repertoire tonight will cover all of those decades.”

The official audience consisted of 18,000 people – 10,000 ballot winners and 8,000 from charities associated with the Royal Family.

Speaking before he took to the stage, Sir Cliff Richard said he aimed to squeeze one of his hits from each of the past six decades into his six-minute slot.

He said: “We are very good at doing pageantry in this country. We are here for the same thing. We are just going to be ourselves and remember how wonderful this day is for the monarchy.”