BIZARRE is world-famous for its ground-breaking exclusives.
Our successes range from revealing the Spice Girls reunion to announcing Britney Spears’ second pregnancy — and landing interviews with music’s biggest superstars, including Madonna, Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John.
On Tuesday the column, which launched on May 17, 1982, with John Blake at the helm, will celebrate its 40th birthday.
Over four decades, myself and 13 predecessors have worked tirelessly alongside our brilliant teams to bring you jaw-dropping stories, often straight from the horse’s mouth.
It was in this column in 2006 that Pink chose to bear her soul about turning to heroin to cope with the death of three of her friends.
Eleven years later, Celine Dion picked us to speak to for the first time about her devastation over the death of husband Rene Angelil.
Aside from some of the column’s own divas (I’m looking at you, Dan Wootton), Bizarre has enjoyed its fair share of rock-star demands. US rapper P Diddy turned up 24 hours late, with 40 minders, for ex-editor Gordon Smart.
And his excuse? A nasty case of man flu . . . but he barely touched the chicken soup Gordon and co lovingly microwaved for him.
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Rude and raucous
Aside from bringing you a daily dose of gossip six times a week, Bizarre has also backed campaigns to help bring change for the better.
It was Bizarre, then headed by Dominic Mohan, who created Band Aid 20 in 2004.
In one of his proudest moments, Dom managed single-handedly to sign up Travis and Coldplay — messaging frontman Chris Martin privately to get him on board.
The reworking of the 1984 original Do They Know It’s Christmas? in 2004 went straight to the festive No1 spot and led to the Live 8 concerts across the globe the following year. Bizarre became a springboard for some of the UK’s most talented journalists, including ex-column editors Jane Moore, Piers Morgan and Victoria Newton — editor of The Sun today.
Piers, who edited these pages in the early Nineties, said his biggest scoop was David Bowie giving him the inside track on his proposal to Iman.
He said: “David gave me a half-hour interview about how he’d got on a boat down the Seine in Paris and proposed to Iman with flowers.
“He gave me the world exclusive while standing on the pavement. When journalists moan about being on doorsteps for hours on end, it’s because sometimes you get a guy like Bowie who gives the dog a bone.”
John Blake, Biz’s first editor, landed one of his biggest tales after visiting the loo. Recalling a lunch with Ronnie Wood, John said: “I went for a pee and when I came back, he said, ‘I’ve got a surprise for you. While you were in the bog, I asked JO to marry me and she said yes. You can have the story and come to the wedding’.”
As for my own memories of this column, which I have been editing since April 2018, I have many too rude, too raucous and too rampant to reproduce on our precious pages.
But from Paul McCartney singing Happy Birthday at the Cavern Club on my birthday to travelling to the Middle East with Coldplay and having beers with Oasis legend Noel, Bizarre has given me some of the best experiences of my career.
None of our successes would have been possible without you, our loyal readers, however. You have contacted us with stories, covered us with praise — and called us out for using too many pictures of Rita Ora.
For this I cannot apologise, though, as she is far too beautiful not to keep putting in print.
From all of us at Bizarre — past and present — thank you for 40 great years.
EDITORS’ ROLL OF HONOUR
The very first Bizarre was edited by John Blake, then came ... Martin Dunn, Nick Ferrari, Jane Moore, Jonathan King, Rick Sky, Piers Morgan, Andy Coulson, Dominic Mohan, Victoria Newton, Gordon Smart, Jennifer O’Brien & Lia Nicholls, Dan Wootton and yours truly, Simon Boyle.
How we kept on rockin'
1984 Ronnie Wood reveals proposal to Jo 1996 The Spice Girls take over Bizarre
1998 We join Oasis on the road for their Tokyo tour
2004 Bizarre, headed by Dominic Mohan, launch Band Aid 20
2005 The team, led by Victoria Newton, breaks news to the world that Britney Spears is pregnant with her and Kevin Federline’s second child
2006 In a Bizarre special chat, Pink reveals she used to take heroin
2008 Jay z gives a world- exclusive interview to Gordon Smart and Bizarre in which the rapper rounds on Noel Gallagher for saying he shouldn’t have been on Glastonbury’s line-up
2010 Olly Murs talks to Gordon about his sex life, insisting he’s “no Tom Jones but doing better than Nick Clegg”.
2015 Madonna sits down with Bizarre to let rip at Guy Ritchie and slams ageist Radio 1 bosses
2015 Dan Wootton’s Bizarre column reveals the news that the Spice Girls were reuniting once more – but without Posh
2017 Celine Dion breaks down in tears when she speaks for the first time about the loss of her husband
2018 Elton John reveals that nearly dying was behind his reason to quit touring
2019 Bizarre joins Coldplay for their landmark gig in Jordan before doing an exclusive interview
2021 Ed Sheeran sits down with Bizarre, admitting he hit rock bottom on a diet of wine, beer and chicken wings, before becoming a dad changed his life
THIS WEEK'S CHARTS
1. As It Was – HARRY STYLES
2. First Class – JACK HARLOW
3. Go – CAT BURNS
4. About Damn Time – LIZZO
5. Starlight – DAVE
6. Baby – AITCH & ASHANTI
7. Peru – FIREBOY DML & ED SHEERAN
8. Wait For U – FUTURE ft DRAKE
9. Bam Bam – CAMILA CABELLO ft ED SHEERAN
10. Where Did You Go? – JAX JONES ft MNEK
HARRY STYLES is at No1 for a sixth week but he could soon have competition from pal Lizzo. Her joyous disco single About Damn Time is gaining momentum after going viral on TikTok.
Four decades ago, it was one-hit wonder Nicole who was at No1 with A Little Peace.
1. We – ARCADE FIRE
2. How To Let Go – SIGRID
3. Alpha Place – KNUCKS
4. Come Home The Kids Miss You – JACK HARLOW
5. Equals – ED SHEERAN
6. Between Us – LITTLE MIX
7. Happiness Not Included – SOFT CELL
8. A Bit Of Previous – BELLE & SEBASTIAN
9. Back From The Dead – HALESTORM
10. Sour – OLIVIA RODRIGO
ARCADE FIRE top the charts for a fourth time with We, seeing off competition from SIGRID who is new at No2.
In May 1982, it was Paul McCartney’s third solo album, Tug Of War, which was in pole position, ahead of albums from Queen, Barry Manilow and Madness.