THE Solar’s Weird column boss – an formidable 26-year-old named Piers Morgan – was standing on the doorstep of a resort close to Buckingham Palace in November 1991, ready within the faint hope that David Bowie would possibly emerge.
The world’s most charismatic rock star had practically been blinded the night time earlier than throughout a gig at Brixton Academy, South London, when a packet of his favorite Marlboro Lights cigarettes chucked from the gang hit him within the eye.
Having been given the nod by his PR, the Starman walked out of the Goring Lodge with a watch patch, posed for one among Piers’ now-famous photos together with his arms round celebrities and even handed him the Marlboro pack for The Solar to provide to a reader as a memento.
Earlier than going again inside, Bowie turned to Piers and stated with a glint in his uncovered eye: “I don’t know why you’re speaking to me about this garbage. Why don’t you ask me if I simply acquired engaged?”
Piers says of his biggest Solar showbiz scoop: “He gave me a half-hour interview about how he’d acquired on a ship down the Seine in Paris and proposed to Iman with flowers. He gave me the world unique whereas standing on the pavement.
“When journalists moan about being on doorsteps for hours on finish, it’s as a result of typically you get a man like Bowie who provides the canine a bone. He gave me one of many juiciest bones in showbiz historical past.”
That story helps characterise The Solar’s relationship with the celebs. Sure, we have always broken the biggest and best, most surprising, funniest and oddest tales in regards to the actors, rockers, TV hosts and cleaning soap stars our readers care about.
GREAT SHOWBIZ SPLASH
However every time we will, we achieve this with the cooperation of the celebrities concerned, usually in their very own phrases.
Within the 1970s, The Solar realised it might be the readers’ “Entry All Areas” go to star-studded occasions. Punters wished to know every little thing in regards to the celebrities whose music they have been shopping for.
And the celebs themselves seemed to The Solar for the most recent showbiz information.
Notably, legendary Pink Panther actor Peter Sellers, who learn our splash about his mid-air coronary heart assault whereas recovering in Charing Cross Hospital.
Through the years, everybody from Sir Elton John to Beyonce has been pictured studying Britain’s favorite newspaper.
A few of The Solar’s most iconic entrance pages contain showbiz occasions.
My definition of an amazing showbiz splash is a narrative folks merely don’t imagine.
That was the case in November 2013 once I reported the Monty Python group have been reuniting — one thing John Cleese and the remainder of the legendary comedy troupe insisted would by no means occur.
Our front-page headline MONTY PYTHON FLIES AGAIN — with the strapline And Now for One thing Fully Unique — got here full with a reader provide for a free can of Spam.
Different well-known showbiz entrance pages embody WACKO JACKO, once we splashed on Michael Jackson sleeping in an oxygen chamber in 1986; and ROBBIE RUNS OUT ON TAKE THAT, heralding the launch of one other main solo star in 1995.
And solely The Solar may deliver the nation collectively following surprising deaths that stopped the world.
KING ELVIS DEAD, the entrance web page declared in 1977, and THEY LOVED HIM YEAH YEAH YEAH three years later after the assassination of John Lennon, aged simply 40. Early Solar heroes included Scottish boy band the Bay Metropolis Rollers, who have been whipping up Beatles-style hysteria amongst British youngsters.
The group walked away with the High Pop Act gong at our Tv Awards in 1975, voted for by readers.
Telly was redefining the leisure panorama, with soaps central to the nation’s dialog.
Former Solar sub-editor Chris Hockley recollects: “The sport-changer was when former Solar Editor Larry Lamb splashed on the Dallas storyline gripping the nation in 1980: Who shot JR?
“That was the primary time we did a splash on the plot of a TV programme. Who did shoot JR? No person remembers!” (Spoiler alert: it was his scheming sister-in-law and mistress, Kristin Shepard.)
Over 5 many years, The Solar helped create a brand new breed of movie star.
Positive, the newspaper coated and interviewed all the largest names in Hollywood and music, from Burt Reynolds to Sir Paul McCartney.
However gross sales confirmed there was an urge for food for protection of a extra accessible kind of movie star who we invited into our residing rooms day by day.
That’s the reason we additionally devoted important protection for the primary time to a extra modest bunch that turned family names by way of the field, together with Coronation Road’s William Roache — who famously gained £50,000 damages from The Solar after suing us for calling him “boring”.
Our readers’ love of soaps is unconditional — and The Solar was a significant factor in turning EastEnders right into a nationwide establishment following six months of weak scores.
After being banned by Corrie bosses who didn’t need us to interview their stars, then-Editor Kelvin MacKenzie modified technique.
Former Weird staffer-turned-broadcaster Kevin O’Sullivan explains: “Kelvin got here as much as me and stated, ‘Proper, to hell with Coronation Road. We’re by no means going to place them within the paper once more. We’ll make EastEnders our cleaning soap. Get each story you may. We’re going to make EastEnders the speaking level of the nation’.’’
The subsequent day, The Solar splashed on a narrative about Anita Dobson, who performed Angie, having an off-screen romance with Tom Watts, who performed Lofty.
LUNCH WITH RONNIE WOOD
“The Solar made EastEnders — there isn’t a doubt about it,” Kevin says.
Whereas cleaning soap stars could not have preferred The Solar exposing their drug-taking and dishonest, for a lot of A-listers a go to to our newsroom to “take over” the Weird column turned a ceremony of passage to superstardom. Our most entertaining guests have included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Anderson, Mark Hamill, Sacha Baron Cohen, One Route, Take That and even the winners of Love Island.
The Solar had different early showbiz successes. Movie columnist Fergus Cashin turned finest mates with film legends Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton, the latter ringing our workplaces in the future to declare: “I’m marrying Elizabeth Taylor.”
Reporter Bob Hart saved flying to Los Angeles to interview a musician nobody within the newsroom had heard of.
The pop author insisted the bearded American can be “an enormous star in the future” — to derision from his bosses. That younger singer’s identify? Bruce Springsteen. Options author Judy Wade travelled the world interviewing stars and was as soon as even proposed to by John Travolta — again then the world’s most eligible bachelor following Saturday Evening Fever and Grease, alone in a resort suite.
After performing dance routines from each films for her in a rare non-public present, Travolta stated: “We’re eloping to the South of France tonight.” Alas for him, Judy was already married.
Not all the celebs have been followers of a daring new strategy to showbiz journalism.
Ex-Girls’s Editor Kay Goddard recollects: “I did a narrative about Adam Ant going skinny on high. He was so upset he turned up at The Solar together with his supervisor and I needed to go right down to reception, the place he truly put his head down and stated, ‘Look!’
“He WAS shedding his hair and I wrote that in a follow-up story.”
On Could 17, 1982, showbiz reporting modified for ever with the launch of our Weird column, which to today supplies devoted protection of pop and movie star, usually specializing in the private lives of stars, fronted by a columnist who shares their opinions with readers.
The primary Weird Editor, John Blake, began the custom of journalists changing into a part of the story, together with in the future whereas having lunch with Ronnie Wood at a London showbiz hang-out. He recollects: “He turned up with a lady referred to as Jo who’d informed him she labored at Woolworths. I went for a pee and once I got here again, he stated, ‘I’ve acquired a shock for you.
“Whilst you have been within the bathroom, I requested Jo to marry me and he or she stated sure. You’ll be able to have the story and are available to the marriage’.”
John was the one journalist there, alongside icons together with Rod Stewart, Keith Richards and Ringo Starr. With large scoops from Eighties megastars Elton John, Boy George and Rod Stewart, Weird turned a popular culture phenomenon itself.
The Solar produced Weird T-shirts, badges, shorts and bikinis, promoting shedloads. Martin Dunn ran Weird with Nick Ferrari within the mid-1980s. They have been wild occasions. Nick remembers having Prince “trash me and the column dwell on community TV on the Brits”. Why? He had printed an inventory of the winners the morning earlier than the large night time.
Weird turned a driving pressure behind Cool Britannia within the Nineties as Oasis, Blur, Lock, Inventory And Two Smoking Barrels and Chris Evans’s Radio 1 Breakfast Present dominated popular culture.
“London felt just like the centre of the Earth,” says ex-Weird Editor Dominic Mohan. The column went on the street for the opening of Oasis’s 1998 tour in Tokyo with out having secured an interview with unstable Gallagher brothers Liam and Noel.
Dominic recollects: “We checked into the resort we thought they might keep in, went right down to the bar and so they have been in there.
“They invited us over and we sat for 3 hours. We ran it as a world unique interview over three days.”
The Spice Girls’ unprecedented rise to develop into the largest woman group of all time was championed by Weird.
Lady Energy took over the column many occasions, with Posh, Child, Scary, Ginger and Sporty guest-editing from The Solar’s newsroom.
We have been instrumental in each Spice Ladies reunions, first in 2007 then in 2018, when the group gave their first comeback newspaper interview to me — revealing why they’d modified their Lady Energy slogan to Folks Energy to mark a brand new gender-neutral period of showbiz.
The Solar helped create the rise of the soccer movie star, with David Beckham not coated solely on the sports activities pages.
As Weird Editor, Victoria Newton was the primary journalist to essentially get below the pores and skin of Model Beckham, interviewing David and Victoria and following them world wide as their topsy-turvy marriage turned front-page information.
She says: “Footballers had develop into extra attention-grabbing to readers as a result of Premier League cash meant their incomes energy soared, making them wealthier than many pop stars and main extra extravagant existence.
“I broke the story that Posh, who had not lengthy been courting David, was pregnant with their first youngster.”
With the daybreak of the brand new millennium, The Solar once more led the cost to create a beforehand unthinkable kind of star: Our readers.
Actuality TV favourites reminiscent of Large Brother, Pop Idol and The X Issue made immediate stars of Solar staples like Gareth Gates, Katie Price, Harry Types, Susan Boyle and, after all, Jade Goody, whose tragic life offered numerous entrance pages from her unlikely emergence to her premature loss of life in 2009.
However on Weird, there was nonetheless time for rock ’n’ roll shenanigans.
Gordon Sensible — the column’s longest serving Editor, from 2007 to 2013 — remembers: “I travelled the world with the Spice Ladies, acquired evacuated from Mexico with Oasis and Ricky Hatton after a disagreement with locals, and had a punch-up with Robbie Williams within the notorious Hollywood resort Chateau Marmont.
“Coldplay kidnapped me for per week and I wakened in Kate Bosworth’s swimming pool. She was dissatisfied to find I wasn’t the keyboard participant within the band, however not as irritated as Christina Hendricks was when she realised I labored for The Currant Bun.”
Luckily, the late Amy Winehouse was far more approachable, giving Gordon an enormous hug backstage on the Q Awards in London in 2009.
Some predicted our affect on the leisure business would possibly fade because the web revolution took over . . . however the reverse has occurred.
After I break a Solar unique now, it ricochets world wide inside minutes due to our hovering web site.
Scarlett Moffatt axed from ‘dream job’ on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Evening Takeaway
Ant McPartlin’s tattoos defined after revealing new inkings on I am A Movie star
John Barrowman shocks I am a Celeb: Further Camp viewers with tremendous quick gray hair
Piers Morgan rages at Ant and Dec after their dig about him on I am A Movie star
Visage stormed off Strictly after saying she felt ‘pushed out of competitors’
Katie Value ‘has misplaced feeling in her face’ after a number of surgical procedures in Turkey
That occurred largely due to my tweet revealing our front-page headline: TINKER TAYLOR SNOGS A SPY.
Our heritage and nice relationships nonetheless see the A-listers with balls (everybody from Ed Sheeran to Paul McCartney) sit down with us every week to disclose unimaginable particulars about their lives.
Many stars have come and gone over the previous 50 years. However The Solar and its unrivalled showbiz protection stay well-known world wide.
Boris Johnson congratulates The Solar on its 50th birthday