The Olympics closing ceremony was more notable for the stars who declined to take part than for those who performed. David Bowie, Kate Bush, The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones all turned down the invitation to appear.
Producer Kim Gavin had attempted to organise a spectacular celebration of five decades of British music but in the end the prestigious absentees left the event looking more like a hastily rejigged variety show.
The Spice Girls reunion was the most high-profile event of the evening, although their performance, singing 'Wannabe' and 'Spice Up Your Life' from the roofs of London taxis, was disjointed and lacklustre.
George Michael also caused some surprise when he followed up a performance of 'Freedom' with a rendition of his new single, a track unfamiliar to the vast majority of those watching.
Liam Gallagher sang the Oasis classic 'Wonderwall', in the conspicuous absence of brother Noel who wrote the song. He was helped out by a mass choir of Olympic athletes who joined in on the chorus.
Other performances featured some inter-generational cross-referencing. Kaiser Chiefs performed The Who’s 'Pinball Wizard', Ed Sheeran sang Pink Floyd’s 'Wish You Were Here' and Jessie J sang Queen’s 'We Will Rock You', accompanied by Brian May on guitar. All three performances were unlikely to be described as improvements on the originals.
The Who had turned down Gavin twice before relenting and agreeing to appear. They closed the show with an explosive performance that was substantially more impressive than what had gone before, and outshone Paul McCartney’s contribution to the opening ceremony.