On Stage, a Life in Reverse?

For an artist well known for remaining behind-the-scenes, Trevor Horn's musical career boasts a surprising array of front-of-stage live performances.

And, in some ways, he's led his stage life in reverse: from stadium gigs and worldwide tours with Yes in the 1980s, to festivals and theatre shows with the Art of Noise in the 1990s, to special guest spots in the 2000s. But that would only be half the story. There's never been a pattern, or a game-plan, especially in live performance where anything can happen. So jump around the time-line and sample these random live performances from Trevor Horn...


01 August 1981

A video performance, as Trevor fronts the The Buggles in Video Killed The Radio Star. At one minute past midnight, it is the first video ever (watch) to be aired on MTV's debut show. Seconds before, John Lack was on the voice-over, proclaiming, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll...” Minutes later, the second video airs – Pat Benetar's You Better Run – and the course of pop history has been changed forever.

09 October 1999

An end-of-century line-up of the Art of Noise (watch) arrives at the Coachella festival to perform alongside some of the many artists they've inspired, from Beck to the Chemical Brothers, Underworld to µ-Ziq. With Trevor on bass and vocals, the band perform much of their 1999 album The Seduction of Claude Debussy, and the performance later appears on the Art of Noise DVD Into Vision.

01 January 1980

No one quite knows – or can remember –when this next performance took place. So we'll call it the first day of 1980, which is not far off, and places it in the right chapter of pop history. The Buggles never toured, and the closest anyone came to seeing Trevor on bass and vocals fronting the band was a three-track set for the Spanish TV show Aplauso, which kicked off with Living in the Plastic Age (watch).

10 June 1980

Trevor is on stage with Yes at the 14,000-seater Cow Palace in Daly City, California. It's mid-way through the band's North American tour across the summer of 1980 in support of their Drama album. As on every one of the 43 tour dates, Trevor takes lead vocals for the whole set, and acoustic guitar on songs including Machine Messiah. In November and December of that year the band go on a 25-date tour of the UK, packing the Hammersmith Odeon three nights in a row.

04 November 2008

The Feeling have made Video Killed The Radio Star their own end-of-night anthem, and invite Trevor to take lead vocals for a roof-raising encore at the Hammersmith Apollo (watch).

"We bumped into him at an awards ceremony," recounted The Feeling's Richard Jones. "We'd met him before and we asked if he'd like to come along to the Hammersmith show. It turned out he was already planning to come with his family! He knows that we do the Video Killed The Radio Star cover, so we asked him if he'd like to join us on stage and do lead vocals. Amazingly, he agreed. We didn't have time to rehearse it or anything, but it went really well - he even wore the original specs from the song's video! It was definitely the cherry on top of an amazing show."

11 November 2004

Trevor takes centre-stage (and lead and backing vocals, and bass guitar) for Produced By Trevor Horn, a special one-off concert for The Prince's Trust at Wembley Arena, featuring many of the bands he has produced over the years from Dollar to Seal, Frankie Goes To Hollywood to ABC.

08 May 2006

Also on bass and backing vocal duties, Trevor was Musical Director of the Pet Shop Boys special Concrete performance at London's Mermaid Theatre. Accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and with guest vocals by Frances Barber, Robbie Williams and Rufus Wainwright, it was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and later released on CD by Parlophone.

03 December 1998

Nineteen years after it was first released, Video Killed The Radio Star is finally performed live in London as Trevor reunites with Geoff Downes (and is joined by members of new ZTT signings The Marbles) to run through the track as surprise guests at a ZTT showcase at the Mean Fiddler.

07 March 2009

The first fruits of US – with Trevor on vocals, keyboards and bass - are heard via MySpace Video. The Path takes elements of all the performances this time machine webpage has visited and drives them into the future. Click here to see and hear.