Madonna 'ashamed' to sing Eighties hits, claims Toyah Willcox 

Former punk rocker Toyah Willcox has accused Madonna of being "ashamed" of singing her classic Eighties tracks.

Willcox said she could "hear the audience groan" when she went to see the London-based American star play at Wembley. 

Speaking as she prepared to return to the stage for a live show singing rock classics, she said of live artists: "People want to hear their hits and not their arty songs." 

She added: "When I went to see Madonna at Wembley she did an hour of B sides and you could hear the audience groan." 

She concluded: "I just don't think people should be ashamed of the hits that mean so much to so many people." 

The Queen of Pop does appear to have taken some of Willcox's advice already, singing Like A Virgin to an audience in Rome. Madonna, 50, controversially dedicated the performance to Pope Benedict XVI. 

But Willcox, also 50, said she did not think Madonna and other live performing artists knew what their fans really wanted - which she maintained was to hear the anthems of the past. 

While Madonna has embarked on her latest worldwide tour, Willcox is playing a devil queen in a sing-along extravaganza called Vampires Rock, in which members of the audience are invited to dress up in costume. A national 44-date tour begins on Friday at the 650-capacity Majestic Theatre in Retford, Notts. 

The live show, a cross between the Rocky Horror Picture Show and We Will Rock You, is a vehicle for a string of hits belted out by her and the show's founder Steve Steinman, such as Alice Cooper's School's Out For Summer and Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N' Roses. 

Willcox enthused: "People are coming to hear the music. When they come along they are baying for blood. People want the hits." 

She said the appetite for nostalgic music had never been stronger. "I'm making more money out of music now that I was in 1981." 

Steinman, who plays Baron von Rockula in the "fang-tastic rock musical", said Britons were becoming more and more willing to shed their inhibitions for a night of outright fun. 

But he added Southerners still needed some convincing to get into the spirit of things. "Those in the north tend to dress up more," he said.

The Telegraph
September 2008