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Bands from 1980s and 90s stream hits to make up for lost live earnings

WORTHING, England (Reuters) - Pop acts from the 1980s and 1990s including Right Said Fred, Paul Young and Toyah, whose income from live performances has slumped during the coronavirus pandemic, are recording their hits for a new pay-per-view series being streamed online.

Chesney Hawkes, Kim Wilde and Steve Harley are also among those performing in five planned shows in the “That Was Then ... This is Now!” series hosted by streaming service TicketCo TV.

“I had a whole year’s worth of gigs ready to go,” Hawkes told Reuters at a recording session in Worthing, on England’s southern coast. “Everything just cut off like that. It was like turning off the tap.”

Hawkes, whose 1991 hit “The One and Only” was number 1 for five week in the UK charts, added: “Most of us that are doing this show, 90 percent of our earnings would be live so it’s really difficult to try and make that up somehow.”

The artists have agreed to share proceeds from the venture, which is being produced by Mike Stock of hit factory Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

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The show will be streamed at the same time that BBC’s “Top of the Pops” went out on Thursday nights and deliver a modern twist on the long-running music show that was cancelled in 2006.

“These guys have been itinerant musicians all of their lives. And then suddenly they’ve been told no more gigs, nothing,” Stock told Reuters.

Richard Fairbrass, lead singer of Right Said Fred whose hit song “I’m Too Sexy” topped charts in several countries in 1991, said that the situation for live musicians was going to remain difficult for some time.

Governments are imposing new, often stringent restrictions on movement across much of Europe and beyond as coronavirus cases surge again.

“I think this is just the beginning,” Fairbrass said. “If we think that this is going to change anytime soon, I think we’re mistaken.”

Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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