Houston Had No Problem

Despite huge successes achieved by Madonna and Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston is still the best-selling female artist in Wembley Arena’s history.

She has done 29 shows at the London venue since 1984, which is one of the tidbits of information in “20 Things You Never Knew About Wembley Arena,” a list of facts published to remind the music industry of the arena’s 50th birthday as a concert venue.

Exactly 50 years ago on March 22, the venue hosted the “Record Star Show,” which featured Dame Shirley Bassey and Petula Clark.

“When I first played there, it was one of the biggest venues I’d ever played and was certainly one of the most exciting venues in London,” Dame Shirley recalls.

Among the other things apparently unknown about Wembley Arena is that on April 11, 1965, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones appeared at the N.M.E Poll Winners concert, the only time two of the biggest acts in rock history appeared on the same bill.

Also, for example, Cliff Richard has played the most gigs at the arena and will be coming back for his 62nd show since 1960 when he returns with The Shadows in October.

The bits of Wembley time capsule trivia that relate to ticket prices show the most expensive was £250 for Barbra Streisand in 1994.

The Rolling Stones charged £2.75 in 1973 and £150 when they went back in 2003. And, while his O2 ticket sales are in the news, watching Michael Jackson’s 1972 appearance with the Jackson 5 cost a top price of £2.50.

Madonna’s record-breaking, seven-night run was the highest-grossing string of dates on her Confessions Tour in 2006.

Status Quo first played the arena in 1969, and has performed at the venue more than any other band, with 42 headline shows. Westlife is the best-selling pop band and has done 27 shows since 2000.

Wembley Arena started out as the Empire Pool and Sports Arena in 1934 and has sold 48 million concert tickets in the 50 years it’s been used as a music venue.

The first band to headline the arena was The Monkees in 1966. The act played five shows in three days (including two matinees).