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Londoners will gather outside Buckingham Palace tonight for the BBC’s Diamond Jubilee concert. The lineup features music stars from the 60-year span of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. In the style of Party at the Palace, the BBC’s concert marking the Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Diamond Jubilee concert will be a musical extravaganza designed to please the people.

Watch the Diamond Jubilee concert on CBC Music.

As a primer, here’s our breakdown, in alphabetical order, of the musicians slated to perform. View the image gallery above for photos of the artists.

Gary Barlow

Gary Barlow has had platinum-selling albums, both as a member of his former boy band, Take That, and on his own as a solo artist. In addition, he has written hit songs for Lily Allen and Charlotte Church and won Britain's top songwriting prize, the Ivor Novello Award, six times. A capable choice, then, for the task of penning the official song for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. "Sing," which Barlow co-wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber, was debuted for Her Majesty on Monday, May 28. Brad Frenette

Dame Shirley Bassey

The “Goldfinger” (or “fingaaahhh”) hit-maker has the distinction of being the only singer to record multiple James Bond flick themes. Will this matter to the Queen? We can’t know. But we can know that the 75-year-old Welsh singer still has it, what with her unlikely cover a couple years ago of Pink’s “Get the Party Started.” It had considerable “cross-platform” success, including its use under the opening credits of the movie Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Li Robbins

Alfie Boe

While tenor Alfie Boe dabbles in classical music, he has built his reputation primarily in the world of musical theatre. Think Russell Watson, not Peter Pears. He recently released a new version of Queen’s classic “One Vision” with Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh. It will be the official Team Great Britain song for the 2012 summer Olympic Games, so by the end of the summer everyone in the U.K. will be humming it. Robert Rowat

Cheryl Cole

The hot gossip in pop music circles last week was Rihanna’s admission to Esquire U.K. that she has a crush on singer Cheryl Cole: "Ooh! Cheryl Cole is hot. I would just like to watch her work. Preferably […] picking up stuff on the floor. Bending over." (Okaaaay.) Cole, a recording artist, model and former Girls Aloud member, will release her third solo studio album, A Million Lights, later this month. – RR

Renée Fleming

American soprano Renée Fleming has been called “reigning queen of the opera world” by the Toronto Star (and others), so she should feel right at home with the real McCoy. Then there was her dazzling turn as the deposed Queen Rodelinda in the Met’s production of the Handel opera last year. Fleming also sang “Rule Britannia!” at the close of the BBC Proms in 2010, so clearly her Brit cred is high. Who knows, maybe she’ll dust off her high notes and sing Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria? – LR

Jools Holland

Founding member of the band Squeeze, Jools Holland has enjoyed a long career as pianist, vocalist, composer, author and TV host. Active in the music scene since the early ’70s, Holland has collaborated with the likes of Bono, Sting, Eric Clapton and George Harrison. He is currently the host of BBC Two's music television show, Later … with Jools Holland. John Paolozzi

Jessie J

She used to write for Miley Cyrus, but now that she's sold over 11 million singles of her own, Jessie J’s "Do[ing] It Like A Dude." It's hard to nail down exactly what she's famous for: is it the soulful voice singing over catchy hip-hop tracks; the melodrama of being a celebrity judge on U.K.'s The Voice or the various states of undress she performs in? Pedro Mendes


JLS, which stands for Jack the Lad Swing, is a British boy band that rose in popularity after its 2008 appearance on the British talent competition show, The X Factor. Prior to the television show, they were known as UFO. The band’s debut self-titled album under the new name sold one million copies in the U.K. They won two Brit Awards in 2010. Continuing in a long tradition of successful British boy bands, the group continues to release hit songs in the U.K., yet have not made the transition to North American audiences. Jeanette Cabral

Elton John

Elton John's flamboyant career has spanned five decades and spawned more than 50 top 40 hits, making him one of the most successful recording artists of all time. His song "Candle in the Wind 1997," a tribute to Princess Diana, sold over 33 million copies. John bounced back from a serious respiratory infection that left him hospitalized last month to perform at the Jubilee concert. Mike Miner

Grace Jones

Now in her 60s, Grace Jones started her career as a model and was a particular favourite of Andy Warhol. She later found success bringing her intense look and severe persona to the dance floors of Europe with a series of club hits like "Slave to the Rhythm." Jones is apparently back in Her Majesty's good graces, having been chosen to perform at the Jubilee despite her many attempts on the life of secret agent James Bond. – MM

Tom Jones

Tom Jones rose to fame in 1965 with the number one U.K. hit, “It’s Not Unusual.” The Welsh crooner has been up and down the charts throughout his career, hitting the top 10 a few more times with such signature tunes as “Delilah,” “She’s a Lady” and “Kiss.”  Over the last 20 years Jones has become more prominent with the younger generations through collaborations with the likes of Art of Noise, Van Morrison, Tori Amos and Wyclef Jean. It’s not likely that Elizabeth will be tossing her knickers on stage when Sir Tom (knighted in 2006) performs at the Diamond Jubilee concert. The monarch will most certainly have them hand delivered by a royal page. – Christopher Martin

Lang Lang

International fame and fortune have made Chinese pianist Lang Lang a popular subject for, and target of, music critics. The New York Times calls him the "hottest artist on the classical music planet," while other reviewers have referred to him as "Bang Bang." A frequent guest of the annual BBC Proms, Lang will celebrate his 30th birthday just days after the Diamond Jubilee concert. – RR

Annie Lennox

Concert organizers are probably hoping pop legend Annie Lennox won’t pull out her 1980s Eurythmics hit “Here Comes the Rain Again” for the outdoor show. While she’s known for her dramatic fashion sense, Lennox wore a demure purple silk dress with matching hat and pearls when she received an Order of the British Empire from the Queen in June 2011 for her work with charities fighting AIDS in Africa. – RR


Madness, best known for their hit song "Our House," enjoyed monstrous popularity in the U.K. through the ’80s, spending 214 weeks on the U.K. singles charts. The pop ska band is currently touring the U.K. and has plans to release an album of new music this year. Their songs often centre on childhood nostalgia or tales of petty criminals in London. – MM

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney is accustomed to encounters with the royals, the former Beatle having met her majesty a number of times over the years. “It is always wonderful meeting her,” he was widely quoted as saying recently, “she's great.” A more seasoned response than his quips in the mid-’60s heady Beatles days, when McCartney joked about smoking marijuana in the Buckingham Palace lavs. Back then he enthused, “It’s a keen pad and I liked the staff…. The queen was lovely. She was just like a mum to us.” – LR

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue’s rise to stardom began in 1986 with a role on the popular Australian soap opera Neighbours. After performing at a charity event, Minogue was signed to a record deal and released “The Loco-Motion,” which became a worldwide hit. In 2001, she was heard on dance floors around the world with the hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” which indeed was difficult to get out of your head due to the catchy chorus and striking, futuristic-style video. Her breast cancer diagnosis in 2005 and subsequent treatment were widely covered in the media, forcing Minogue to be a public face for the disease. – JC

Sir Cliff Richard

Before the Beatles, there was Cliff Richard. The United Kingdom's original pop superstar, Richard is referred to as the British Elvis, and credited with penning the country's first rock 'n' roll number, "Move It," in 1958. At the height of his popularity, Richard converted to Christianity, and began recording Christian and gospel music. He is one of only two acts (the other being Elvis) to top the charts in each of the first six decades of the U.K. music charts. He was knighted in 1995 for his "services to charity," becoming the first musician to receive the honour. – BF

Ed Sheeran

He's too young to have ever watched The A Team on TV, which is a good thing because his U.K. top 10 track of the same name is actually about his experiences performing at a homeless shelter. Sheeran’s jazzy, folky sound also propelled his song "Drunk" to the top of the U.K. charts, forcing him to admit that he's actually drastically reduced his drinking so that he doesn't horribly embarrass himself in front of the monarch. – PM

Ruby Turner

Ruby Turner did something that few British R&B singers have ever done: in February 1990, she reached number one on the U.S. R&B charts with her single “It’s Gonna be Alright.” Even though Queen Elizabeth is already in possession of a large collection of priceless jewels – including the Burmese ruby tiara – she has clearly made room for another in the lineup of her Diamond Jubilee concert. Ruby Turner is a national treasure. – RR

In an interview last week, rapper, producer and Black Eyed Peas star said, “I love the Queen. She’s super dope.” The Queen, meanwhile, has possibly been enjoying’s role as singing coach and judge on the TV show The Voice UK. An unlikely mutual admiration society, but stranger things have happened.’s fourth solo studio album, #willpower, is scheduled for imminent release. – RR

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams is the original bad boy of British pop. The singer was a member of Take That, one of the most successful Brit boy bands of the 1990s, but his drug problems and conflicts led Williams to leave the group in 1995. He then cleaned up, wrote some songs and sold 70 million albums worldwide. Hits like “Millennium,” “Angel” and “Rock DJ” have kept Williams on the top of the charts and certified him as the best-selling British solo artist in the U.K. – JC

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a living musical legend. He was born in Michigan in 1950, lost his vision in early childhood, taught himself to play the piano and released his first single, “Fingertips,” at the age of 12. From there he only grew in popularity, releasing some of the greatest albums in R&B history, including the masterful double album Songs in the Key of Life, on the famed Motown label. Wonder is no stranger to this kind of concert extravaganza, having performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. – JC


CBC News special report: The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Mixtape Monday: Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee

Your playlist for Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee a chance for youth to honour Canada's Queen

Music fit for a queen: The monarchs and their musick men

The Royal Jubilee, The Sex Pistols and Me

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Diamond Jubilee concert primer

Londoners will gather outside Buckingham Palace tonight for the BBC’s Diamond Jubilee concert. The li…


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#1 posted by
on Jun 05, 2012

Just read some of the comments on the Telegraph's (London) website.  Don't expect too much

#2 posted by
on Jun 05, 2012

No Canadian artists invited to the Jubilee concert?  What the he**?  At least two Americans?  I'm shocked/offended...

#3 posted by
on Jun 05, 2012

So let me see if I have this right: Renee Fleming, and Stevie Wonder are from the United States and Lang Lang is from China;

There are three possible explanations:

1. All the Canadian artists were watching the hockey game or

2. China and the US have rejoined the Commonwealth or

3. Canadian music is so bad (certainly not fit for a Queen) that we need CanCon regulations-which of course don't apply outside of Canada.

 You decide

BTW, the Kiwis were also left off the roster-must be rugby season...

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