The New York-based 65-year-old, who hasn’t toured since 2006, passed up the chance to perform in front of a global TV audience of hundreds of millions. 

Bowie’s Heroes song had been the unofficial anthem of Team GB but fans had to make-do with a recording of Bowie during a segment featuring British fashion models.

Other acts who refused to appear in what was supposed to be a £15 celebration of British music  were the Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones and Kate Bush.

Maybe Bowie and Co have nothing to promote. Of those who chose to perform, George Michael played a new single, which was due for release on Monday, his record company tweeting an ad for it during the ceremony.

The Who, who closed the Games, twice turned down the request to play, according to industry sources. However, the announcement of a US tour in July apparently swayed them.

The Spice Girls, too, reportedly had to be persuaded to perform, but eventually realised it was in their best interests, The five-member girl group has a musical, Viva Forever, out soon.