First web image band play final gig

By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News

image captionThis is thought to be one of the first images uploaded to the world wide web

An all-female doo-wop band whose image is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web is to play its final gig.

Les Horribles Cernettes take their swansong at the Hardronic Festival at the Cern laboratory in Geneva - the birthplace of the web.

A picture of the women was uploaded to the web on 18 July, 1992, by web creator - and fan - Tim Berners-Lee.

He wanted it to test out the version of the web he was working on at Cern.

Press tornado

The band was founded in 1990 by Michele de Gennaro who worked at Cern as a graphic designer.

The group has won fame in scientific circles by performing at Cern social gatherings and physics conferences. The women sing classic 60s pop songs, as well as their own compositions such as Microwave Love, Collider and My Sweetheart is a Nobel Prize.

The gig on 21 July at the annual Cern music festival will be their first performance for five years - and is billed as their last.

Jim Halley, manager of the band, said there had been a huge upsurge of interest in the band because of the anniversary of the image being uploaded to the web.

The band was even featured on the US talkshow hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, said Mr Halley.

The growing interest has led the Cernettes to post a message on their website explaining their distress at the "press tornado" surrounding them. In particular, they took issue with a report on Motherboard about the circumstances surrounding the use of the image.

image captionThe band was formed to play at a music festival organised by Cern's staff in 1990

In the message, the Cernettes point out that no-one knows which photograph was the first to be uploaded to the web. However, they said, the image did have some significance for the history of the internet.

"This photo was one of those that changed the web, from a platform for physics documentation, to a media for our lives," they said.

"It was really one of the first," Mr Halley told the BBC. "Nobody has found anything else loaded before it - put it that way."

The picture was taken by Silvano de Gennaro, the husband of founder Michele, during the band's early days when he was trying to spread the word about them.

Mr Halley said he was advising the Cernettes to keep on gigging rather than give up on their musical careers. "The whole world has gone nuts for them," he said.

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