Madonna out of vogue with Radio 4 listeners

The singer fails to make the public's top 100 Desert Island Discs
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The Independent Culture

Her mantelpiece may be heaving with Grammys and Novello awards and she may have millions of fans worldwide but Madonna has failed to win a much tougher audience: Radio 4 listeners.

The singer is one of many well-known musicians who have failed to make the grade in the British public's Desert Island Discs.

A list of Britons' favourite 100 tracks and artists was announced by the BBC yesterday after listeners were invited to vote online. Madonna failed to make either the top 100 artists or tracks.

Her agent, Barbara Charone, refused to comment on the news, but Phil Alexander, editor of Mojo magazine said he wasn't surprised by the snub: "Why would Radio 4 listeners listen to Madonna?"

More than 25,000 people went online to choose the eight tracks they would take to an imaginary desert island after the Your Desert Island Discs initiative was launched in May.

While Madonna was the only household name who failed to make either the top 100 artists or tracks, many major bands and singers failed to make the most popular track list.

Among them were Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Radiohead, Coldplay and U2.

The Beatles were the most voted for pop artists and also had the most songs in the top 100 – "Hey Jude", "In My Life", "Here Comes the Sun", "Yesterday", "Strawberry Fields", "Eleanor Rigby" and "Let It Be".

Bob Dylan was the most popular solo male artist with "Like a Rolling Stone", which came 25th in the track list. The most popular track by a solo female artist was Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You", in 93rd place.

Around a third of the top 100 artists were classical composers, the most popular being Beethoven, who was the third most requested artist after the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Mozart came fourth.

Music journalist and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said: "In the case of popular music, listeners have chosen tracks that are substantial and ambitious. They feel comfortable professing affection for rock epics rather than mere hit singles."

On classical music, however, Britons were much more patriotic. "When it comes to classical, they are loyal to English composers," said Gambaccini. "Six out of the top 10 are by Englishmen. This is not to say Radio 4 listeners prefer Vaughan Williams to Beethoven or Elgar to Mozart. In total votes for all works, the German and the Austrian are ahead. It's simply that when it comes to taking particular pieces to a desert island, our listeners want to be reminded of their home country."