Massive Attack sees off old guard

ANYONE OVER 30 should stop reading here. As the year draws to a close and critics rush to catalogue the events, people and anthems of the year, a poll of Radio 1's listeners to find the all-time top 100 has chosen few of the old classics.

Instead of a familiar clutch of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley numbers, the chart paid homage to more modern bands. Even the perennial favourite, "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, failed to make it as Radiohead, The Verve and Manic Street Preachers took over the list.

Madonna's "Ray of Light" was voted in at number 71 and George Michael scraped in at number 99 with "Careless Whisper". But the only two old tracks to make it into the top 20 were Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and John Lennon's "Imagine".

The top slot was taken by Massive Attack's "Unfinished Symphony", followed by Nirvana, The Verve, Underworld and Radiohead. Oasis scored nine hits in the chart while Radiohead appeared six times and REM three.

A spokesman for Radio 1 said the chart reflected the station's younger listenership. "Our target audience is 15 to 24 and that is shown by the songs they selected," he said. "We were surprised but clearly people view bands like Oasis, The Verve and Radiohead as the new Beatles. They have written classics for a younger generation."

The station also asked celebrities including Cher and Bono to choose their favourite songs. Their choices yielded few surprises apart from Mick Hucknall of Simply Red who modestly chose his own track "Fairground". The band still failed to make it into the chart.

William Shakespeare and Sir Winston Churchill are among the nominees chosen by listeners of Radio 4's "Today" programme for British personality of the millennium.

Listeners can cast their final votes for the outstanding Briton of the past 1,000 years from 6am today. The result will be announced on 1 January.