Cowell, the king of pap pop, reveals his desert island tunes

He is responsible for such crimes against musical taste as "So Macho" by Sinitta, "Everybody Get Up" by 5ive and the warblings of Robson and Jerome.

But the music on Simon Cowell's own iPod could not be more different.

On BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs this morning, Cowell reveals his love for classic pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s. He describes Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love With You" as "the sexiest song ever". French singer Charles Aznavour's "She" is described as "one of the most beautiful songs of all time".

The acts from which he made part of his £50m fortune are conspicuous by their absence. There is just one modern song: Daniel Bedingfield's "If You're Not the One" which he says is "one of the most perfect pop songs of all time".

His favourite is Bobby Darin's version of "Mack the Knife" which he argues is "the best song ever made".

But Cowell slams his contemporaries. "The shark pool is not the media, the shark pool is some of the people who work in this business who are absolutely vile, vile people," he says.

He speaks frankly about shows such as X-Factor, saying: "It is like the outpatients of an insane asylum sometimes. I mean you just think, is this a joke?"He also admits that he was a horrible child who set his home on fire when he was four.

COWELL'S CHOICE

Bobby Darin "Mack the Knife"; Herb Alpert "This Guy's in Love With You"; Charles Aznavour "She"; Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody"; Wayne Newton "Danke Schoen"; Daniel Bedingfield "If You're Not the One"; Sammy Davis Jr "Mr Bojangles"; Frank Sinatra "Summer Wind"

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