Official: those golden oldies were the best

The baby-boomers' refrain that pop music has gone down hill since the Sixties has been confirmed by a poll of pop experts that seems to show the art of the single peaked in 1966.

The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" heads a list of the top 100 singles of all time as picked by more than 100 singers, songwriters, musicians and producers for this month's Mojo magazine.

Only one single released in the Nineties - "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana - makes it on the list. The rest is dominated by acts from the Sixties like The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

The Eighties does no better on the list than the Nineties, with "Just When Doves Cry" by Prince making the list. The Seventies do better thanks to a number of entries by David Bowie, but there is only "God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols to represent the entire punk and post-punk era. No dance music single from the last 10 years made the list.

But the magazine insists the music industry people questioned were not all ageing hippies and rock dinosaurs.

In fact those voting included Ian Broudie, lead singer of The Lightening Seeds, Noel Gallagher of Oasis and even former Take That star Gary Barlow.

"It wasn't just a bunch of old farts we questioned," said Mojo's features editor Paul Trynka. "It was a cross-section, although everyone who voted had to have a good number of hits themselves.

"The Sixties singles did well because there's more unanimity about hits from the Sixties. Musical genres now have splintered and people named all sorts of different bands from the Nineties."

Mr Trynka believes Nirvana did well because that one song invented the "grunge" movement and had a huge influence across all sorts of styles of music.

But he thinks the art of the pop single could be little improved on after the Beach Boys: "Like any art form the principles are established fairly soon. By 1968 they had done everything that could be done with a single. Even if you look at experimental techniques used by musicians like The Chemical Brothers its hard to say they're coming up with anything more complex than `Good Vibrations'."

Paul McCartney, one of those surveyed, told Mojo that "Good Vibrations" and the group's album Pet Sounds were phenomenal: "It really was a big turn on for me. I can still listen to it and go sheeit, how did he ever think of that."

And proving the breadth of the single's appeal, John Squire of Nineties Indie band The Seahorses, described it as "Spine tinglingly inspired. A complete masterpiece."

"Good Vibrations" and Pet Sounds were largely the inspiration of Brian Wilson, who used the special effects stand-by from sci-fi movies, the Theremin, on the track to give the "vibration" sound. He was also one of the first musicians to use an eight-track recording equipment to mix multiple layers of sound and create what he described himself as a "pocket symphony".

The Mojo top 50

1 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys, (1966)

2 Strawberry Fields Forever/ Penny Lane - The Beatles (1967)

3 Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan, (1965)

4 Be My Baby - The Ronettes, (1963)

5 I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye, (1968)

6 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones, (1965)

7 Hey Jude/Revolution - The Beatles, (1968)

8 River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner, (1966)

9 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana, (1991)

10 What's Going On - Marvin Gaye, (1971)

11 Don't Worry Baby - The Beach Boys, (1964)

12 Hey Joe - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, (1966)

13 You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers, (1964)

14 I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles, (1963)

15 Respect - Aretha Franklin, (1967)

16 Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley, (1956)

17 (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding, (1967)

18 Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen, (1975)

19 Mr Tambourine Man - The Byrds, (1965)

20 God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols, (1977)

21 Family Affair - Sly And The Family Stone, (1972)

22 A Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum, (1967)

23 Dancing In The Street - Martha & The Vandellas, (1964)

24 Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran, (1958)

25 That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly & The Crickets, (1957)

26 When Doves Cry - Prince, 1984

27 Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones, (1968)

28 God Only Knows - The Beach Boys, (1966)

29 Paperback Writer/Rain - The Beatles, (1966)

30 You Really Got Me - The Kinks, (1964)

31 A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke, (1964)

32 Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops,

33 I Can't Stand The Rain - Ann Peebles, (1973)

34 Heroes - David Bowie, (1977)

35 Papa's Got A Brand New Bag - James Brown, (1965)

36 Imagine - John Lennon, (1975)

37 Superstition - Stevie Wonder, (1972)

38 Runaway - Del Shannon, (1961)

39 Space Oddity - David Bowie, (1969)

40 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen, (1975)

41 Green Onions - Booker T And The MGS, (1962)

42 Why Do Fools Fall In Love - Frankie Lymon And The Teenagers, (1956)

43 Purple Haze - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, (1967)

44 Cathy's Clown - Everly Brothers, (1960)

45 Let's Stay Together - Al Green, (1971)

46 Something In The Air - Thunderclap Newman, (1969)

47 Stay With Me - Lorraine Ellison, (1966)

48 I Want You Back - The Jackson 5, (1969)

49 Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell, (1969)

50 Honky Tonk - Bill Doggett, (1956)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Project Engineer

£33000 - £35000 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Project E...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Technician

£35200 per annum + Pension and holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Engine...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing specialist merchant co...


£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £50k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 bus...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'