The top 100 - Harry Secombe is hot, the Sex Pistols are not

Click to follow
The Independent Online
NO SURPRISES about the winners, then. With boring predictability, The Beatles were yesterday voted Britain's favourite music performers of all time, ahead of the equally predictable Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Queen and Elton John.

So much for the top five, but what about further down the list. What about No. 31 - Daniel O'Donnell? Or how about No. 48 - Michael Ball? And both ahead of the likes of Bruce Springsteen, the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder? And no Clash, Sex Pistols, T Rex or James Brown.

If there is anything that can be said about the survey carried out by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), it is that it certainly canvassed listeners of all ages. And tastes.

A total of 5,000 people were questioned face-to-face in their homes in April and May. The results were published yesterday by the middle-of-the- road pop and rock magazine Mojo.

Analysis of the full list shows that the British public prefer "the pleasant, the healing, the memorable and, above all, the radio-friendly," according to Mojo editor Mat Snow. "While many younger voters will have changed their minds since this survey was conducted, many older respondents obviously gave the same answer they would have done 20 years ago."

At least two generations of 1970s music fans seem to have been forgotten, with only David Bowie representing glam rock. Similarly, the only charting acts that could be described as remotely punk are Paul Weller and the Police, both of whom completely changed their images and their music after the safety-pin strewn 1970s. The stars of the 1980s seem to have lacked staying power. There is no Duran Duran, no Smiths and no Spandau Ballet on the list.

Golden oldies such as Mario Lanza, Glenn Miller, Nat King Cole, Harry Secombe and Vera Lynn get a good hearing. Sir Cliff Richard emerges as the true housewives' choice. His 96 votes included only nine from men - and just 12 from under 45s.

Nineties acts had to console themselves with lowly placings. Oasis were the favourites of the British youth, and the only Nineties band to make it to the Top 10. Celine Dion emerged as the most successful Nineties artist, winning 118 votes, 89 of which came from women.

The Beatles vote (five per cent) was fairly evenly split between men and women, mainly from the 45-54 age group and middle-class music lovers. Elvis got nearly as many votes from women as The Beatles, and fans of the King of Rock 'n' Roll tended to be more working class.

So what is it about Mr O'Donnell, who inspires women to queue for days to throw teabags at him? His spokeswoman, Alison Griffin, said: "He is a very nice man who sings nice songs, very nicely."


Britain's All-Time Favourites

1. The Beatles

2. Elvis Presley

3. Frank Sinatra

4. Queen

5. Elton John

6. Celine Dion

7. Cliff Richard

8. Oasis

9. Luciano Pavarotti

10. Phil Collins

11. George Michael

12. Nat King Cole

13. Bing Crosby

14. Michael Jackson

15. Shirley Bassey

16. Jim Reeves

17. The Rolling


18. Simply Red

19. Rod Stewart

20. Madonna

21. Abba

22. Neil Diamond

23. Bob Marley

24. U2

25. Diana Ross

26. Bon Jovi

27. Pink Floyd

28. Eric Clapton

29. David Bowie

30. Barbra Streisand

31. Daniel O'Donnell

32. The Carpenters

33. Dire Straits

34. Ella Fitzgerald

35. Placido Domingo

36. Boyzone

37. Wet Wet Wet

38. Tom Jones

39. Tina Turner

40. Backstreet Boys

41. Bob Dylan

42. Roy Orbison

43. Meat Loaf

44. Paul Weller

45. The Verve

46. Led Zeppelin

47. John Lennon

48. Michael Ball

49. Radiohead

50. M People

51. The Lighthouse


52. Michael Bolton

53. Status Quo

54. The Prodigy

55. Prince

56. Luther Vandross

57. R.E.M.

58. The Spice Girls

59. Fleetwood Mac

60. The Three Tenors

61. Glenn Miller

62. All Saints

63. Bryan Adams

64. Enya

65. Simon & Garfunkel

66. Lionel Richie

67. Whitney Houston

68. Paul McCartney

69. James Last

70. UB40

71. Matt Munro

72. Mario Lanza

73. Buddy Holly

74. The Eagles

75. The Stone Roses

76. Barry Manilow

77. Vera Lynn

78. Frankie Vaughan

79. Genesis

80. Bruce Spring steen

81. Perry Como

82. Paul Robeson

83. Nirvana

84. Johnny Mathis

85. Robbie Williams

86. Chris Rea

87. Kiri Te Kanawa

88. Stevie Wonder

89. Eternal

90. The Beautiful


91. Billy Joel

92. The Seekers

93. Take That

94. Harry Secombe

95. Jimi Hendrix

96. The Beach Boys

97. Alanis Morissette

98. Madness

99. Tammy Wynette

100. The Police

Compiled by the British Market Research Bureau for 'Mojo' magazine