`Yesterday' is best song of century

THE BEATLES' hit "Yesterday" has been voted the 20th Century's top song in a new poll, the results of which are being broadcast over the Easter weekend.

Using a combination of listeners' choices, favourites picked by a panel of songwriters and sales figures, BBC Radio 2 has produced a list of the top 100 songs of the past 100 years.

The poll focuses on songs themselves rather than particular artists' versions of them, and they are listed by songwriters rather than the bands or singers who performed them.

Top of the tree is "Yesterday", penned by John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney - probably the world's most celebrated songwriting partnership. The ballad, written in 1965, is the most covered song of all time, with more than 2,000 different versions.

In second place - perhaps a surprise choice - is the 1929 ballad "Star Dust" by the American composer Hoagy Carmichael.

Third place is claimed by Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water", with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" fourth.

Sir Elton John's "Candle In The Wind" appears at number 13, with the Queen hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" 18th.

Other classics of the 1960s and 1970s such as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "American Pie" are represented, along with wartime favourites such as "Keep The Home Fires Burning" and "A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square".

Only two tunes from the 1990s make the century's top 100 - Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On".

Paul Gambaccini presented the first instalment in a full rundown of the poll on his Radio 2 show yesterday, and will continue tomorrow between 5pm and 8pm and on Easter Monday from 12 noon to 2pm.