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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Your views: 50 years of British pop
The Queen is celebrating her Golden Jubilee this year but who has been the best British music act during her 50 year reign?
There are plenty of stalwarts who are still going strong - Rolling Stones, Sir Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and Sir Elton John, to name a few.
Some are no more but have changed the face of British music forever, like The Beatles.
Or what about more recent successes, like Fatboy Slim, Robbie Williams, or Oasis?
Perhaps you do not rate any of the above - and think other musicians have made a greater mark.
Tell us what you think.
Who is your favourite?
BBC News Online users had their say.
Depending on your definition of "pop", you could easily add U2, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd or Yes to the list. The British music industry has been teeming with influential acts over the past 50 years. The list is endless.
Although the Beatles tend to get the sympathy vote a lot of their songs range from naive to crass. Their period of creativity was only 6 years.
For me Bowie has produced more memorable songs, has had a greater influence on culture generally and lasted the course - I would not be surprised to see another rebirth!
Lots of great music have come from Great Britain. We Yanks have a lot to thank you for culturally (in general anyway). But I think the very best of the very best has to be The Beatles.
You seemed to have gone for a very small list. forgetting the international influence of bands like Led Zeppelin etc.
Such polls as this are a little pointless given the towering achievements of the Beatles
Ahummm... and where is Sting?
Chris Carson, USA
How could you possibly leave out Led Zeppelin?
Although your list fails to mention them, the greatest band has to be Pink Floyd. Without indulging in any commercial exploitation or egotistic antics, at the height of their fame, after the "Dark Side.." album, they could still walk down the street almost unrecognised!
No competition there. Most of the artists on the list would not have existed, had it not been for The Beatles. So! The Beatles it is.
Michael Gavin, Germany
why is it that the only definition of good used in the vote seems to be commercially successful (in several cases mostly as a result of teenage buyers - I was one myself once). I'm happy to agree that Queen, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Sting and several other commercially successful acts have an enduring popularity built on more than hype but other less successful acts do as well. I think the story on Clifford T Ward's Home Thoughts From Abroad says it all really.
Not commercially successful but, in an open poll, received more votes than any Beatles song. The top ten of that same poll features nothing from the past 25 years and you have to get to number 25 to find anything from the past ten years. Well, I suppose it was a Radio 2 poll, but I'll bet it better reflects a true measure of real popularity. If it was an open vote I'd be deciding between Everything But The Girl, The Housemartins, The Beautiful! South, Deacon Blue (maybe), Ian McNabb, The Icicle Works, Van Morrison, Talk Talk (at least for their last few albums) plus some of the more commercially successful artists you'd expect to get a large vote.
Whilst others have given more spectacular shows, no other group in the world has had the lasting impact on popular music that the Beatles have achieved.
Let's not forget the early 70s with Marc Bolan and T Rex of course who dominated the charts.
The Beatles beyond a doubt, when I was young they were Gods
The Beatles. The Beatles. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The list offered is as cliche as classic rock radio. Perhaps in 10 years you'll throw on Human League. How's this for a List: Roxy Music, T Rex, Jethro Tull, Tricky, The Who, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, The Fall,
The Clash, The Specials.
It's a bit too one end of the spectrum but at least it takes some risks.
Needless to say, Pet Shop Boys, the best duo of all time!
Surely, The Who rank as one of the best...On stage they are peerless, with an energy and musical assertion that is memorable and unmatched. Few bands today have the ability to play, even fewer can play live; those that can are dull to watch. Recent performances have shown that they can still out-gun the rest.
The list is far too short. Some of the most influential musical groups have been bands like Pink Floyd and even Black Sabbath, bands that have easily bridged generations and influenced many other musicians. While the Beatles were an outstanding band they have been placed on a pedestal which means they are now out of reach to other worthy acts. There is no best song or band ever and at the end of the day it's all about the music.
Are we talking quality or sales? If quality, then I'd nominate Van Morrison or John Martyn way above many of your choices here.
The Beatles; no other act comes close. Their accomplishments still stagger after 35 years.
Can someone please tell me where the Smiths, Stone Roses, The Jam and The Police are? This poll is remarkably similar to the jubilee itself, a joke!
The answer is simple: There can be no question the Beatles are the greatest pop music act during the Queen's reign. I'll bet the Queen herself would agree.
Who's the best is impossible to say, the UK has produced a truly endless list of talent, but as far as influence, that has to be Beatles. Followed by Queen, I'd say. Now, what's really interesting is why didn't any other country manage to produce anything similar? The US is the closest culturally and they've done nothing of the kind. The rock music is British, period. Why? Is there anything special about the Brits in general? Nope. Why music then? I'd like the others to contemplate and comment on that, rather than the really meaningless "who's the best" question.
Give me the Kinks. With a side of John Mayall.
Beatles sympathy vote?! Beatles songs naive?! Will obviously wasn't around in the 60s or he'd know that what The Beatles did was new and better than anyone else at the time. They dominated world music in a way no-one else except Elvis ever has - far more than the talented Mr Bowie has.
Never regarded as pop, but where the hell are Led Zeppelin?
Whilst the Beatles were successful for a short period of time in the sixties, with the exception of one Paul McCartney, the likes of the Bee Gees have had hits through the sixties to the present date. Queen, The Sirs (Cliff and Elton), The Stones, Bowie have all been around and have stood the test of time - will the same be said of George, Fat Boy, Oasis and Robbie? Time will tell but i somehow doubt it!
We have produced great rock bands, and for me THE rock anthem is Alright Now by Free.
What about the likes of Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield or Shirley Bassey?? Are ladies not to be included?
British rock bands have been always among to produce best. But The Beatles are really special.
Among hardcore music snobs, I'm sure some might pick Bowie. I can see the now-middle-aged, 1960's "cool" folks hooting for The Stones, who were probably tired of The Beatles. I can see young people going for George Michael, Robbie Williams, and Fatboy Slim (although I've heard of their names, I assume they're popular youth culture than music), and they shouldn't be in this list for "the best of the past 50 years." and Elton John, sure.
But where's The Who? They led the mod craze among Britian's youth during the 60s and even now, mod culture's popular. Some people already mentioned Zeppelin, but only rockers would think Zeppelin as the greatest. Don't know why you guys picked Oasis, since they probably would be there if The Beatles didn't exist.
Any article containing the Spice Girls should be under Business/Entertainment/Showbiz rather than Music. Queen, maybe great for couple of their songs that reached people. Cliff Richards, sure, a classic. And why's Rod Stewa! rt! in that list? Anyway, my point is The Beatles. It's a waste to even conduct this poll, being you guys are "The BBC". Do a search in the BBC's archives and you get 290 search results. I'm not going to try the others but please do let me know if any one of these people top that.
No offence anybody, and I sure don't know if my theory applies to the British people but I think, especially internationally, the four Beatles are bigger than any member of the Royal Family, combined.
Caroline Hoffmann, Scotland
How can the integrity of the British Pop industry be taken seriously when the likes of Robbie Williams and he Spice Girls, for example, have achieved far greater commercial succes than genuine song-writing talent such as Paul Weller or Lloyd Cole?
In these kind of polls I wonder why there's never even a mention of bands like Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, not to mention Pink Floyd.
Over the past 30 years Rod Stewart has been as loyal to his fans as they have to him. He has toured almost non-stop since the seventies and made some brilliant albums on the way. It's a shame he has such a dodgy reputation due to his tabloid friendly image which he has never really courted.
Depends on whether by "pop act" you mean live or not. In this, there are many other bands who were/are an experience live. Oh, and although Jimi Hendrix wasn't British himself, the other two thirds of the band were.....so surely they could be considered British?
Why have you put Oasis on the list and not Blur, whose musical achievements, ability and song writing FAR outweigh that of the 'Beatle Wannabie Brothers.'
30 years of Bryan Ferry and still going strong
Tokyo Elvis, Japan
Elton John!!!! No doubt about it. He is the greatest of all times.
Though very very unfashionable, you can't beat sheer number of record sales and eternal longevity - therefore surely the greatest pop star ever is Sir Cliff
In my humble opinion, Hank Marvin And the Shadows (Jet Harris) influenced most of the performers from Britain and the rest of the world.When it comes to the guitar Hank Marvin (and or) Duane Eddy brought it to the front.
It is obviously the Beatles, a band so great in muse and music since the early 60s, that many people who are detractors merely are blinded by the overall every day scope of Beatle music and it's influence on modern culture today. The Beatles wave affected social movement. All of us today somehow are influenced by The Beatles and their music. Those who look elsewhere need only a microscope and a telescope to refine their vision and find a root to the Rock & Roll tree, there they will see the Beatles.
Everyone knows that the Stones are the greatest...for the last 40 years, even though in this country, we always seem to criticise them. However as Mick and Keith said "You can't always get what you want..". Finally how can you put in Robbie Williams, Spice Girls, FatboySlim and leave out the legends such as: Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin, The Who etc. Unbelievable!!!
It's got to be Joe Dolce!!!!...or maybe Rolf Harris!
Rod the Mod Stewart is the one, great singer and he loves your sport FOOTBALL!
So much depends on your own musical tastes, but I think without question, The Beatles are by far the most influencial pop group of all time. So much came together in that period of time ( the sixties ) that influenced society, but also them. The colaboration of Lennon and McCartney along with Harrison and Starr was like the planets lining up precisely, resulting in a rare series of events that led to a catyclismic, synergistic explosion of musical composition unheard of before. So many talents have come and gone, but non like The Beatles. They are the Beethovens of our time.
Peter Gabriel!!! from Trespass to Ovo and everything in between.
Where is Paul Weller, Britain's finest songwriter/performers of the last 25 years and the only living legend with any scrap of integrity left?
You left out the Moody Blues, who are still going strong. Shame on you!
Keith Harris, end of.
I would like to vote for The Moody Blues. I wish you had them in the list to vote for.
Queen ARE one of BEST bands EVER and
Freddie was a born performer.
Wish Italy had just one like them with hafe thier talent.
Queen have given so such global music contribution, but it is fair to say there are many more great groups and artists that should be mentioned and not forgotton.
Lisa Bosques, USA
The finest band ever to grace the charts in this country has to be Squeeze. The writing team of Difford and Tilbrook is far superior and more sophisticated than either Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards. Under-acclaimed and underplayed, Squeeze get my vote any day. Bit of a "shed man" Chris?'
The best British rock star of all time is Mick Jagger of course!!! I also love the Rolling Stones.
I definitely think Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd should be up there with Deep Purple and Rainbow. Britain has produced visionaries/ rock stars/dreamers.
I'd say it has to be The Beatles. Without a doubt, the best musicians are from the U.K. I would I'd Marc Bolan to your list - he being of T-Rex fame - lots of music was influenced by him and his band!
One of the most influential bands during my lifetime were the Sex Pistols, appropriately enough for the Golden Jubilee celebrations. They inspired literally hundreds of bands, and their musical influence is still evident in the rock music of today.
As an American, I just want to THANK your native sons, for all the great music they have made!!! There are countless British musicians in every genre, which have inspired millions all over the world!!! For myself, I would have to say it is all the great classic rock groups of the 60¿s and 70¿s. I wish I could list them all, but unfortunately there isn¿t that much space available.
Frank, Atlanta, GA USA
The Smiths. End of story. They were the quintessential English band of the past 40 years. They were not ashamed of their "Englishness" if there is a word. They celebrated Northern England's grit, pathos, humour and determination without apologies. Morrissey's wit and Marr's poetic guitar were a brief yet beautifully, brilliant musical partnership.
Although The Beatles are often considered the greatest British band of all time, in my opinion, Queen were always much bigger, much more creative, wrote much better songs and had the greatest members ever in rock, plus the greatest guitarist in the history of the world!!
Most of the music worth listening comes from the UK. It would be impossible to pick one artist amongst all the great talent that has come, keeps comming and hopefully will continue to come from the greatest musical nation in the world.
In my opinion the Beatles is the greatest band from UK,but there are other bands which are worth mentioning here,such as Pink Floyd, Queen,etc.
U2 aren't British... does this perhaps show the problem with polls like this, ignorance of the voting public of large portions of the subject. Having said that, I'd still vote for The Beatles.
George Michael has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. His music (and of course that stunning voice of his) has always been there to get me through the roughest of times. I couldn't imagine life without him and his music so I sincerely hope he'll be around for another 20 years.
Why has the appeal of the Beatles lasted so long?
When we all know that the true "God" is still with us and making music that is relevant!!! Vote for Bowie...nobody else really matters.
Oasis are by far the most influential of the last 10 years. They have been the biggest, best and played to the the most people. Knebworth anybody? Wembley? No other band can sell out tickets at a rate of 700 a minute. It's unfashionable to vote Oasis because they are of recent times, but come on!
Obviously it's Cliff Richard - he was the first non-American Rock'n'Roll singer, starting out in 1958 (you could hear Move it when the 50s float passed by), he was a kind of pioneer for all the other stars, and he is still around - successful, performing different styles of music and having number one hits in all past five decades!!!
(I miss the Kinks too...).
Why the Spice Girls, Robbie Williams, Fat Boy Slim? And not The Who, Pink Floyd, Led Zepellin? Anyway, The Beatles and Oasis are the winners!
Without a doubt, The Bee Gees.They are and always will be the greatest!
I think it's time that Cliff Richard is mentioned here again! He is the best and always will be! No other performer in Britain had hits in six decades! He even had seven number one hits before the Beatles had their first! Not to mention that each number one hit was longer in the charts than 15 weeks at that time.
The best band ever, no matter what the category, is of course Queen! They had everything! Their music still lives on, and since it's so non-repetitive, everyone can find something they like. Never, before or after, have four so talented musicians come together. Never has anyone done such wonderful, unforgettable music!
For me it is Sir Cliff Richard.
He was there from the beginning and still is. The Beatles stopped for a long time and Cliff is still going strong. He is still the owner from the Guinness Book of Records in the UK for the most sold records ever. And also for his sold out concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, he sold out in two days for 30 concerts at the RAH last year. That's a record too. Cliff, you will be always number one for me!!!!
I think QUEEN are the best! All their songs are great, they are the best!
This list is way to small...where are the Bee Gees for example? The thing about a poll like this is that there isn't just ONE band who are best in 50 years, there are so many greats.
Barbara Kim, Canada
And do you think there is need to comment? Come on!
Cliff Richard has given many people a lot of pleasure. Our first British rock'n'roll singer. He has changed and adapted with the times Great sell-out concerts, many hit singles and albums. He also does great charity work.
Where are the Velvet Underground in your poll, without them there would have been no Stones, Bowie etc, ask the greats who their musical influences are and they will say the Velvet Underground. Heroin was the most seminal, ahead of its time, brilliant piece of music in both its subject matter and its lyrics. I also agree with Liam Core from Ireland - where are the Stone Roses, The Smiths etc. and Jimi Hendrix? Queen's anthemic stadium rock cannot touch any of the above.
The Beatles, followed by Oasis. Two completely different bands - the fab Four set the standard which no band since have reached, but Oasis have come closer than any other.
Ian Dick, Scotland
Oasis is the only band to consistently churn out ballads as beautiful as The Beatles and rock songs as rockin' as the Rolling Stones. Considering The Beatles will take the top spot - my vote is for Oasis.
For me Queen is the biggest (British) band of all time.
They have made so many fantastic songs, which are at the same time really diverse. I just love Queen
Peter , Germany
Yes the Beatles, but let's not forget the Gallagher brothers, people who are older and like the Beatles always turn their nose up at them. I just say listen to some of the B sides and you can see why they are one of the greatest. And why are the Spice Girls on there?
God save the Kinks! They have remained the most consistently listenable band since their 1963 inception, but it's a pity Ray's best tunes are those least played by the media.....
Oasis. Enough said.
I don't agree with the fact that you can only vote from a small list of bands, who decided the line up? How can you not include The Who? They shaped the minds of millions!
There's no competition in my eyes - it has to be Cliff. What other artist has sales and success as great as Cliff?He gets a raw deal and should be given more respect.
Patty Perrín, Mexico
Queen are without a doubt the most interesting band of them all. There is nothing that they haven't done. There will never be a band like it again. We followed them right from the start and still do today. If Freddie was still alive today, they would be the British Institution.
The two greatest bands of all time are The Beatles and Queen! However, for their superior music and live performances I think Queen just edge it!
Just because the Beatles have been around for a long time (albeit one member) doesn't mean the are the best. I would put Manic Street Preachers up there as my favourite. Followed closely by Blur and for the record Stereophonics have a much better version of "Handbags and Gladrags" than Rod Stewart.
I think Goldie deserves a mention. We'll look back on his Timeless album as a masterpiece.
Well, you guys did it again, leaving out Quo. Really can't figure that one out. They still tour more that any other name on the list, and they still pack huge arenas averywhere in Europe. And nobody's had more hits in the UK. Tastes may differ, but facts are there. I don't need Quo to win a poll like this, but they should at least be in it.
Excuse me! How about the great Ray Davies and the Kinks??? Original sound and lyrics. In my humble opinion they recorded some of the greatest pop songs to come out of England!
I'm sorry but Mr Robbie Williams does not even come close to the achievements of some of our finest musicians - has anyone even considered the genius that is Kate Bush?
Thom Yorke and Radiohead
Rod Stewart is the best without a shadow of a doubt. He is still alive! He still tours! Still makes interesting records (even if they don't get played on Radio 1)! And still plays hundreds of concerts every year. He's had more hit singles than the Beatles and every album he has released in the past 30 years has made the UK Top 10. Earlier this year he was one of the few Brits in the USA Top 40. But most of all his voice is THE rock 'n' roll voice. He's been around nearly 40 years and he'll be around a lot longer to come.
Why aren't Sabbath, Purple etc. there. They are a million times better than some of the people listed e.g Robbie. I'm actually embarrassed about our current music state, as it seems as though we are going through the motions and churning out crap. Anyway, since I was brought up on Queen my choice is going to be Queen, I think they are superior in their music styles, lyrics, the flamboyancy of the whole orchestra that is their music, very admirable and inspiring.
He is not just a pop star, but he has turned into a cultural and popular icon for the British life of the last 44 years.
Jack Doherty, Canada
Elton John without a shadow of a doubt
George Michael¿s music has been on top of my list for the past 20 years! A quintessential songwriter, a fabulous singer! GREAT!He¿s my 1st pick in any list!
But anyway, where is Sting?
Typical to see the Beatles in there - are people afraid to use their brains and actually realise they were nothing special at all? I agree with Will's comments about the naivety of their songs - I can't see why a band who wrote songs about wanting to be a trashy paperback novelist can be considered remotely "influential."
Where are the Smiths? Or the Who? Or Black Sabbath? Or Led Zeppelin? Sting? Nice to see the North of England is completely unrepresented. Also, where are the women???
Another "best artists" list that just settles for the obvious names...
There's only one choice for me - Moody Blues! Why aren't they in your poll?!
No Radiohead? Shame on you BBC.
There are so many that could be mentioned, but even though they were a bit before my time, I would have to say Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).
Duran Duran have always done well on these polls. They won the BBC vote for the best Top of the Pops performance, their 90s hit single, Ordinary World was voted in at number 15 on the Best of British Jubilee countdown. I was surprised not to see the button there - although naturally, I'd be voting for the Stones....!
It's got to be the Moody Blues. If only they had been at the Party at the Palace last night, it would have improved things immensely. They recently finished a sell-out three week tour of the UK - not that the press took any notice. I went to several gigs and they rocked, be it John Lodge's Singer or Isn't Life Strange? or Justin Hayward's classic ballad Nights in White Satin.
How can you possibly forget the Kinks?! They were the quintessence of Englishness and wrote some of the best pop songs of the 60ss and 70s.
Cat Stevens, one of the most prolific, interesting, positive singer/songwriters wasn't on your list. His music is timeless and his life as Cat Stevens and now Yusuf Islam is a wonderful example of generosity of kindness.
The Smiths, undoubtedly....
The Clash, David Bowie, Billy Bragg, The Filth. What about The Filth? I love The Filth, and they have inspired everybody from The Smiths and The Stone Roses, to The Hives and Green Day.
What on earth possessed anyone to include The Spice Girls (manufactured and past their sell-by date) and Fat Boy Slim (talented, but only a relative newcomer) in this list of "Greatest" ?
I have enjoyed the music of more than one talented singer from the U.K., but Cliff Richard is my favourite. He has a fantastic voice to work with. Cliff Richard may have had little publicity here in the U.S., but definitely has the broadest range of talent I have heard. He has spanned the decades without being hopelessly caught up in one style of music. He paved the way for the Beatles in the U.K., and I am especially impressed that he has a strong faith and reaches out to care about and share with others.
As a teacher, I think that Cliff offers a fantastic role model and example of success and longevity in a music business which becomes increasingly fickle. Children still sing Congratulations and Summer Holiday with gusto as well as knowing Christmas classics like Mistletoe and Wine and the Millenium Prayer. He is and will be for a long time a credit to the British music business. (54 years strong, can't be wrong).
No one comes close to touching the mighty Queen!! They are ultimately the best band in the world and will last a lifetime, and in my opinion, will last longer than the Beatles will.
Oasis is the best British band of the last 10 years. Oasis will live forever.
In recent years the dance scene has become far bigger than rock and indie yet there's no mention of any dance acts in the list or in this post. For my money the likes of Massive Attack, Orbital, the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Underworld should be up for nomination.
I think that Cliff Richard is simply the best! He is the ONLY ONE survivor from the fifties that is STILL making hits today.
He is the best example of hard and constant work through these decades. He is an example to other artists too (younger and older). Definitely Cliff Richard is the king of Rock and Pop Britain! Why? Because he is simply the pioneer and the FIRST in the British Rock and Pop music history like Elvis in America.
It's good to see the shortfalls of the poll being so clearly brought to the fore. How can anyone who's only been around a few years - and is the subject of a more commercial marketplace - be listed alongside the likes of The Beatles and Queen. The list IS too short and unimaginative. Away from the commercial aspect, who's best is a personal thing. For me Keith Emerson and everything he has done (the NICE, ELP and all there after) and his impact on modern music cannot go overlooked.
Cliff Richard is the most successful living BRITISH artist of all time and is still churning out some terrific music! Long may he continue!
For me there is no doubt that this title has to go to Sir Cliff, Cliff and the Shadows were the first ever British pop idol band. Cliff was England's answer to Elvis!!!!!! How many of today's younger musicians can say that they will be going strong after 42 years? So I would like to say carry on rocking Sir Cliff.
Here the most popular band is Queen, and after come the Beatles. Queen - all their musicans were great, they did original things, for example they added operatic voices, and their songs were anthems, Freddie Mercury was the best singer of all time in my opinion, and Brian May one of the best guitarists.
Much as though the Beatles came first and "hit" more people, to me, Queen are the band that "pushed the envelope" as they proved at Live Aid, and more recently, only without their fondly remembered lead singer, at Party At The Palace. They stole both shows, no questions asked. True pioneers of music!
Although the Beatles wrote all their own songs, whilst Cliff didn't, Cliff has to be the greatest British act of all time! He sings from the depths of his soul and can communicate any emotion:-joy or sadness, to the listener. Whilst "Yesterday" is very moving, the beauty of "Miss You Nights" or "Ocean Deep" make me faint. Cliff's voice is staggeringly beautiful!
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