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Monday, January 4, 1999 Published at 15:49 GMT


Music of the millennium

"Vote if you don't want the Spice Girls to win" say the organisers

Liam Gallagher and Luciano Pavarotti are among the favourites in a poll to decide the most influential musician of all time.

The year-long Music Of The Millennium survey - backed by Channel 4, Classic FM and the HMV retail chain - will be launched on 18 January. Organisers are hoping they can involve listeners of all persuasions in the poll.

[ image: Luciano Pavarotti: Opera connoisseurs are being encouraged]
Luciano Pavarotti: Opera connoisseurs are being encouraged
HMV senior marketing manager Comac Loughran said: "We want it to run like an election - along the lines of encouraging people to join in if they don't want the Spice Girls to get in."

There will also be a series of programmes on Channel 4 in which celebrities will talk about the music which changed their lives, followed by a phone number for votes.

HMV is planning to put half a million leaflets in its stores, as well as 25 million bags which will act as vote forms. On radio, Classic FM will run a telephone poll alongside special features.

As well as the traditional categories of best song, album, band and vocalist, there will also be titles for best songwriter, jazz performer, classical piece and classical composer.

National talking point

But organisers are hoping the Most Influential Musician of the Millennium category will create a national talking point.

Mr Loughran added: "To some people that could be the Spice Girls, but they could equally choose Bach or Caruso.

[ image: Liam Gallagher: Rock fans still welcome to vote as well]
Liam Gallagher: Rock fans still welcome to vote as well
"It's really saying, 'Who started the trend that made all this possible? Where did it all come from?'

"The involvement of Classic FM gives a slightly different flavour to the campaign. For Best Male Vocalist, they're going to be pushing for Pavarotti rather than Liam Gallagher."

Last year HMV ran a poll in which 36,000 people voted for their favourite album of all time - but now organisers want a broader poll to cover all kinds of music.

"We've tried to segment it a bit more in the categories because there is a usually a dominance of rock and pop in these surveys. In the album survey we found The Beatles, Radiohead and The Stone Roses were at the top with lots of other perennial favourites.

"We'll be using our stores as polling stations. It's real 'state of the nation' stuff where we're going to make a social statement and see what effect music has had on people," said Mr Loughran.

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