Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, April 21, 1999 Published at 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK


Beatles lyrics last a lifetime

Songs by the Beatles came out top in a national poll

The Beatles' Love Me Do still rings true for music fans whereas the Spice Girls' Wannabe just doesn't make the grade.

A poll for the National Year of Reading found the lyrics by groups like The Beatles and Abba are still more popular than words written by more recent pop artists.

"The Beatles are a Shakespeare for the 20th century," said Helen Reddington, lecturer in commercial music at the University of Westminster.

[ image: The Spice Girls polled 2% of the vote]
The Spice Girls polled 2% of the vote
"Their appeal spans generations and their lyrics are as accessible today as they were 30 years ago to a different generation."

The Beatles gained 31% of votes in the country-wide survey for songs such as Eleanor Rigby, When I'm Sixty-Four and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Abba, famous for hits such as Waterloo, Money, Money, Money and Dancing Queen polled 17%.

The project director of the National Year of Reading, Liz Attenborough, said: "This survey shows just how much people really enjoy reading and understanding good lyrics and think about the words and meaning of songs, as well as the music.

"There are some truly inspiring lyrics in songs of past and present - if you look closely at some of the most popular lyrics, they can quite justifiably be described as modern poetry."

Robbie Williams championed the cause of modern music, trailing Abba by just 1% but the Spice Girls and fellow all-girl band All Saints pulled in 2% of the vote each and Madonna had 5%.

One 1960s great who was considered a true poet but did not make it to the top was Bob Dylan, who won 10% of the vote.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Entertainment Contents

TV and Radio
New Media

Relevant Stories

14 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Spice Girls announce tour

14 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Lennon named greatest singer

07 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Have Abba had their day? Your reaction

06 Apr 99 | Entertainment
Bruch and Beatles top radio polls

Internet Links

National Year of Reading

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.