The first UK Music Hall of Fame is to open in November as part of a Channel 4 prime-time Saturday night TV series.
Abba could be among contenders for the hall of fame
A shortlist of artists from the last six decades will be drawn up by a panel of music experts to compete for a place in the final.
A new series will be aired annually, with several acts from each year's final being inaugurated into the Hall of Fame based on a public vote.
Artists can be any nationality as long as they have had success in the UK.
Possible contenders are likely to include Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Abba, Queen and U2.
Shortlists will be drawn up from record sales, critical acclaim, entertainment value and reputation in live performance and songwriting.
Each year of programming on Channel 4 will climax in a live event featuring collaborations, classic renditions and special tributes.
Frank Sinatra could get some votes from the panel
The panel of experts will consist of artists, music journalists, broadcasters and industry executives.
Among them is broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, who said: "I have been waiting for a UK music hall of fame ever since The Beatles broke up and gave way to a new generation of stars.
"Britain is a world leader in both producing and enjoying popular music and deserves its own hall of fame."
There are also plans to open a UK Music Hall of Fame venue at an undisclosed site.
The programme is being made by production company Initial, which made shows like Fame Academy. It is part of Endemol, the UK's biggest independent production company which made Big Brother.