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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 10:04 GMT
Queen declared 'top British band'
Queen's Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Zanzibar
Rockers Queen have beaten The Beatles to be crowned greatest British band of all time by BBC Radio 2 listeners.

They pipped the Fab Four in a live contest, trouncing other finalists The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Take That.

The bands were judged on song-writing, lyrics, live performances, originality and showmanship.

More than 20,000 listeners voted by email, text and phone. The five finalists had been selected over the previous week by Radio 2 listeners.

DJ Mark Goodier then hosted a three-hour live New Year's Day show in which a host of celebrity guests, including boy band McFly, joined listeners in debating who should win the title.

After all the votes had been totted up, the winner was then announced live on air - and it was revealed that Queen had beaten the Beatles by just 400 votes.

Queen, led by flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury, released a string of hit records throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s - including Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975, widely regarded as one of the best UK singles of all time.

Queen back in the studio

Mercury, who many saw as the star performer at 1985's Live Aid concert at Wembley, died from an Aids-related condition in 1991.

The band have continued, however, with former Free singer Paul Rodgers taking on the role of lead singer since 2004.

A Queen and Paul Rodgers album is expected sometime in the near future, after Brian May confirmed at the end of last year that they were going into the studio together.

Meanwhile, Queen-inspired musical We Will Rock You, which opened in London's West End in 2002, is still playing in theatres around the world.

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