Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Desert discs drought for music trio

Stars including the late Michael Jackson have failed to get a single song into a top 100 list compiled by listeners of Desert Island Discs

Stars including Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Madonna all failed to get a single song in a top 100 Desert Island Discs playlist chosen by listeners to the show.

The acts, who have more than 150 top 40 hits between them, all missed out on a place on the track list after more than 25,000 people took the chance to select the discs they would want if they were marooned on the fictional island.

The top three choices were Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, Nimrod from Sir Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations and Beethoven's Symphony No 9 in D minor.

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb rounded off the top five.

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said: "In the case of popular music, listeners have chosen tracks that are substantial and ambitious. They feel comfortable professing affection for rock epics rather than mere hit singles.

"When it comes to classical, they are loyal to English composers. Six out of the top 10 are by Englishmen.

"This is not to say Radio 4 listeners prefer Vaughan Williams to Beethoven or Elgar to Mozart. In total votes for all works, the German and the Austrian are ahead. It's simply that when it comes to taking particular pieces to a desert island, our listeners want to be reminded of their home country."

Other big names on the track list include The Beatles, who had seven songs in the top 100, Bob Dylan, who had three, and The Rolling Stones who also had three.

Lists of the top 100 discs and top 100 artists will be available on the Radio 4 Desert Island Discs website.