Oasis song tops Best Of British all-white straight male radio poll
A listeners’ poll of the Top 100 British songs of all time conducted by the UK’s Radio X was topped by Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’ – and proved an embarrassment with no women, people of colour or LGBTQ+ artists in featured roles.
To be eligible, the songs had to be written, recorded or released by a British artist, and picked up for airplay by the station.
Radio X, which broadcasts in London and Manchester, markets itself as an alt-rock station.
Live Forever’ toppled last year’s winner Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which has long won most polls as the greatest song or record to come out of Britain.
But the Oasis song took on a special resonance of late after Liam Gallagher performed it as a duet with Coldplay’s Chris Martin at the One Love Manchester benefit concert in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombings, and again at the Brit Awards in honour of its victims.
Matt Deverson, managing editor of Radio X, said. “The release of ‘Live Forever’ in 1994 heralded the arrival of an era-defining debut album from one of the country’s greatest bands.
“It’s a special song and within the past year we have seen it resonate with even more poignancy as a much-loved Manchester anthem.”
Noel Gallagher, responding to topping the poll (and having 16 Oasis songs in the Top 100) said, “I have always tried to aim higher than I think is possible.
“Some people try to be bigger or better than their contemporaries or their predecessors…
“Me? I’m just trying to be better than myself, which as we now know is virtually impossible.”
The upper end of the list was:
- Oasis – ‘Live Forever’
- Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
- Oasis – ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’
- The Stone Roses – ‘I Am the Resurrection’
- The Verve – ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’
- Oasis – ‘Wonderwall’
- Oasis – ‘Slide Away’
- The Smiths – ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’
- Oasis – ‘Champagne Supernova’
- Arctic Monkeys – ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’
- The Stone Roses – ‘I Wanna Be Adored’
- David Bowie – ‘Heroes’
- Arctic Monkeys – ‘A Certain Romance’
- David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars?’
- Led Zeppelin – ‘Stairway To Heaven’
- Pulp – ‘Common People’
- Pink Floyd – ‘Wish You Were Here’
- The Rolling Stones – ‘Gimme Shelter’
- The Stone Roses – ‘She Bangs The Drums’
- The Courteeners – ‘Not Nineteen Forever’
However, the poll has been slammed for its lack of diversity.
Only two bands featured a woman: Pulp in which Candida Doyle played keyboards and wrote their 1995 track ‘Common People’, and Gillian Gilbert in New Order who reached #34 with ‘Blue Monday’.
Three black artists were represented : Queen singer Freddie Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsara in Tanzania, Libertines drummer Gary Powell and Elbow bassist Pete Turner.
This is the third year for the poll.
Last year it included Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and two from Adele in 2016.
Past polls also included a song by Massive Attack (which features Grant Marshall, a black musician) and one by Faithless (which includes a black man and a woman).
The Times tapped two pop culture experts to explain the lack of diversity.
Dr. Richard Mills, a senior lecturer in popular music and co-editor of Mad Dogs and Englishness, thought the station’s listeners might be middle aged.
“There does seem to be some inherent conservatism and sexism in the music industry,” he opined to the Times.
“A lot of that playlist [goes] back to the classic acts of the Sixties and Seventies, and that’s a very male culture.
“That counterculture was really quite sexist . . . and the rock culture we have today is predicated on that. It hasn’t moved that much forward.”
Wendy Fonarow, professor of anthropology at Glendale Community College, California, suggested: “Obviously the majority of those who responded are Oasis fans who long for one of the golden eras of British indie.”