More MS news articles for June 2002

Little-known singer beats Beatles

Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 00:09 GMT 01:09 UK

Singer-songwriter Clifford T Ward - who had only one chart hit - has finished above the Beatles in a poll on the best music of the Queen's reign.

The BBC Radio 2 poll saw Ward's Home Thoughts From Abroad come fourth despite failing to get into the charts as a single.

Breakfast host Terry Wogan is a huge fan of Ward, who died in December after a long fight with multiple sclerosis.
The list - which saw more than 14,000 vote - was topped by Queen with their singalong favourite Bohemian Rhapsody.

Second place went to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale in a top 10 which features nothing from the past quarter century.

Robbie Williams's Angels at 25 is the only song to appear in the top 50 which was released within the past decade.

Ward died at the age of 57 from pneumonia, having achieved just one top 10 with Gaye which made it to number eight in 1973.

He crept into the top 40 just once more, in 1976, when his song Scullery made it to 37.

Prolific writer

When the poll was launched earlier this year, Wogan named Home Thoughts From Abroad as his favourite track from the Queen's reign.

He said: "He was a fine and prolific British songwriter and singer and much underrated. I'd choose this song as my tribute to him."

A Radio 2 spokeswoman said: "He is a favourite of Terry and he regularly plays it on his Wake Up To Wogan show.

"Terry's listeners obviously agree with his sentiments that it's a great record."

Ward was regarded by his fans as one of the finest writers in Britain and his songs had been recorded by stars such as Art Garfunkel and Ringo Starr.

He began recording as a solo artist for Radio 1 DJ John Peel's Dandelion label.

Ward's unwillingness to tour was thought to be the reason that mainstream success eluded him despite his brief chart dalliance.

Top five
1. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
2. Procol Harum - Whiter Shade of Pale
3. John Lennon - Imagine
4. Clifford T Ward - Home Thoughts From Abroad
5. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
John Lennon's anthem to a secular global peace, Imagine, was ranked third by listeners, with mystical epic Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin fifth.

The Beatles' only top 10 entries are at six and seven with Yesterday and Hey Jude - both Sir Paul McCartney's compositions.

Radio 2 presenter and jazz great Humphrey Lyttelton makes it into the list at number 48 with Bad Penny Blues.

Simon Mayo will present a full run-down of the poll on Saturday from 1400 to 1600 BST.

Most of the tracks will feature on a Best of British CD being released on 3 June.