Radio 2's Favourite Albums

BBC Radio 2 listeners voted recently for their favourite albums of all-time. Here’s what they came up with…

Actually, I should stop you right there and point out that the rules allowed only one album per artist, only studio albums at that, and listeners had to choose from a shortlist made up of one hundred albums whose tracks are played most regularly on BBC Radio 2. So unless I’ve got this wrong, BBC Radio 2 listeners took the one hundred albums offered to them and put them in order of preference, some of which were only included in the first place because BBC Radio 2 likes to play a track or two from that album rather a lot. For added fun, to make a game out of it, you could identify the song you most expect to have got the album onto the shortlist. I wonder if, in some cases, and I’m thinking of Chic, you could only name one song of theirs if someone was holding a gun to your head and talking at you very nervously.

Now that I’ve suitably lowered your expectations, here are the ten:

01. Coldplay, Rush of Blood To the Head (2002)
02. Keane, Hopes and Fears (2004)
03. Duran Duran, Rio (1982)
04. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
05. Dido, No Angel (1999)
06. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971)
07. The Pet Shop Boys, Actually (1987)
08. The Beatles, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
09. U2, The Joshua Tree (1987)
10. Queen, A Night At the Opera (1975)

Yep, Dark Side of the Moon, in this its fortieth year, beaten into fourth place by Coldplay, Keane and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, Duran Duran. With the Beatles beaten by Dido and the Pet Shop Boys.

I’ve only just recovered from this to be able to blog about it today. The countdown was on Monday.

Funny how these things turn out. The full list of one hundred albums, for even more fun, can be found here.

I’m not sure I believe that any radio station plays as many as one hundred different artists; it seems to me to always be a select few flavours-of-the-month played over and over until you’re sick of them. I’m not even convinced that I can think of one hundred artists I have heard played at any time on any radio station ever, so please help me out. Accepting the inclusion of music greats I myself am not particularly fond of, there are still about a dozen that I’d like to see pushed out with an almighty sigh and replaced with something better. If that’s better for you, substituting one artist for another works just fine for me. I’ll go first: Suede’s Coming Up (because of ‘Beautiful Ones’) in, Kylie Minogue (?) out.

I realise not everyone listens to BBC Radio 2, so any real or imagined radio station will do in place of it. The songs have to be radio-friendly.

Oh, and to those who debated with me in the chatroom quite recently about which of his albums is best, you might be as surprised as I am to notice that the one Bob Dylan album chosen by BBC Radio 2 was Blonde on Blonde. Not that I recall ever hearing any of its songs played on the radio.

The chatroom will be open tomorrow from 3pm (UK). Do call in and explain to me why neither the Manic Street Preachers nor Blur got a mention when Pulp and Maroon 5 did. Are there any other noticeable absences?

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

31 thoughts on “Radio 2's Favourite Albums”

  1. I wonder if, in some cases, and I’m thinking of Chic, you could only name one song of theirs if someone was holding a gun to your head and talking at you very nervously.

    I have a [Chic specific] visual: little ‘ol me begging, ‘Please, before you get trigger happy, could I have just one, oh please just one, last music request? You might feel inclined to join in for some “Good Times”‘. Guess I’d be ‘up the creek without a paddle’ if that certain someone didn’t like my last request. 😉

    I’d like to see 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 (quite possibly 9 just to be on the safe side until I’ve looked through all 100 and compared to my personal, and ever-changing, remaining 99) pushed out with immediate effect and Number 4 taking the coveted Number 1 position.

    I can’t even count on one hand how many times I’ve heard anything from Blonde on Blonde played on the radio (well not in recent memory anyway)? Just Like a Woman maybe…

    1. Ha. Just another reason to move to the U.S. as we play more than just one song from Blonde on Blonde. “Rainy Day Women” is played quite a bit and every now and then “Stuck Inside Mobile” is played.

      Yes, I’m still around just been busy with stuff and lurking in from time to time.

      Hope all are well.



  2. I’m surprised that the Cure – Disintegration or Pornography – and Radiohead – In Rainbows or OK Computer – are not in the 100 top list. I consider these artists and albums to be right up there in the top 100 list. What do you think of these artist and albums, do they belong there as well?

    1. I absolutely think they should both be included, although I’m not really a fan of or knowledgeable about their music beyond the more obvious tracks. I did check for the Cure, thinking of ‘Friday I’m In Love’, which I hear often, but I didn’t think of Radiohead; I just assumed they’d be on there. I’m shocked that they aren’t but can’t say I’ve heard them on the radio. Then again, I’d have to say the same for Donald Fagen, Barbra Streisand, Bob Marley & The Wailers…

      Not Michael Bublé, though. Oh no. My local radio station must think the world might suddenly end if they don’t play Michael Bublé every couple of hours.

  3. When we got our digital radios we discovered Absolute Classic Rock (part of Absolute Radio group). The first track we got was Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven and listening one evening in the space of half-hour we got Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix/Eric Clapton/Led Zep. Said to hubby, ‘we won’t get Floyd after those four’ and sure enough the fifth track was ‘Learning to Fly’! In the course of a day listening randomly we usually get at least a couple of Floyd tracks including 12 minutes of Shine on, Money, Us and Them and we’ve even heard ‘On the Turning Away’. Don’t bother on a Saturday morning though as it’s too much chatter!

    A couple of tracks I’ve really got to like are Bob Dylan – Hurricane and Led Zep – Kashmir and it’s also introduced us to bands like AC/DC etc…not exactly Radio 2!!!!!

    Have a good weekend and hopefully it’ll start getting a bit warmer!

    Best wishes

    1. Excellent choice, Heather. I like their 60s station. I found that Planet Rock was getting on my nerves, playing the same songs all the time. Plenty of Pink Floyd, though.

  4. The moral of the story is that stupid rules can ruin everything…

    Now, over 100,000 people voted, that’s a lot, they can’t all be wrong…

    First of all, I would have replaced Abba with Leonard Cohen and Céline Dion with Jeff Buckley. 😉

    Funnily enough, Belgian Classic 21 played ‘Just Like A Woman’ yesterday evening. It’s from Blonde on Blonde, no?

    Speaking of Classic 21, if anyone is interested, here is their latest Top 100 (songs, not albums) as voted by their listeners last summer. I don’t know if the rules were stupid, but they played the full list on the 21st of June to celebrate ‘La Fête de la Musique’ (=Music Day?) and I thought it was a very nice idea.

    1. Funnily enough, Belgian Classic 21 played ‘Just Like A Woman’ yesterday evening. It’s from Blonde on Blonde, no?

      Sure is.

      One of my favourites from that album, which I’m surprised that radio stations don’t play, is ‘Obviously 5 Believers’. At three-and-a-half minutes, it’s the perfect length for radio and is one of his more cheery and upbeat numbers.

      That’s a great list, Classic 21. I noticed Nirvana and The Doors; I don’t remember seeing them on the Radio 2 list.

  5. The rules of “play”, quite literally, are very harsh on mainstream radio, and most often involve monetary exchange. At least, that is how it is in Spain, even on “alternative” radio stations (which I assume Radio 2 is?). They aim for a large audience, who wants a lightweight sound on the background.

    Anyway, the list does include many great albums (including our beloved Dark Side).

  6. Hello! Coldplay above Pink Floyd??!! Something is not right. It’s not that we don’t like Coldplay. And, FEd, if you don’t like M. Buble, now imagine what is to listen to every once the dense, tedious, fluffy insufferable and unbearable music romantic Spanish or Mexican or, worse still: listen to Ricardo Arjona: an acoustic suicide.

    Excellent weekend for all!

  7. Oh No! I think Quick Silver Messenger Service – Happy Trails should be on the list.

  8. When I first saw this list, it didn’t make sense that “Rio” could possibly top “DSotM” on a 100-best list. Then I read your description of how the list was made and now it’s clear. A few listeners really like the Duran Duran song.

    I remember buying the album at a used record store in my college days; my girlfriend at the time predicted I’d sell it right back to the store within a few days. “It’s terrible!” she said. I think I listened a few times and then it gathered dust. Synth pop has its place, but DSotM is timeless and has never gathered dust in my record/CD collections.

  9. Just goes to show, nice bands finish last. Not even Led Zep or Bowie in the mix? Not even Glen Miller. Oh, the shame Fed, the shame!!!!! LOL.
    These best ofs should be judged by no one. To each their own, always.

  10. When you look at the conditions of the list it really is pretty meaningless. I guess it presents some sort of guide to what you can expect to hear on Radio 2 but I never listen anyway. Radio 2 just looks like the place where has-been DJs are put out to grass and although no doubt intended for people of my age always sounds very lame. Music radio seems to me a dead duck anyway. If I want to listen to music, I play my music. If I want to listen to talk I certainly don’t want to listen to a DJ’s inane banter and pointless vox-pop talk shows which are frankly too depressing for words. The presumption that when they do finally shut up I shall be rewarded with something from Duran Duran is the thin icing on a very stale cake.

  11. I think I used to have a radio station on for most of the day because I’d started with a presenter I could tolerate first thing in the morning.
    Then I started trying other stations because I couldn’t stand the presenters or didn’t like what they played.

    I loved Virgin Radio when it was broadcasting test transmissions before they were officially on air, they played some great stuff. The station was great for many years until it changed ownership then it went rapidly downhill.

    I moved to Radio 2 to give it a try, there were a few good shows but I had to change again. Wouldn’t you know it, the same maniac that ruined Virgin moved to Radio 2 after Virgin sacked him! (You know who I’m talking about now, don’t you? He drives me mad. I have to switch off the minute I see or hear him! Why anyone puts him on air I’ll never know, I expect he probably engineers a way to blackmail them into it or something!)

    I listened to a few of Planet Rock’s presenters, but honestly, Alice Cooper in the morning is enough to make you want to slash your wrists.
    So, I got out of the habit of having the radio on all day because no station seems to please me for the whole day and can’t be bothered to re-tune.

    I think it might help if I could remember when some of my favourite presenters were on and which station. :))

    I’ll happily listen to other bloggers’ recommendations for a station to try. It’s quite nice to allow other people to choose the music or play something new for you but it’s finding a presenter with good taste that’s difficult! :))


    1. What’s wrong with Alice Cooper in the morning??!!! :)) Seriously though, I have an Alice Cooper “go to” album, Welcome to my Nightmare, which is rich with social commentary although I wouldn’t vote for an early morning listen.

      After 92.3K Rock (New York) went the way of Rap, I pretty much abandoned listening to the radio and the radio in the car is tuned to 104.3 (Q104) where I occasionally get to hear the music I enjoy or discover something new. There are a couple of nearby university campuses that have good radio stations without all the chatter but I don’t often tune in. We have set up our own “channels” via Pandora (based on the Music Genome Project) and listen accordingly. So, if we’re in a ‘bluesy’ kind of mood, then that’s all we’ll hear for hours on end and we can ‘like’, ‘skip’, and ‘favourite’ as we listen.

    2. Pavlov,

      And Ian O’Malley is one of the best DJs on Q104.3. He is the one who is not afraid to step out of the box and play something different.



  12. I’ve given up on Radio 2 completely now, it’s just so repetitive and with more and more stuff I don’t like. I was suffering from incessant earworms that stopped me sleeping at night too.

    I have switched to my (very) local radio station which plays excellent music and really engages with the listeners. The breakfast show host is also very knowledgeable about the music he plays and will often play quite unusual versions of well-known songs.

    I’m a complete convert now.

    Sorry I haven’t been in the chatroom for ages, the sessions never seem to coincide with my quiet times any more.

  13. Hello FEd and everyone!

    I may possibly be discharged to a cardiac rehab, today. I still have trouble with my lungs and I don’t get around very well. I lost some functions/connections. I have trouble feeding myself and I choke easily. I have “jumbled” memories. I’m not sure how long I was out of it but I’ve been here since 3/22. I was in critical condition for a long time. What I do remember was being “worked on”. Okay, now for some reason I could swear we bought a boat.

    1. You’re going to be fine Penny!! Gosh, it’s just been 3 weeks for such a major event and your body and mind will need time. Maybe the boat is a foreshadowing of slow, peaceful and wonderful things to come! ♥

    2. Hi Penny,

      Keep taking small steps and you’ll be sailing that boat across the Atlantic in no time.

  14. Penny: Glad you are able to blog and let us know you are surviving. Keep on keeping on.

  15. I have never agreed with music top list of songs. So with the way people were polled on the time frame to decide should prove void. I know I can never answer questions, as such for the list, quickly. But then I am not able to “snap things up quickly – respond fast”. Wish I had that ability but I do not. But if I was asked in regards to this: it would be simple, a no brainer – DSotM would be #1. It speaks for itself.

  16. I don’t like “all time favorites lists” and ignore them completely. They do exactly what I detest, they eliminate, exclude and minimalize. That goes for music as well as books, paintings, colleges or shampoo. 🙂

    I would hate to have to come up with my own personal “favorites” list, it would have no rhyme or reason to anyone else. Music for me is very personal. However, to put DSotM at number 4 is just plain lunacy. No pun intended.

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