The Number of the Beast voted best British album of the past 60 years in HMV’s national survey to mark the Diamond Jubilee

Published: May 28, 2012

Iron Maiden’s landmark Heavy Metal album of the Eighties The Number of the Beast and Danny Boyle’s acclaimed 1996 cult film Trainspotting have respectively been voted best British album and best British film of the past sixty years in a major survey of fans and the wider British public.

The Number of the Beast tops the album poll with a 9.2% share of the total albums vote (2,754 votes) – a potent reminder of the passion and loyalty of their fanbase and of Rock and Metal fans in particular. 

This landmark recording, which, to date, has sold over 14m copies worldwide and features the anthemic UK top-10 single Run To The Hills, is significant not only for giving the band their first UK no.1 album, but for the debut of their lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who comments: “We’re astonished and delighted to hear The Number of the Beast has been named No.1 in HMV’s Diamond Jubilee survey for the greatest British album category. Some of the most influential and classic albums from the past 60 years were in the running so it’s a testament to our incredibly loyal and ever-supportive fans who voted for us. Iron Maiden is a proudly British band, so to win this category as voted for by the British public, in Jubilee year, is very special.  Thank you to all our wonderful fans!“

The month-long poll, hosted by HMV to mark the Diamond Jubilee, met with a remarkable response from music and film fans alike, with 54,545 votes cast in total across albums and film categories (split approx 30,000 for albums & 24,000 for films) and more than 330,000 Facebook mentions and likes generated in the process. In arguably one of the largest ever surveys of its kind – driven primarily by social media, people were able to select their favourites by using a simple but innovative voting app on the retailer’s Facebook page that could also be accessed via the url www.hmv.com/jubilee.

HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo, comments: “You often tend to see the same artists and albums dominate album polls, but with social media increasingly giving the most ardent and passionate fans a powerful voice, I think that’s all going to change, and so it’s no surprise that Iron Maiden have come out on top as their fans are renowned for being the most loyal and dedicated around.  Congratulations to Iron Maiden – we now know the number of the beast is, I fact, ….1.

“The beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign, and the bright new future it represented, didn’t just coincide with a flowering of British popular culture, it helped to provide the very spark that lit the touch-paper for an explosion in music and film talent.  Since then, the Queen has presided over the richest period of cultural achievement in our nation’s history, so it’s only right that her Diamond Jubilee, which ironically also encapsulates sixty years of the official charts, should be a period when we reflect on the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades.”

Compared to some critics’ polls, which are often dominated by the same titles, the HMV survey for the Diamond Jubilee has been entirely determined by a public vote, and so arguably throws up one or two surprises.  In doing so, however, it demonstrates the compelling and growing power of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to engage with fans and give them an interactive platform to express their passion for their favourite artists and recordings.


Equally impressive in second spot and with 6.3% of the votes (1,892 votes) are electronic music legends Depeche Mode, with, for many people, their career-defining album Violator. The most popular artists overall, however, are The Beatles, who, with Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at no.3 (5.69%) have four albums in the top 10 and five in the top 20 – accounting for just over 20% or approximately 6,000 of the 30,000 votes cast in the albums category.

The top 10 also features Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon – as voted for by Prime Minister David Cameron in HMV’s poll, Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and the cultural phenomenon that is Adele’s 21, which is the only album currently in the Official UK Charts top-10 to make it into the poll.  Just outside of the top 10 are a number of other iconic artists/albums including Led Zeppelin IV, The Clash London Calling, David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, The Smiths The Queen is Dead, Black Sabbath’s self-titled album, Radiohead OK Computer and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Featured in the top 30 are acclaimed albums from the likes of Take That, Elbow, The Who, Coldplay, The Sex Pistols, Muse, Amy Winehouse, Joy Division and The Stone Roses.

The Nineties rank as the most popular decade for music, with 18 albums from this period making the overall top 60, just ahead of the 1970s with 15 – underlining the decade’s iconic status for Rock music in particular.  The Noughties come next with 13 albums out of the 60, followed by the Sixties with 8 and surprisingly, perhaps, the Eighties with just 4, including, ironically, Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast.  Our current decade only has 2 entries, including Adele 21, whilst the album concept had yet to be introduced in the 1950s, so unsurprisingly there are no entries from this era.

Full list of top 60 British albums of the past 60 years

1.   Iron Maiden / The Number of the Beast (9.18%)           
2.   Depeche Mode / Violator (6.30%)                
3.   The Beatles / Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (5.69)     
4.   The Beatles / Abbey Road (5.67%)       
5.   Pink Floyd / The Dark Side of the Moon (5.23%)      
6.   The Beatles / Revolver (4.01%)       
7.   Queen / A Night at the Opera (3.98%)       
8.   Oasis / (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (3.91%)
9.   Adele / 21 (3.07%)         
10. The Beatles / White Album (2.60%)       

11. Led Zeppelin / IV (2.50%)
12. The Beatles / Rubber Soul (2.49%)
13. The Clash / London Calling (2.48%)
14. David Bowie / The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (2.38%)
15. The Smiths / The Queen is Dead (2.25%)     
16. Black Sabbath / Black Sabbath (2.16%)
17. Radiohead / OK Computer (1.99%)
18. Pink Floyd / Wish You Were Here (1.99%)
19. Elton John / Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1.89%)
20. Oasis / Definitely Maybe (1.72%)

21. Take That / Beautiful World (1.66%)
22. Led Zeppelin / II (1.48%)
23. Elbow / Seldom Seen Kid (1.44%)
24. The Who / Who's Next (1.38%)
25. Coldplay / Parachutes (1.31%)
26. Sex Pistols / Never Mind the Bollocks (1.30%)
27. Muse / Origin of Symmetry (1.25%)
28. Amy Winehouse / Back to Black (1.23%)
29. Joy Division / Unknown Pleasures (1.20%)
30. The Stone Roses / The Stone Roses (1.14%)

31. David Bowie / Hunky Dory
32. The Cure / Disintegration
33. My Bloody Valentine / Loveless
34. Arctic Monkeys / Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
35. Pulp / Different Class
36. Mumford & Sons / Sigh No More
37. Blur / Parklife
38. Florence & The Machine / Lungs
39. The Prodigy / Fat of the Land
40. The Rolling Stones / Exile on Main Street
41. Kate Bush / Hounds of Love
42. Radiohead / Kid A
43. The Rolling Stones / Sticky Fingers
44. Portishead / Dummy
45. The Rolling Stones / Let it Bleed
46. The Specials / The Specials
47. Kasabian / Kasabian
48. Manic Street Preachers / The Holy Bible
49. Tinie Tempah / Disc-overy
50. Stereophonics / Word Gets Around
51. Massive Attack / Blue Lines
52. Primal Scream / Screamadelica
53. Dusty Springfield / Dusty in Memphis
54. Aphex Twin / Selected Ambient Works
55. Blur / Modern Life is Rubbish
56. The Streets / Original Pirate Material
57. PJ Harvey / Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
58. Dizzee Rascal / Boy in da Corner
59. Teenage Fanclub / Bandwagonesque
60. Roots Manuva / Run Come Save Me

 


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