What would your desert island discs be?

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I am not a regular listener to Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, although I am always amazed when I do listen by the variety of music chosen – much of it not what you might expect from the person chosing. We have all thought what our choice would be if we had the chance, but last month Radio 4 asked its listeners to choose. The results make some interesting reading (but also predictable)

The musical choice can be anything – so includes classical tracks as well – when they looked for the most popular track choices they made the decision to consider symphonies and orchestra works as one track choice and not to treat individual movements as separate tracks. With operas they decided to consider arias individually, a bit like tracks on an album. This is slightly different to the way they calculated the Castaway database (where they counted parts of some works, e.g. The Messiah, separately) but when they looked at the pattern of the nominations, it was considered the fairest thing to do apparently.

Top artists are ranked by the number of times they were nominated.

The Top Eight Tracks

  1. Ralph Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending
  2. Sir Edward Elgar – Enigma Variations
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No 9 in D minor ‘Choral’
  4. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
  6. Sir Edward Elgar – Cello Concerto in E Minor
  7. George Frederic Handel – Messiah
  8. Gustav Holst – The Planets

The Top Eight Artists

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Ludwig van Beethoven
  4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  5. Pink Floyd
  6. Johann Sebastian Bach
  7. The Rolling Stones
  8. Sir Edward Elgar

There is a definite classical influence here – due to the age of Radio 4 listeners no doubt. What would be interesting to see is the same list prepared by Radio 2 and Radio 1 listeners.

When I started writing this I thought it would be easy to come up with a list – but the more you think about it the harder it gets! Music that ‘makes the hairs on the back of you neck stand up’ has to be on it – but there are so many – classical, modern you name it!

What would your list be?


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