Welsh Bands and Writers Fail to Make Music Magazine's Top 50 Tracks

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

Welsh Bands and Writers Fail to Make Music Magazine's Top 50 Tracks


Byline: By GARETH MORGAN Western Mail

Welsh music industry insiders have hit out at a run down of the 'Greatest British tracks of all time' which fails to give our nation a mention. Wales may be the land of song, but the new poll by music magazine Q has blacklisted it as a cultural wasteland, snubbing our musicians and songwriters. Setting out to record the 50 Greatest British tracks of all time, the final list featured no songs written by the Welsh.

It comes just after Wales was voted a nation devoid of comedy in a national poll.

Despite its British pretensions the Q music list all but ignores the nations outside England.

Northern Ireland gets a brief mention with The Undertones, who penned John Peel's favourite ever track, Teenage Kicks.

Scotland gets a half-decent look-in with bands like Franz Ferdinand and Rod Stewart.

But Wales gets zilch. Neither the old-school bombast of Mr Tom Jones nor the anthemic rhetoric of the Manic Street Preachers get a look in.

Instead Robbie Williams's overplayed Angels jostles with that wedding party favourite, Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners.

The omissions surprised those in the music industry, even those who accepted that the vast majority of artists in the poll were likely to be English.

Matt Page, who works in music management with bands like Feeder, said, 'You would think that by the law of averages, there would be one or two Welsh bands in a Top 50.

'As it stands there seems to be about 45 English bands.

'Between the Manics, Stereophonics, Feeder and Tom Jones you would have thought someone would have crept in there.'

Others were more scathing, including James McClaren, editor of Cardiff-based music magazine Sound Nation.

'These polls, especially in the likes of Q, tend to be pretty obvious and conservative,' he said.

'You'd bet there'd be Beatles, The Jam, Oasis, Stone Roses, Massive Attack and Queen somewhere in the top few.

'Welsh acts prior to the '90s such as Amen Corner, Man, Budgie, The Alarm or Meic Stevens, never achieved that balance of critical and public acclaim necessary to get on one of these lists.

'You also have to factor in some sort of jingoism to these polls.

'People subconsciously confuse 'British' with 'English' so you get all these supposedly classic paeans to English life like Waterloo Sunset or Parklife.'

Western Mail music critic Christopher Rees agreed that these lists are entirely subjective.

But he added that there were some 'shocking omissions'.

'Q has often put the Manics on the cover and raved about them. Tom Jones is timeless, but not a lot of his songs were written by Welsh writers.

'Recently with the big anthemic bands like Stereophonics with A Thousand Trees or the Manics' Design For Life, you would have thought that such stadium-conquering anthems would feature.'

Perhaps the fact that Welsh music has only flourished on a commercial scale quite recently has affected the pollsters.

Many of the songs were classics from the 1960s and 1970s when it was English - not necessarily British - music making an impact on a global scale.

The poll was topped by The Beatles with A Day In The Life. Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks and Wonderwall by Oasis completed the top three.

This was the only track by a contemporary band to make the Top 10.

The Sex Pistols, The Who, Queen and David Bowie also featured in the 10 best tracks. …

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