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29 October 2014
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Global music taste revealed in BBC World Service poll

The Irish song, A Nation Once Again, by the Wolfe Tones has been voted the World Service listeners' favourite in a global poll - The World's Top Ten.

The song triumphed over Indian patriotic song Vande Mataram (various artists) by the smallest of margins in a poll of World Service listeners which also saw a Bollywood movie song, a love song from Nepal and one of Cher's hits in the top 10.

The poll was one of the highlights of the BBC World Service 70th anniversary celebrations.

It attracted 150,000 votes, by letter, phone, fax and online, from 153 countries and islands - from Poland to Peru and Senegal to Singapore.

Steve Wright, who reveals the final top 10 in his weekly World Service programme Wright Round the World tomorrow (Saturday 21 December at 1.06pm GMT) said:

"Only on BBC World Service could you get a music chart with such variety. Tens of thousands of listeners have taken part in this unique venture to find the world's favourite song.

"They've all had great fun with this poll and it has generated tremendous debate and interest amongst all the listeners of the World Service.

"The World's Top 10 inspired fans around the world to organise themselves and get their favourite song to the top of the chart.

"Websites were created, phone calls were made and radio stations were urging their listeners to get involved."

Interest was so great that at one point votes were coming in at a rate of 12 votes a minute.

Around 7000 different songs were selected. Full results and more information can be found at

All the top 10 songs were the subject of intense online campaigns by listeners to galvanise votes.

However only individual votes were counted by the BBC. Attempts at multiple voting and 'spamming' were discounted.

Some artists suffered because they had so many songs nominated it split their vote.

The Beatles had 55 different songs selected, including Hey Jude and Yesterday. Iranian artist Googoosh had 40 songs chosen, while Bob Marley had 29 songs nominated, with No Woman No Cry topping the list.

Europe's top tune was Wind of Change by the Scorpions, a song many associate with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Also popular was this year's summer holiday hit The Ketchup Song by Spanish sisters Las Ketchup.

Abba and fellow Scandinavians Ace of Base also had songs nominated.

Girl from Ipanema by Antonio Carlos Jobim was the favourite in the Americas and Caribbean.

The number one Latin American song was Solo le Pido a Dios by Argentinian singer Leon Geico.

Swahili classic Malaika was Africa's number one. Many versions have been recorded of the song, most famously by South African singer Miriam Makeba.

Nigerian artist Femi Kuti was also popular in Africa. His song Beng Beng Beng came out ahead of his father Fela Kuti's Beast of No Burden.

In the Middle East Gharib-e-Ashena by Iranian diva Googoosh was the most popular song and legendary Egyptian singer Ulm Kalthoum had a good showing.

Crowded House's evocative ballad Don't Dream It's Over was the pet sound in Australia and New Zealand along with Highway to Hell by AC/DC.

Other songs to do well include Cliff Richard's We Don't Talk Anymore, which got to number 11 after a strong early showing from his fan club.

Nelly and Kelly's recent hit, Dilemma, was the most contemporary song to be selected. It narrowly missed out on a place in the Top 10 following great support from many African countries.

Famous names participated, picking their top tracks. Bianca Jagger chose Bob Dylan over Mick, opting for Knocking on Heaven's Door, Imelda Marcos's favourite was Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and Kevin Spacey chose Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin.

The World's Top Ten

1. A Nation Once Again - Wolfe Tones

Written in the 1840s by Irish patriot, Thomas David, the song is a well-known traditional Irish song.

The Wolf Tones' interpretation is regarded as definitive. Formed in Dublin, the band served their apprenticeship on the Irish folk circuit.

They only decided to take their music seriously when they were approached by a Canadian television producer who wanted to feature them in a documentary.

The band celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

2. Vande Mataram - various artists

A patriotic Hindi song from a poem by Bankim Chandra Chatarji. It was featured in a 1950s movie Anan Mutt, by Lata Manjeshkar who is the most recorded person ever in India.

A R Rahman featured the song in his hit 1990s movie Revival and his version is considered a modern classic. A R Rahman is associated with two songs in this chart.

3. Dil Dil Pakistan - Vital Signs

A 1987 song considered a kind of pop national anthem. Led by the dashing and popular Jinade Jamshade, the Vital Signs are still recording today.

4. Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu - Ilayaraja

This is a Tamil song from the 1991 Bollywood movie Thalapathi.

The film is commonly likened to an Indian version of The Godfather. Its title means Commander.

5. Poovum Nadakkuthu Pinchum Nadakkuthu - Thirumalia Chandran

From Tamil Tiger film, Mugungal, and the longest song title in the chart.

6. Ana wa Laila - Kazem El Saher

A love song from a man some say is the biggest pop star to come out of Iraq. It literally means 'Layla and I'. It's the highest placed Middle Eastern entry.

7. Reetu Haruma Timi - Arun Thapa

This is a love song from one of Nepal's top pop stars who died in 1999.

8. Believe - Cher

A dance hit which topped the UK chart in October 1998 for seven weeks and was that year's biggest selling single in the UK.

It was a number one in over 23 countries and hit 33 years after her first number one – I Got You Babe - in 1965.

9. Chaiyya Chaiyya - A R Rahman

A R Rahman is one of India's favourite sons. As a composer of musical cinema he is unrivalled in his popularity among Bollywood fans.

This folk song, from Bollywood movie Dil Se, is believed to have inspired Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bombay Dreams musical.

10. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

It is the only record to top the UK chart twice – in November 1975 and again in December 1991, spending eight weeks at the top in total.

It is widely regarded as the record which kick-started the popularity of the music video.

Notes to Editors

Regional variations appear in search for the world's favourite song (28.11.02)

In the UK, World Service is available on 648 MW in south-east England. In addition, overnight on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Ulster and via digital radio, digital satellite and the Internet.

Outside the UK, BBC World Service is available on shortwave; on FM in more than 135 capital cities; and selected programmes are carried on almost 2,000 FM and MW radio stations around the world.

High quality reception of World Service programmes is available via satellite in Europe and North America.

It can be heard on the BBC's digital multiplex in the UK or in Europe on the Astra satellite, channel 865.

The BBC World Service website contains extensive, interactive news services available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish with audiostreaming available in 43 languages.

It also contains detailed information about World Service broadcasts, schedules and frequencies in all languages.



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