Queen in Rhapsody over hit award
LONDON, England -- British rock band Queen's enduring hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been named the nation's favourite single of all time.
The song beat John Lennon's "Imagine" to claim the top slot in a poll organised by the Guinness World Records British Hit Singles book.
"Bohemian Rhapsody," a six-minute epic which was aided in its appeal by one of the first videos, first topped the UK charts in 1975.
It did so again in 1991 when a fund-raising version was released following the death of the band's singer Freddie Mercury.
It also gained further appeal in 1992 when it appeared in one of the most memorable scenes in the American comedy film, Wayne's World.
The band's guitarist Brian May said: "It has become a classic phenomenon and one which no one will ever allow us to forget."
"Bohemian Rhapsody" was the first single to go to number one twice in the same version -- followed earlier this year by George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," which is on the chart at 49.
It is also the only song to have hit the Christmas number one slot twice and because it straddled the new year period, has been at number one in four different years.
It has spent a total of 14 weeks at the top of the charts.
May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor were presented with an award by British Hit Singles book editor David Roberts at London's Dominion Theatre on Wednesday.
May said: "The song was apparently so far ahead of any rival that even months before the deadline, its position in this new poll was unimpeachable. Thank you, people, for the memory."
Roberts said: "Queen is a band whose achievements are legendary. No band, apart from The Beatles, has had more top 10 hit singles.
"It really was miles ahead of the opposition but it is interesting looking down the list where there is a good mixture of old and new -- unlike many polls which seem to have an imbalance of hits from the last two years.
"Our readers voted across all six decades of the singles chart, making it the most definitive top 100 ever."
More than 31,000 people voted in the poll of readers of the reference book.
Half the top 10 is by Lennon and The Beatles, whose high entries are "Hey Jude," "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever," "Yesterday" and "Let It Be."
In all, The Beatles manage seven of the top 100.
The most recent single in the top 10 is Robbie Williams' "Angels," while the Spice Girls' first hit, "Wannabe," is in the upper reaches of the chart, with the group's "2 Become 1" at 78 and their final release, "Holler," at 82.
American acts also feature, including three entries by Elvis Presley ("Suspicious Minds," at 14, "Heartbreak Hotel," 48, and "Jailhouse Rock," 94), two by Michael Jackson ("Billie Jean," 15, and "Thriller," 26), and The Eagles' "Hotel California," at 17.
The British punk scene of the 1970s is represented twice by the Sex Pistols, with "God Save The Queen," at 65 -- due to be released later this year to mark the Golden Jubilee -- and "Anarchy in the UK," at 96, and by "Teenage Kicks," from The Undertones, at 74.
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