Media Release: Vote declares The Number of the Beast and Trainspotting the winners

IRON Maiden’s landmark, Heavy Metal album of the 1980s, 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 60 years in a major survey of fans and the wider British public.

The most popular recording artists, however, claiming just over a fifth of all the votes cast in the albums category, are The Beatles, who have four titles in the top ten, including Sergeant Pepper at No.3.

The most voted-for directors are Danny Boyle and Stanley Kubrick, who each have three films counted as being British in the overall top 60, while the most popular actors – tied with four appearances each out of the sixty films listed are Colin Firth, Hugh Grant and Michael Caine – each quintessentially British in their own way.

The Harry Potter and Monty Python franchises also scored heavily among voters, each with two films in the top ten.

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 the two categories (split approx 30,000 for albums and 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

HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo, comments: “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 60 years of the official charts, should be a period when we reflect on the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades.”

Best British Album: see below for complete list of 1- 60 titles

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.

Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast….is 1! The Number of the Beast tops the album poll with a 9.2 per cent 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 14 million copies worldwide and features the anthemic UK top ten 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!“

See Notes to Editors for more details.

Equally impressive in second spot and with 6.3 per cent 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 per cent) have four albums in the top ten and five in the top 20 – accounting for just over 20 per cent or approximately 6,000 of the 30,000 votes cast in the albums category.

The top ten 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 ten to make it into the poll. Just outside of the top ten 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 eight and surprisingly, perhaps, the Eighties with just four, including, ironically, Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast. Our current decade only has two 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 per cent)

2. Depeche Mode / Violator (6.30 per cent)

3. The Beatles / Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (5.69 per cent)

4. The Beatles / Abbey Road (5.67 per cent)

5. Pink Floyd / The Dark Side of the Moon (5.23 per cent)

6. The Beatles / Revolver (4.01 per cent)

7. Queen / A Night at the Opera (3.98 per cent)

8. Oasis / (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (3.91 per cent)

9. Adele / 21 (3.07 per cent)

10. The Beatles / White Album (2.60 per cent)

11. Led Zeppelin / IV (2.50 per cent)

12. The Beatles / Rubber Soul (2.49 per cent)

13. The Clash / London Calling (2.48 per cent)

14. David Bowie / The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (2.38 per cent)

15. The Smiths / The Queen is Dead (2.25 per cent)

16. Black Sabbath / Black Sabbath (2.16 per cent)

17. Radiohead / OK Computer (1.99 per cent)

18. Pink Floyd / Wish You Were Here (1.99 per cent)

19. Elton John / Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1.89 per cent)

20. Oasis / Definitely Maybe (1.72 per cent)

21. Take That / Beautiful World (1.66 per cent)

22. Led Zeppelin / II (1.48 per cent)

23. Elbow / Seldom Seen Kid (1.44 per cent)

24. The Who / Who’s Next (1.38 per cent)

25. Coldplay / Parachutes (1.31 per cent)

26. Sex Pistols / Never Mind the Bollocks (1.30 per cent)

27. Muse / Origin of Symmetry (1.25 per cent)

28. Amy Winehouse / Back to Black (1.23 per cent)

29. Joy Division / Unknown Pleasures (1.20per cent)

30. The Stone Roses / The Stone Roses (1.14per cent)

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

Best British Film see below for complete list of 1- 60 titles

Compared to the results in the albums category, which are more strongly driven by fanbase voting, the films category has arguably an even greater spread of titles across the decades, many of which are rightly regarded as iconic and have come to represent the very essence of British popular culture

The cult film Trainspotting tops the poll with a six per cent share of the vote (equivalent to just under 1,500 of the 24,000 votes cast in this category). The 1996 British comedy drama was directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh, and stars Ewan McGregor as Renton – part of a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh. The film has been previously been ranked tenth by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of the top 100 British films of all time, while in 2004 it was voted the best Scottish film of all time in a public poll. See Notes to Editors for more details.

In second and fourth spots respectively in the Best British films poll are Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian – which, together, account for just over ten per cent of all the film votes cast, making it the most popular film franchise in the top 60. Harry Potter also features strongly, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final instalment in the series, at no.3 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at no.7. Together the two films account for nearly 8.5 per cent – or just over 2,000 of the 24,000 film votes cast, to underline the dedication of the Harry Potter fanbase.

Also featured in the top ten are two masterpieces from renowned American director Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange at no.5, which was released to great controversy in 1971 but to lasting effect, and the acclaimed 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was made in England and came out in 1968. Combined with Kubrick’s other film in the top 60 – Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick has, like Boyle, three films in the top 60 – accounting for a tenth of the overall film vote.

The rest of the top ten features The Italian Job at no.8 – arguably the film that most encapsulates the Sixties era, zombie-com Shaun Of The Dead (the film’s star – Simon Pegg also pops up at no.12 with Hot Fuzz) and, appropriately, perhaps, in this Diamond Jubilee year, the multi-award winning The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI.

Just outside of the top ten are more British iconic films, including rom-com Love Actually – the first of two Richard Curtis-directed films, at no.11 (the other is Four Weddings and a Funeral at no.22), Goldfinger – the highest rated Bond film at no.13 (Dr. No comes in at no.32); Billy Elliot (no.14); The Great Escape, which is the highest-ranking war movie, at no.15; Snatch – the first of two Guy Ritchie-directed movies in the top 20 films (the other is Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels); Quadrophenia at no.18; and Bridget Jones’ Diary at no.19.

The most popular British actors in the top 60, each with four films, are Colin Firth (Love Actually, The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Hugh Grant (Love Actually, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill) and Michael Caine (The Italian Job, Alfie, Get Carter and Zulu). Alec Guinness and John Cleese each have three films in the list.

The most popular decade for films in the survey is the Noughties, accounting for nearly a third –18 of the 60 titles, ahead of the 1960s with 13. Next comes the Seventies with eight films and the Eighties with seven, followed by the 1990s with six, our current decade 2010+ with five and the 1950s, when QEII first acceded to the throne, with three.

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

1. Trainspotting (6.00 per cent)

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (5.48 per cent)

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two (4.79 per cent)

4. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (4.78 per cent)

5. A Clockwork Orange (4.37 per cent)

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (4.29 per cent)

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (3.69 per cent)

8. The Italian Job (3.11 per cent)

9. Shaun Of The Dead (2.95 per cent)

10. The Kings Speech (2.66 per cent)

11. Love Actually (2.34 per cent)

12. Hot Fuzz (2.27 per cent)

13. Goldfinger (2.26 per cent)

14. Billy Elliot (2.24 per cent)

15. Slumdog Millionaire (2.22 per cent)

16. The Great Escape (2.18 per cent)

17. Snatch (2.18 per cent)

18. Quadrophenia (1.98 per cent)

19. Bridget Jones’ Diary (1.92 per cent)

20. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1.92 per cent)

21. 28 Days Later (1.85 per cent)

22. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1.83 per cent)

23. This is England (1.81 per cent)

24. Lawrence of Arabia (1.80 per cent)

25. Dr. Strangelove (1.74 per cent)

26. The Full Monty (1.66 per cent)

27. Notting Hill (1.64 per cent)

28. Withnail and I (1.62 per cent)

29. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1.37 per cent)

30. The Wicker Man (1.17 per cent)

31. Gandhi

32. Dr. No

33. A Fish Called Wanda

34. Zulu

35. The Inbetweeners Movie

36. Chariots of Fire

37. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

38. Oliver

39. Sexy Beast

40. Control

41. Four Lions

42. Moon

43. Get Carter

44. Kes

45. The Ladykillers

46. The Dambusters

47. Battle of Britain

48. Atonement

49. A Room with a View

50. Brassed Off

51. Gregory’s Girl

52. Alfie

53. East is East

54. Dead Man’s Shoes

55. If

56. Layer Cake

57. The Long Good Friday

58. The Railway Children

59. Human Traffic

60. Don’t Look Now

Regional Splits and Demographics

Regional voting patterns

Surprisingly, perhaps, given its strong overall showing, Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast didn’t rank no.1 too often when viewed regionally, though it did really well in Scotland and the North East, but it consistently achieved top three – five scoring across the board. In essence, the album won because of broad-based national support, rather than a regional focus. Trainspotting also scored well across the whole country, though it did particularly well in London, the North East and Scotland, of course.

London / South East
 Depeche Mode Violator comes out as the top album in London and the South East ahead of Adele 21, while The Clash London Calling and David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars also make it into the top ten. Coldplay Parachutes and Radiohead OK Computer also scored more strongly than their respective positions in the overall poll. Withnail and I is the third-ranked film, despite not breaking the top 20 in the overall poll.

South West
 The South West are big fans of Iron Maiden and Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? did particularly well here, while Devon-born Muse also do well with Origin of Symmetry showing more strongly than in the national chart. Bristol-based Portishead Dummy and Massive Attack Blue Lines did proportionately better than their national positions. Hot Fuzz was the top movie.

 Adele’s 21 is the top album – the only region where the London-born star tops the albums chart, closely followed by The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper and Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast. In film, Monty Python’s The Life of Brian emerges as the top choice with Shaun of the Dead a close second.

East of England
The top album was Muse’s Origin of Symmetry, which only just made the top 30 in the main poll – suggesting the region has its fair share of Prog-rockers! Adele’s 21 fared well as did Radiohead’s OK Computer. The top two films were The Italian Job and Shaun of the Dead.

Adele 21 was the top album, closely followed by Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast and Queen’s A Night at the Opera. Sheffield’s Arctic Monkey’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, which only made no. 34 in the overall albums poll, made the Yorkshire top ten. The Harry Potter films did especially well, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two at no.1, while The Full Monty, which was set in Sheffield, of course, also featured strongly in the top ten.

North East 
Like Manchester, Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was the top album in the North East, with another North West band, Elbow, coming second. The top films were Trainspotting and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, with Hot Fuzz coming in third.

 Local bands fared well, with Elbow, The Smiths and Stone Roses making up the top three in contrast to the overall poll. The Italian Job came in as third-favourite after Trainspotting and A Clockwork Orange. 

North West
Elbow and Radiohead (OK Computer) had the top albums. Withnail and I was the third ranked film.

Liverpool / Merseyside 
The top five is unsurprisingly made up entirely of Beatles albums with Sgt. Pepper at no.1 followed by Abbey Road, Revolver, The White Album and Rubber Soul. Interestingly, Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are the two highest ranked films.

Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin scored well, although unlike the national pattern it was Wish you Were Here and Led Zeppelin II. The Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible and Stereophonics Word Gets Around did proportionately better here. The film voting was a real mix, with both Love Actually and Notting Hill making the top five, suggesting the Welsh do like a nice romantic comedy.

 Primal Scream’s Screamadelica and Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque as expected did much better north of the border when compared to their national showing, but the Scots like their Rock, and Iron Maiden were a strong no.1. There was also a lot of support for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Film-wise it was Trainspotting all the way – unsurprisingly given the film is set in Edinburgh, though the Python films were hugely popular also.


Of the 54,545 votes received in total for the survey (approx 30,000 for albums and 24,000 for film), 63 per cent were from male participants and only 37 per cent were female – perhaps reflecting the profile of social media users when it comes to entertainment content.


Just over a third of all the voters were aged 24 or under, while over half were 34 or less. Put in a nice, symmetrical way, 53 per cent of the voters were aged below 35. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the profile of social media, just over eight per cent of voters were aged 55 and over, and if more from this category had participated it’s likely that a greater number of albums and films from the Sixties and Seventies would have fared a little more strongly in the overall vote.

10.8 per cent under 18/ 23.1 per cent 18 to 24/ 18.9 per cent 25 to 34/ 23.9 per cent 35 to 44/ 14.2 per cent 45 to 54/ 8.3 per cent aged 55+

HMV and the Diamond Jubilee ‘Best of British’ campaign

Leading entertainment retail specialist HMV launched the online survey to celebrate the remarkable achievements in British music and film presided over by The Queen during her sixty-year reign.

HMV, which itself has a heritage stretching back more than 100 years, invited customers and the wider public to use a special voting app on its facebook page (url to put forward their choice of the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades. The app, which was developed by HMV’s digital and social media agency – MMK Media, features hmv’s Nipper mascot cloaked in a Union flag in ‘Britannia’ style in its design.

The national poll is part of a wider ‘Britain/Music is GREAT’ Industry initiative that, in this special Olympic and Jubilee year, seeks to highlight the far-reaching achievements and contribution of British culture and music (url

Many of the titles featured in the poll are being highlighted to customers in a summer-long ‘Best of Britain’ instore/online CD and DVD campaign, often at two for £10 pricing designed to inspire the public to revisit titles they’ve not listened to or watched for a long time, or, in the case of younger consumers, to perhaps enjoy them for the very first time. The campaign is being supported with window/instore displays across the 240-strong chain in the last week of May and first week of June, when, in homage to The Queen, HMV advertising will also feature a specially adapted version of the famous ‘dog & trumpet’ trademark logo, that will see a Corgi stand in for HMV’s canine mascot – Nipper.

HMV will also use social media to run some retro homage pieces across the week for fans to engage with and share online, including retro gaming and minimalist alternative designs for books and films – e.g. someone recently converted the entire OK Computer album to 8-bit (think Mario/Spectrum music). 
So HMV will be posting links on its Facebook page to 8-bit versions of songs from some of the winning albums, including Iron Maiden Run to the Hills, Depeche Mode Personal Jesus, The Beatles Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Pink Floyd Money, Queen Bohemian Rhapsody, Oasis Don’t Look Back in Anger and Adele Rolling in the Deep.

HMV will also engage with movie posters via social media, where iconic parts of each movie in the top ten, such as Trainspotting, are taken and turned into minimalist posters that can be posted alongside a brief description of the film on HMV’s facebook page and Pinterest site across the week.

Ends –


Gennaro Castaldo, HMV Press & PR / +44 (0)20 7432 2033 / +44 (0)7801 194 139

Notes to Editors

Iron Maiden The Number of the Beast

The Number of the Beast is the third studio album by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, released in March 1982. The album saw the debut of vocalist Bruce Dickinson, and the final appearance of drummer Clive Burr in the band. The album met with considerable critical and commercial success and was a landmark release for the band, becoming their first album to reach No.1 in the UK albums chart and to be certified with platinum status in the US. Going on to sell 14m copies worldwide, The Number of the Beast produced the anthemic single Run to the Hills – the band’s first top ten hit in the UK singles charts. The album was also controversial, particularly in the US, due to the religious nature of its sleeve artwork and some of its lyrics. The Number of the Beast, takes its name from The Book of Revelation in the New Testament. (Source: Wikipedia).


Trainspotting is a 1996 British comedy drama directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. The movie, which grossed $72m and is available on DVD/blu-ray through C4 films/Spirit, follows a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh and their passage through life. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Renton, Ewen Bremner as Spud, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Kevin McKidd as Tommy, Kelly MacDonald as Diane and Robert Carlyle as the fearsome Begbie. The film also features the novel’s author Irvine Welsh as Mikey Forrester, a hapless drug dealer, in a cameo performance. The Academy-nominated screenplay by John Hodge was adapted from Welsh’s novel. Beyond drug addition, other concurrent themes in the film include the exploration of the urban poverty and squalor in ‘culturally rich’ Edinburgh. The film has been ranked 10th by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of the top 100 British films of all time. In 2004 the film was voted best Scottish film of all time in a public poll.

(Source: Wikipedia).


Participants were able to vote via an innovative voting app on HMV’s Facebook page that could also be accessed via the url Voters were able to select from a ‘longlist’ of sixty albums and films picked by HMV staff in an earlier internal poll, or they could nominate their own favourite in each category by entering a choice in the box marker ‘other’. On average most people voted in both categories, though some chose to vote in one of them only. People could only visit the site once to register their vote. A total number of 54,545 votes were cast across the two album and film categories (split approx 30,000 for albums and 24,000 for films).

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