jeudi, juillet 06, 2006

Liverpool and Manchester united

English top of the pops

By Ciar Byrne, Media Correspondent

Beatlemania and Madchester may be part of musical history, but the north-west of England still produces more hits than any other region of the UK, a survey has found.

Oasis, Richard Ashcroft, Doves and Atomic Kitten have helped Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding areas to achieve 45 per cent more chart-topping artists than the next best performing region, the South-east.

The study, by Yahoo! Music, looked at where music acts with number-one selling singles and albums originated from between 2000 and 2006. It measured how many hits there have been for each member of the population.

In the North-west, which accounted for 25 per cent of all number ones there was one hit for every 115,254 people. In Greater London, where 23 per cent of chart successes originated, there was one hit for every 216,647 people. The east of England has the poorest record of producing best-selling artists in recent years.

Chart-topping acts from the North-west have ranged from the credible to the manufactured. Oasis are the region's most successful musical export so far this century, accounting for 12 per cent of the North-west's number ones.

In the past six years, the group has had three hit albums: Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants, Heathen Chemistry and Don't Believe The Truth. They have also reached the top of the singles chart four times, with "Go Let It Out", "Hindu Times", "Lyla" and "The Importance of Being Idle".

Several decades after their break-up, the Beatles still managed to top the album charts with their "best-of" compilation 1, while the late George Harrison went to number one posthumously with "My Sweet Lord" in January 2002.

Bands have been more successful than solo artists in the North-west, including The Coral and Atomic Kitten, from Liverpool, and the Chemical Brothers and Doves from Manchester.

But the solo indie legend Morrissey enjoyed a number one album in April with Ringleader of the Tormentors, while a fellow Mancunian, the former Happy Mondays's frontman Shaun Ryder, featured on the Gorillaz's hit single "Dare".

Melanie Chisholm, the former Spice Girl from Liverpool, had two number one singles in 2000 with "Never Be The Same Again" and "I Turn To You".

More recently, Shayne Ward, from Manchester, the winner of The X-Factor, has achieved a hit single, "That's My Goal", as well as a No 1 album.

Shannon Ferguson, managing director of Yahoo! Music Europe, said: "Manchester and Liverpool have a great tradition of fostering musical talent, but I was surprised by these results. I thought it might be more evenly distributed."

Phil Alexander, the editor-in-chief of Mojo magazine, said: "There have always been hotbeds of talent in the north of England - Liverpool and Manchester and, in this day and age, Sheffield - with the Arctic Monkeys and Pulp. At times, it's easier for artists in the north of England to get their act together away from prying eyes. In London, as soon as a band's halfway decent, everybody goes to see them.

"Bands tend to gravitate towards London in a bid to move forwards in their career - the Beatles did, Oasis have. Ultimately, regionality is irrelevant. We're in an age of fast-moving communication and it doesn't matter if you come from Sheffield or Surbiton."

The study has been published to mark the launch of All Back To Mine, a new series on Yahoo! Music's Extra Venue site, where artists beginning with the Leeds singer Corinne Bailey Ray, take fans on a guided tour of their hometown.

Hit-making hotbeds 2000-2006

* NORTH WEST: One hit for every 115,000 people

OASIS accounted for 12 per cent of the North-west's number ones between 2000 and 2006, with four hit singles and three chart-topping albums, including May 2005's Don't Believe the Truth, featuring "Lyla" and "The Importance of Being Idle", voted best album of the year by Q magazine.

* GREATER LONDON: One hit for every 218,000 people

Before they disbanded, S CLUB 7 topped the single charts with "Never Had a Dream Come True" (2000), "Don't Stop Movin'" (2001), and "Have You Ever" (2001). In 2000, their triple platinum album 7 reached number one. The Libertines, from north London, split in 2004 after their number one album of the same name.

* SOUTH-EAST: One hit for every 259,000 people

Pop Idol star WILL YOUNG, from Berkshire, enjoyed number one singles with "Anything Is Possible/Evergreen" (2002), his cover of "The Long and Winding Road" and "Leave Right Now" (2003). In 2002, he had a hit album From Now On and the following year reached the top of the album charts again with Friday's Child.

* WEST MIDLANDS: One hit for every 260,000 people

Stoke-on-Trent's most famous son, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, has consistently topped the charts, with singles such as "Rock DJ" and best-selling albums Sing When You're Winning (2000), Escapology (2002) and Intensive Care (2005).

* SCOTLAND: One hit for every 454,000 people

TRAVIS from Glasgow had a number one album with The Man Who, released in 1999. It was followed by a second chart-topping album, The Invisible Band in 2001. Fellow Glaswegians FRANZ FERDINAND reached the top slot with their second album You Could Have It So Much Better in October 2005.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited