Periodically, magazines and radio stations mount grand polls, asking readers and listeners to register their "all-time favourite" singles/songs.
The most recent of these was carried out by Virgin Radio. The resulting chart was unveiled in Dec 2006.
This page shows the Top 100 (and then some!) singles - obtained by combining the results of the Virgin poll with the five previous National listeners'/readers' 'Best Ever' polls. These were conducted by Q Magazine (2006), Radio 2 (2004), Guinness (2002), Radio 1 (1998) and Mojo Magazine (1997).
We have calculated this chart by combining the positions in each of the individual polls, following the type of statistical distribution obtained in music listings based on public votes. A track must appear in at least two separate Top 100s to be included in our chart.
By using this methodology we have largely eliminated any idiosyncrasies caused by 'fad' voting (favouring very recent releases), skewing resulting from a restrictive demographic (most radio stations/magazines aim at a relatively narrow age-band) and attempts by artist fan clubs to influence voting.
Snow Patrols' "Chasing Cars" topped the Virgin poll and, whilst few people would disagree that it is a single par excellence it is unlikely to be occupying that slot by their next compilation. No doubt it will appear in our listing at the next update but our methodology means that it will have a more graceful and appropriate placing than would otherwise be the case..
The listing illustrates the premise that short (weekly) snapshots of sales, whilst accurately reflecting the mood of the Nation at the time, do not always reveal the public's true, long-term appreciation of a song. Many singles which sell hundreds of thousands per week at the height of their chart success are relegated to the bargain bins (or consigned to waste bins!) within weeks of leaving the chart. This listing is about songs which, in theory at least, ooze quality and have longevity.