Beatles fight off tough competition to cement their place as the most influential band of the last half century

Music has evolved tremendously over the last half century – from the swinging 60s to the electric 80s. Despite this, a recent survey by Zippo found that acclaimed rock idols, the Beatles, continue to withstand the test of time – taking poll position as the most influential band of the last half century, even though 50 years have passed since they turned pro.

Not even Led Zeppelin’s huge comeback tour in 2007 or Queen’s West End presence could knock The Beatles off the top spot of the 20 best selling bands from the last 50 years.

The top five music influencers as voted for by Brits were as follows:

1. The Beatles (27.4%)
2. Queen (19.6%)
3. The Rolling Stones (10.5%)
4. David Bowie (4.7%)
5. Jimi Hendrix (4.4%)

Despite The Beatles topping the list of most influential bands, Queen pipped them to the post with its iconic rock ballad ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ voted by a third of the nation as the number one song to wave your Zippo lighter to as a sign of appreciation. This was closely followed by the epic ‘Stairway to heaven’ by Led Zeppelin (15.7%) leaving Meatloaf’s classic croon ‘I would do anything for Love’ in their wake with only 9.8% of the vote secured.

With the iconic status of bands-gone-by difficult to emulate, it is no wonder that today’s artists are viewed to be taking on the modern mantel of legends. Over 20% of people in the UK think that Michael Bublé has been most successful in taking over from where Frank Sinatra left off, whilst Oasis are considered The Beatles of the noughties by just under one fifth of the nation. The Kings of Leon also seem destined to rule the next five decades with 11.4% of people thinking they are best placed to replicate the achievements of Led Zeppelin.

None of these achievements could have been possible without some revolutionary moments in rock history. The survey by Zippo also found that people view the creation of Woodstock in 1968 as the most revolutionary moment in rock history (16.6%), creating the mould for festivals around the world today. Brits also saw the development of Pirate Radio stations as essential to the rock music evolution (15.3%) allowing rock music to become more accessible to the masses.