Smiths Top Beatles in NME Music Icons Poll

By | April 16, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Angst-ridden Mancunian rock quartet The Smiths have beaten off competition from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to be declared music bible NME’s most important rock group of the last 50 years.

The band, renowned for its fatalistic lyrics and fronted by the misery-wallowing Morrisey, have not troubled the pop charts for more than a decade, but NME – the fanzine formerly known as New Musical Express – ranked them as more important than Elvis, the Sex Pistols and Madonna.

Bands were assessed on the number of front covers, letters and features they generated as well as end-of-year polls.

Beatle fans can take some consolation that the Fab Four came in second, followed by the Stone Roses and David Bowie.

Fellow Manchester band Oasis were the highest-ranking modern day band, at number six in NME’s 50th anniversary survey. Self-styled Queen of Pop Madonna scraped in at number 42, eclipsed by controversial American white rapper Eminem at 40.

Unsurprisingly, modern manufactured chart toppers like “Pop Idol” TV show winner Will Young and runner-up Gareth Gates failed to make an impression.