Coldplay's Clocks has been named 6 Music listener's favourite song of the last ten years. The digital radio station's year-long celebration of its tenth birthday culminated in the announcement of the winner of a poll to find which song was the greatest hit of the station's decade of broadcasting. More on this announcement, including the audio to the full Will Champion interview with Steve Lamacq is at the Coldplay forum now [thanks LARD, Tash, Denise]
Coldplay comfortably beat out competition from other big hitters such as Arctic Monkeys, Elbow, the Killers, the White Stripes, Johnny Cash and Radiohead to claim the number one spot, with their signature tune, Clocks. Throughout today there has been a Greatest Hits Chart rundown as the order of the top 100 songs, as voted by over 100,000 listeners based on a list decided by the station's presenters, producers and staff, has been revealed. Steve Lamacq was given the honour of revealing the top 30 during his afternoon show, having launched the poll on 7 January.
More than 100,000 votes were cast in the poll which looks back over the 10 years since the station began in 2002. "It's a good result for Coldplay, who were clearly one of the biggest bands of the decade," said DJ Steve Lamacq.
"But you can see the breadth of 6 Music's tastes in the rest of the top 10, including some bands who we've championed and who've broken through commercially like Elbow, and some brilliant groups who remain out there on the margins of pop like British Sea Power and The National."
Speaking on 6 Music, Coldplay's Will Champion said he was "totally blown away" by topping the poll. "This is extraordinary. We've been listening to 6 Music since it started and I feel like our band's career and this station have grown up in parallel. This top 10 is amazing - what an amazing 10 years of music," he said.
Will said that topping the chart was all the more surprising as 'we all said not bad for a song that hasn't got a chorus'. "When I first heard it, Chris played the riff and I said 'that's a good intro what about the rest of the song?' I was scratching my head trying to find something that would fill a little gap in the record."
He added: "This was a first successful attempt at writing a song where the melodic hook was the key to a song rather than a big chorus. Our manager said it would never be a hit and here we are."
The third single from Coldplay's platinum-selling second album A Rush of Blood to the Head, Clocks reached number nine on the UK singles chart and number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100. In 2004 it was voted record of the year at the Grammy Awards. In October 2011, it came number 148 on the NME's list of the 150 best tracks of the past 15 years.
The top 10 tracks voted 6 Music's Greatest hits were:
10: Radiohead – There There
9: British Sea Power – Remember Me
8: Johnny Cash – Hurt
7: The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??
6: The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
5: The Killers – Mr Brightside
4: The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
3: Elbow – One Day like This
2: Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
1: Coldplay – Clocks
The full rundown of all 100 tracks can be seen at the 6 Music website bbc.co.uk/6music
Will Champion interview transcript [thanks LARD]:
Steve: Now: It won a Grammy for you, this track... but surely THIS is a bigger award!
Will: This is extraordinary, I was totally blown away. We've been listening to 6 Music since it started so our band's career and this station's career have kind of grown up in parallel. Just looking at this top 10, it's extraordinary, so many new and old bands.
Steve: It's a tough competition. Wherever you go in that list there is inventive and incredible music.
Will: Yeah, The Flaming Lips: that band changed everything for us when we first saw them at Glastonbury in 1999, and it was just stunning. They'd be my no.1.
Steve: One of the things you notice having listened throughout the day is how music has diversified and evolved so much. There have always been critics who've said 'we haven't seen much progression in music' ...but look at this list!
Will: An amazing 10 years of music
Steve: Now Clocks is an interesting one: was it the last thing you wrote on A Rush Of Blood To The Head?
Will: It was pretty much the last thing. I was speaking to the guys last night when we heard about this, and we all said 'not bad for a song without a chorus!'. I remember when Chris came in and played the bit on the piano. I said 'OK that's a good intro... now what about the rest of the song?' and he said 'No, it's like a hook, it doesn't have a vocal chorus'.
Steve: At the time there was kind of a feeling that the album maybe wasn't finished, or it was looking for something...
Will: That always happens to us at the end... you get to a point where it's finished and there's always a gap. This was a first successful attempt at writing a song where a melodic hook was the key to the song rather than a big swooping chorus or choral singalong. We've used the same technique on a couple of other songs. Our manager was talking about releasing it as a single and, I'll quote him, he said 'I'll eat my hat if that is a hit'... and here we are!
Steve: It became a very big part of the live set. I remember following you through the States as you played that album and it was a very important song in the set.
Will: Yeah it was. We decided to play Glastonbury 2002 before the album came out, and that was a kind of make or break moment. It was the moment we knew everything was alright when we stated playing Clocks, because the piano riff comes in and we'd spent every penny we had to do the show on this one enormous laser. We'd never seen it in action because you needed to get permission from air traffic control to actually switch it on. The lighting guy said 'yeah, it's going to be amazing', and we thought it was going to be a damp squib. And then we started playing this song and this big green laser came on... it went from being a tiny pin-prick and it just spread out over the whole place; it put a ceiling over the Pyramid stage and it was just stunning. From then on it's become a really important part of the live show.
Steve: As with any important song, there was nothing it wasn't 'on'. You couldn't have a football show for example without hearing it.
Will: It's weird, you tend to switch off... and there are adverts where they know that they won't be able to get the licence for the real song, so they pay someone to make a song that's very similar to it, but changing enough notes to it's not legally too similar.
Steve: So that's what Guy does in his spare time!
Will: Ah, so that's where he gets his money from! But you hear the phrasing [of the piano part] behind it... it's been an iconic thing for us, so you could hear it everywhere.
Steve: Wasn't it used in an episode of Family Guy?
Will: I'm afraid so! It's ubiquitous unfortunately; you can't escape it.
Steve: So when do you get some time off? I doubt any of you can leave Coldplay alone for long.
Will: It normally takes about three weeks off the road. We played our last show of this last tour on New Year's Eve, and by about January 17th I'd phoned up Jonny and said 'do you want to go down to the studio?'. So we're definitely starting to think again, even though we don't have a particularly solid idea, the idea of not playing music for any length of time is not worth thinking about. So we're enjoying playing music and just trying to see what's on the horizon.
Steve: Does it hold good memories for you, this particular song?
Will: Each album seems to have a song which acts like a keystone. It's like a passport for a whole different level of stuff. 'Yellow' was that one for the first record, and Clocks was definitely the song on the second record that allowed us to go to different places. It attracted a different type of person to the music and to the band, and we're so grateful that it turned out to be as successful as it was and I was totally wrong about it.
Steve: [Laughs] Well congratulations to the rest of the guys, I hope they're all well.
Will: Not at all, and thank you for 12 years of looking after us... you've been a very nice man to us.