Pop fans vote Joni Mitchell tops

Beatles dethroned by Led Zeppelin

Vancouver Sun
September 17, 1970

LONDON (CP) - Joni Mitchell, Canadian folk singer who was a leading performer at the recent Isle of Wight pop festival, was voted top female singer in a poll published this week by Britain's most popular musical weekly, Melody Maker.

Joni, 26, was born in Fort Macleod, Alta., and raised in Saskatoon.

Among males, Leonard Cohen, Montreal-born folk singer and poet, was runner-up to the American king of folk, Bob Dylan.

And The Beatles have finally been dethroned.

The quartet that revolutionized modern music when they twanged their way out of a cellar in 1962 have been pushed out as the world's top pop group by the British fans who put them up there in the first place.

Named as the new leaders or the pop world are Led Zeppelin, a four-man British rock band that has made only three LP records in Britain. The Beatles were second.

Thousands of readers of the weekly musical sheet who have voted the Beatles into first place for the past eight years - cast ballots in the polls.

In Britain, the poll is regarded as the official Who's Who and Who's Where pop.

To those over the age of 30, practically everyone with long hair and a guitar or organ may sound the same. But the election results showed how much the pop field has changed in the past year for the kids who listen to the music.

The poll was scattered with names that even the most devout fans had never heard or a year ago; such as Mungo Jerry, Soft Machine or Joe Cocker.

Names like Frank Sinatra were nowhere in sight.

The Melody Maker itself declared: "Shattering... the walls of the pop establishment have crumbled... the new wave has finally taken over."

Noting that a record called Hot Rats by Frank Zappa - former leader of the Mothers of Invention - was the year's top album, British disc jockey Ann Nightingale condemned most of the new music as "boring, unsubtle, unoriginal and pretentious."

Joni Mitchell's delicate songs - sometimes played on a dulcimer - have made her a sensation in Britain. Janis Joplin, last year's winner, was third. Joan Baez came ninth.

America's Bob Dylan was again named best male singer, followed by Leonard Cohen, and with Elvis Presley 50th and Paul McCartney of the Beatles ninth.

One reason for the drop in popularity of the Beatles who have broken up as a group anyway - was clearly that they haven't performed together since 1966. Even without showing themselves, they led the field for three more years.

Britain's top pop vocalist this year was Robert Plant, singer with Led Zeppelin. Tom Jones, last year's winner, dropped to fifth.

The Melody Maker said the world's top five groups are: Led Zeppelin; The Beatles; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; The Who, and the Mothers of Invention.

Another poll result showed how ethereal pop music can be voted as the brightest hope on the music scene were Emerson, Lake and Palmer - a British group, that had never played a note together when the votes were cast. They won on the strength of their publicity.

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