Sunday 20 August 2017

Piaf song tops Desert Island list

Edith Piaf features twice on the new Desert Island Discs list
Edith Piaf features twice on the new Desert Island Discs list

Edith Piaf's song Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien has been revealed as the most popular non-classical track to be chosen by castaways on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

The French singer - dubbed "the little sparrow" - also featured at number four in the list with another of her standards La Vie En Rose.

The BBC has for the first time compiled a list of the eight most frequently picked songs, dating back to the show's birth in 1942 which is understandably dominated by vintage tunes.

Only John Lennon's Imagine measures up to fly the flag for contemporary pop, scraping in at number eight. Neither his old band The Beatles nor his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney feature in the list.

Piaf's chart-topper dates back to 1960 - three years before her death - and has been chosen over the years by figures ranging from former Tory minister Baron St John of Fawsley to poet Pam Ayres.

The song has been chosen on 42 occasions, while Piaf's songs have been featured 106 times during the past 59 years.

Second in the list is Frank Sinatra's My Way - another track looking back on life, although unlike Piaf's, his song concedes "regrets, I've had a few". Castaways who have chosen it include both Lord and Lady Tebbit, in separate appearances, and Geoffrey Boycott.

In third position is the Noel Coward track Mad Dogs And Englishmen, favoured by the likes of Sir Geoffrey Howe and the late Mo Mowlam.

The list has been compiled to coincide with the launch of a search for the nation's favourite Desert Island Discs.

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