Radiohead's 'Ok Computer' was voted the greatest album of all time last week by British music fans.The experimental rockers were awarded the prestigious title after topping a poll conducted by British TV station Channel Four, who quizzed half-a-million people, to find the nation's favourite records.The Oxford five-piece - singer Thom Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, second guitarist Jonny Greenwood, bass player Colin Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway beat off stiff competition from a host of critically acclaimed artists including U2, The Beatles, stadium rockers Queen and Oasis to claim the coveted top spot.The album, released in 1997, was closely followed in second place by 'The Joshua Tree' by U2, Nirvana's 'Nevermind' came third, while Michael Jackson's pop masterpiece 'Thriller' - which spawned an incredible seven hit singles - was voted into fourth position.Other entries in the top ten included 'Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd, which came fifth, Oasis' debut album 'Definitely Maybe', which finished in sixth position, while The Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and 'Revolver' came seventh and tenth respectively making them the only band to have to entries in the top ten.Radiohead's victory, although not unsurprising, drew both praise and criticism up from other artists and sparked furious debate across the UK. And thousands of music lovers were left fuming that there favourites didn't make the top ten, or even top fifty, and more questioning the credentials of the eventual winner.How can there be no place in the list for Bob Dylan's 1963 masterpiece 'The Free Wheelin' Bob Dylan'? Or, why does the American folk legend not have an album higher than 'Blood on the Tracks' finishing in 55th position? And are 'real' music fans ready to accept the notion that New Romantic popsters Duran Duran - who claimed 30th position with their second album 'Rio' - produced a record better than the efforts of The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Marvin Gaye and David Bowie.

But the true controversy still surrounds the winner, for many pop commentators and fans the greatest album of all time is The Beatles 1967 masterpiece 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.

The winner of numerous polls conducted by America's two music bibles 'Rolling Stone' and 'Billboard' and countless other lists conducted by British magazines and television shows, the Fab Four's psychedelic long-player is often credited for inventing modern rock and pop music and changing the musical landscape across the world.

In 2003, Rolling Stone named the album the greatest, describing it as the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time in their '500 Greatest Albums of all Time' special collector's issue. Channel Four's winner 'OK Computer' reached a lowly 162.

With controversy raging, and Beatles fanatics across the country tearing their hair out in disgust, it is time to critique the two albums and decide which truly the greatest.

Number 1 - Radiohead 'OK Computer'.

The third album by the Oxford five-piece was a global critical and commercial success that catapulted the band onto the world stage.

The record was the follow up to 1995's 'The Bends' - itself reaching a respectable 22 in Channel Four's poll which, although released to universal glowing reviews, initially struggled to make an impact in the UK charts during the summer of Brit-pop with Blur and Oasis battling it out to top the charts. However, by the end of the year 'The Bends' had begun to slowly rise up the charts, in both the US and the UK, due to the group's gruelling touring schedule they spent most of 1995 playing as the opening act on R.E.M's 'Monster' tour and word-of-mouth recommendations. By the start of 1996 Radiohead had a top-ten hit on their hands and four top twenty singles 'Just', 'Fake Plastic Trees' 'High and Dry' and 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)'.

On the back of this sudden commercial success, Thom and co' went into the studio in the later stage of 1996 with the intention to make a record that would re-invent their sound and alienate some of the casual fans they had attracted in the past few months.

Instead they created a paranoid, complex; electronic masterpiece that eclipsed every other album released in 1997 and even had housewives rushing to the shops to snap it up.

Fusing the band's talent for writing blistering, angst-ridden rock with spine-chilling electronica and Thom's paranoia filled lyrics the band re-invented prog-rock for the 90s.

Stand-out tracks include 'Paranoid Android', the album's powerful first single, which opens with a beautiful acoustic melody before becoming layered with futuristic sounds and robotic voices eventually building into a frenzied explosion of drums, thrashing crunch guitars and Yorke's haunting, wailing voice. The song manages to convey the despair and isolation of modern, western society while exploring the way the so-called 'rat race' destroys the human spirit.

'No Surprises', the album's most radio friendly track - reaching number 4 in the UK in January 1998 - opens with a beautiful child-like guitar melody mirrored on the xylophone and unusually for a Radiohead song contains an instantly catchy, upbeat chorus.

But the warm melodies only serve to mask lyrics that focus on the exhausting pressure placed on people to conform to what society expects of them and how it judges them by their status in terms of having a secure job, a family and being a useful commodity to society.

'

Lucky' a Pink Floyd influenced epic with it's psychedelic guitars contains messages of love and death and is the most 'Bends' like track on the record with it's slightly off-key guitar solo which closes the song.

So a seemingly worthy winner of the prestigious poll which was applauded by other musicians

The Smiths former guitarist Johnny Marr said: 'OK Computer' is pretty much a landmark record. As time goes on and we get away from when it was released, more and more it would be seen as the important record it is."

R.E.M singer Michael Stipe said: 'OK Computer' is Radiohead really stretching and pushing the boundaries of what they think they're capable of doing and what their audience think they're capable of doing and it is a classic, brilliant record."

But what of Sgt Peppers?

Number 7 - The Beatles 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Usually the record that claims the top spot in greatest album polls The Beatles were knocked down the list this time round in favour of more modern recordings.

However, this masterpiece from 1967 revolutionised what music was and could be and introduced the world to the Fab Four's psychedelic period.

After stopping touring in 1966 to become solely a studio band they finally had the opportunity to experiment in the studio with producer George Martin and re-invent The Beatles from mop-top guitar heroes to ground-breaking musical pioneers by creating alter-egos.

Jaded by performing live without hearing themselves and disillusioned by their God-like status and unreal fame the band took at that time an unprecedented step to transform their sound.

Paul McCartney admits the re-invention was necessary to break free of people's pre-conceptions about himself John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr otherwise the group may never had made the record. He explains: "It was my idea to say to the guys, 'Hey, how about disguising ourselves and getting an alter ego, because we're the Beatles and we're fed up. Why don't we just make up some incredible alter egos and think, "Now how would he sing it? How would he approach this track?"' And it freed us. It was a very liberating thing to do."

And it worked, the songs are so vivid they paint a picture in your mind as they play. The lyrics on 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' - it's initials 'coincidently' spelling out the hallucinogenic drug L.S.D are so descriptive you imagination runs away with you, while 'Within You Without You' sees George tackle the paradoxical nature of Eastern religious philosophy and lets fans go on a wondrous audio journey.

But the record still contained unequivocally brilliant pop songs, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'With a Little Help From My Friends', 'Getting Better' and 'When I'm Sixty-Four' all instant classic and served not to alienate the band's early fans.

The Beatles even had the sense of humour to include a dog whistle, inaudible to humans, on the second half of the record simply to annoy dogs and their owners just because they could.

A truly remarkable record which amazingly has not dated since its release almost 30 years ago but which is the greatest, if either?

Music is purely subjective and defined by the listener, what is great to one audience is not to another - a classic example of this would be Oasis's 'Definitely Maybe' hailed by British music lovers as one of the best rock records ever produced it is does not even feature in the minds of American fans when compiling such lists.

Both 'OK Computer' and 'Sgt. Pepper's' are truly remarkable recordings that will be discussed 50 years from now but can one album really be regarded as the best of all time with all the different genres and songs and more importantly will be people still care about albums in the future with the advent of downloading and digital music ?

Instead of compiling lists, British music fans should just enjoy the rich tapestry of recordings and decide which is the greatest, or more correctly their favourite, in their own minds. Channel Four's 100 Greatest Albums:
  • 1. RADIOHEAD - OK Computer
  • 2. U2 - The Joshua Tree
  • 3. NIRVANA - Nevermind
  • 4. MICHAEL JACKSON - Thriller
  • 5. PINK FLOYD - Dark Side of the Moon
  • 6. OASIS - Definitely Maybe
  • 7. THE BEATLES - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • 8. MADONNA - Like a Prayer
  • 9. GUNS N' ROSES - Appetite For Destruction
  • 10. THE BEATLES - Revolver
  • 11. R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
  • 12. THE BEATLES - The White Album
  • 13. QUEEN - A Night at the Opera
  • 14. COLDPLAY - Parachutes
  • 15. OASIS - (What's the Story) Morning Glory
  • 16. ALANIS MORISSETTE - Jagged Little Pill
  • 17. LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin IV
  • 18. THE VERVE - Urban Hymns
  • 19. JIMI HENDRIX - Are you Experienced
  • 20. THE SMITHS - The Queen Is Dead
  • 21. JOHN LENNON - Imagine,/li>
  • 22. RADIOHEAD - The Bends
  • 23. BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS - Exodus
  • 24. THE STONE ROSES - The Stone Roses
  • 25. SIMON AND GARFUNKEL - Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 26. BJORK - Debut
  • 27. THE DOORS - The Doors
  • 28. ABBA - Arrival
  • 29. MICHAEL JACKSON - Off the Wall
  • 30. DURAN DURAN - Rio
  • 31. SEX PISTOLS - Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
  • 32. DAVID BOWIE - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 33. THE BEACH BOYS - Pet Sounds
  • 34. JOY DIVISION - Closer
  • 35. THE ROLLING STONES - Let It Bleed
  • 36. BLUR - Parklife
  • 37. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Born to Run
  • 38. BILLIE HOLIDAY - Lady Sings the Blues
  • 39. THE WHITE STRIPES - Elephant
  • 40. BLACK SABBATH - Paranoid
  • 41. THE SPECIALS - Specials
  • 42. THE ROLLING STONES - Exile on Main Street
  • 43. FRANK SINATRA - Songs for Swingin' Lovers!
  • 44. THE CLASH - London Calling
  • 45. THE PRODIGY - The Fat of the Land
  • 46. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - The Velvet Underground and Nico
  • 47. DIRE STRAITS - Brothers in Arms
  • 48. PIXIES - Doolittle
  • 49. ARETHA FRANKLIN - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
  • 50. THE LIBERTINES - The Libertines
  • 51. HAPPY MONDAYS - Pills 'N' Thrills and Bellyaches
  • 52. PATTI SMITH - Horses
  • 53. THE WHO - Tommy
  • 54. LOU REED - Transformer
  • 55. BOB DYLAN - Blood on the Tracks
  • 56. PRINCE - Sign 'o' the Times
  • 57. DIDO - No Angel
  • 58. AIR - Moon Safari
  • 59. ELTON JOHN - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  • 60. THE JAM - All Mod Cons
  • 61. JEFF BUCKLEY - Grace
  • 62. FLEETWOOD MAC - Rumours
  • 63. MOBY - Play
  • 64. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS - Blood Sugar Sex Magik
  • 65. THE POLICE - Synchronicity
  • 66. JONI MITCHELL - Blue
  • 67. CURTIS MAYFIELD - Superfly
  • 68. ELVIS PRESLEY - The Sun Sessions
  • 69. OUTKAST - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
  • 70. PULP - Different Class
  • 71. KRAFTWERK - Trans-Europe Express
  • 72. MASSIVE ATTACK - Blue Lines
  • 73. BECK - Odelay
  • 74. STEVIE WONDER - Songs in the Key of Life
  • 75. KATE BUSH - Hounds of Love
  • 76. TALKING HEADS - Fear of Music
  • 77. EMINEM - The Marshall Mathers LP
  • 78. MARVIN GAYE - What's Going On
  • 79. GEORGE MICHAEL - Faith
  • 80. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER - The Original Movie Soundtrack
  • 81. PRIMAL SCREAM - Screamadelica
  • 82. JOHN COLTRANE - A Love Supreme
  • 83. LOVE - Forever Changes
  • 84. PAUL SIMON - Graceland
  • 85. NICK DRAKE - Five Leaves Left
  • 86. MEAT LOAF - Bat Out of Hell
  • 87. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD - Dusty in Memphis
  • 88. DE LA SOUL - 3 Feet High and Rising
  • 89. THE STROKES - Is this It
  • 90. MADNESS - One Step Beyond...
  • 91. ROBBIE WILLIAMS - I've Been Expecting You
  • 92. NEIL YOUNG - After the Gold Rush
  • 93. PUBLIC ENEMY - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  • 94. BLONDIE - Parallel Lines
  • 95. THE EAGLES - Hotel California
  • 96. JAMES BROWN - Sex Machine
  • 97. THE STREETS - A Grand Don't Come for Free
  • 98. DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
  • 99. ROD STEWART - Every Picture Tells a Story
  • 100.The HUMAN LEAGUE - Dare!
Radiohead's 'Ok Computer' was voted the greatest album of all time last week by British music fans.The experimental rockers were awarded the prestigious title after topping a poll conducted by British TV station Channel Four, who quizzed half-a-million people, to find the nation's favourite records.The Oxford five-piece - singer Thom Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, second guitarist Jonny Greenwood, bass player Colin Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway beat off stiff competition from a host of critically acclaimed artists including U2, The Beatles, stadium rockers Queen and Oasis to claim the coveted top spot.The album, released in 1997, was closely followed in second place by 'The Joshua Tree' by U2, Nirvana's 'Nevermind' came third, while Michael Jackson's pop masterpiece 'Thriller' - which spawned an incredible seven hit singles - was voted into fourth position.Other entries in the top ten included 'Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd, which came fifth, Oasis' debut album 'Definitely Maybe', which finished in sixth position, while The Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' and 'Revolver' came seventh and tenth respectively making them the only band to have to entries in the top ten.Radiohead's victory, although not unsurprising, drew both praise and criticism up from other artists and sparked furious debate across the UK. And thousands of music lovers were left fuming that there favourites didn't make the top ten, or even top fifty, and more questioning the credentials of the eventual winner.How can there be no place in the list for Bob Dylan's 1963 masterpiece 'The Free Wheelin' Bob Dylan'? Or, why does the American folk legend not have an album higher than 'Blood on the Tracks' finishing in 55th position? And are 'real' music fans ready to accept the notion that New Romantic popsters Duran Duran - who claimed 30th position with their second album 'Rio' - produced a record better than the efforts of The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Marvin Gaye and David Bowie.

But the true controversy still surrounds the winner, for many pop commentators and fans the greatest album of all time is The Beatles 1967 masterpiece 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'.

The winner of numerous polls conducted by America's two music bibles 'Rolling Stone' and 'Billboard' and countless other lists conducted by British magazines and television shows, the Fab Four's psychedelic long-player is often credited for inventing modern rock and pop music and changing the musical landscape across the world.

In 2003, Rolling Stone named the album the greatest, describing it as the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time in their '500 Greatest Albums of all Time' special collector's issue. Channel Four's winner 'OK Computer' reached a lowly 162.

With controversy raging, and Beatles fanatics across the country tearing their hair out in disgust, it is time to critique the two albums and decide which truly the greatest.

Number 1 - Radiohead 'OK Computer'.

The third album by the Oxford five-piece was a global critical and commercial success that catapulted the band onto the world stage.

The record was the follow up to 1995's 'The Bends' - itself reaching a respectable 22 in Channel Four's poll which, although released to universal glowing reviews, initially struggled to make an impact in the UK charts during the summer of Brit-pop with Blur and Oasis battling it out to top the charts. However, by the end of the year 'The Bends' had begun to slowly rise up the charts, in both the US and the UK, due to the group's gruelling touring schedule they spent most of 1995 playing as the opening act on R.E.M's 'Monster' tour and word-of-mouth recommendations. By the start of 1996 Radiohead had a top-ten hit on their hands and four top twenty singles 'Just', 'Fake Plastic Trees' 'High and Dry' and 'Street Spirit (Fade Out)'.

On the back of this sudden commercial success, Thom and co' went into the studio in the later stage of 1996 with the intention to make a record that would re-invent their sound and alienate some of the casual fans they had attracted in the past few months.

Instead they created a paranoid, complex; electronic masterpiece that eclipsed every other album released in 1997 and even had housewives rushing to the shops to snap it up.

Fusing the band's talent for writing blistering, angst-ridden rock with spine-chilling electronica and Thom's paranoia filled lyrics the band re-invented prog-rock for the 90s.

Stand-out tracks include 'Paranoid Android', the album's powerful first single, which opens with a beautiful acoustic melody before becoming layered with futuristic sounds and robotic voices eventually building into a frenzied explosion of drums, thrashing crunch guitars and Yorke's haunting, wailing voice. The song manages to convey the despair and isolation of modern, western society while exploring the way the so-called 'rat race' destroys the human spirit.

'No Surprises', the album's most radio friendly track - reaching number 4 in the UK in January 1998 - opens with a beautiful child-like guitar melody mirrored on the xylophone and unusually for a Radiohead song contains an instantly catchy, upbeat chorus.