But Aren't They One Year Too Early?

Any FM-radio DJ who was on the air in the US through the late '70s and early '80s will tell you that the song most often requested was easily Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" popped up regularly, but it was never a contest. So it comes as no surprise that Zep's epic hit would make the list of the 10 songs included in the "Millennium Mix" being presented this month by Dick Clark. (Never mind that the millennium actually ends December 31, 2000.)

The tally is the result of a national Millennium Mix contest that Philips Consumer Electronics North America recently conducted to "reward contestant creativity for compiling the definitive CD party mix for upcoming New Year's Eve celebrations." While Philips says that contestants were offered advice from Clark on what types of songs were likely to be chosen, no limitation or restriction was placed on their choices.

Here are the 10 songs listed most often, each followed by the name of the artist who performed it, the title of the album on which it appeared, the date of that album's release, and the record label:
1) "1999," Prince, 1999 (1982), Warner Bros.
2) "American Pie," Don McLean, American Pie (1971), EMI
3) "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana, Nevermind (1991), Geffen
4) "Beat It," Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982), Epic
5) "Holiday," Madonna, Madonna (1983), Sire
6) "Satisfaction," The Rolling Stones, Out of Our Heads (1965), Abkco
7) "Love Me Tender," Elvis Presley, Elvis (1956), RCA
8) "Stairway to Heaven," Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Atlantic
9) "Rock Around the Clock," Bill Haley & His Comets, Rock Around the Clock (1956), Decca
10) "She Loves You," The Beatles, Second Album (1964), Capitol

Dick Clark adds that "this is such a unique contest because it doesn't ask you to pick songs based on record sales or sheer popularity. Instead, it challenges you to determine what songs are universally relevant and appropriate for this once-in-a-millennium celebration. That's why '1999' and 'Rock Around the Clock' are such perfect choices! These people really put a lot of effort and creativity into their selections."

Philips says that, based on the contest rules, the entrant whose list most closely matched the consensus 10 songs is crowned the Grand Prize winner. Holly Simpson of Atlanta, Georgia matched eight of the top 10 songs. (She also included "Stayin' Alive," The Bee Gees, The Bee Gees' Greatest (1979), Polydor; and "Time Is On My Side," The Rolling Stones, 12x5 (1964), Abkco.) Philips says that they are awarding Simpson $3000 in cash and the company's CDR775 dual-deck CD recorder.