Bob Dylan Beats Elvis In British Pop Poll

Topping the charts for both best singer and best album, Dylan takes it all

Bob Dylan
Fiona Adams/Redferns
Bob Dylan
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Bob Dylan is the world's greatest singer, according to the annual poll of readers conducted by Melody Maker, the British pop weekly. Dylan was also fourth most popular musician, right after Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Herb Alpert. John Wesley Harding was voted top album. Among the singers Dylan topped were Elvis Presley, 3rd; Otis Redding, 5th; Donovan, 7th; Mick Jagger, 8th; and Paul McCartney, 9th.

The top groups were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Cream. More of a surprise were the next six groups, all American (excluding, if you will, Jimi Hendrix, who formed his group in England): the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Hendrix, the Monkees, the Union Gap and the Doors.

There was a separate poll for best British musicians. The results were much the same as the International section, minus the Americans. Thus Donovan was 3rd, after balladeers Scott Walker and Tom Jones, Mick Jagger was 5th and Paul McCartney 7th, with John Mayall sneaking into 6th.

In the British section of the poll, Julie Driscoll was top girl singer, a position she relinquished to Aretha Franklin in the International section. Julie's single of the Dylan composition "This Wheel's On Fire" was second most popular British disc, after the Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The most popular single in the International section was Elvis Presley's "U.S. Male."

This story is from the October 26th, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 20: October 26, 1968