Coldplay and ABBA 'music greats': report

A musicology study says popular stars should be accepted as 'greats' alongside Mozart and Bach.
A musicology study says popular stars should be accepted as 'greats' alongside Mozart and Bach.

Whitney Houston, Coldplay and ABBA should follow Bach, Beethoven and Mozart in being hailed as 'music greats', a new Australian university study says.

Students in Australia and the UK were asked to nominate musicians and bands they thought were 'great' along with their favourite and least liked songs.

Professor Emery Schubert from UNSW's Empirical Musicology Laboratory said the findings suggest it's time to accept the musical value of bands who have been dismissed in the past.

Professor Schubert pointed to the Beatles as a band widely recognised as 'great.

"Perhaps more surprising are recommendations that ABBA, Queen, Coldplay and Whitney Houston have now joined these great masters of music."

The artists considered the greatest in the study, published in the Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain journal, were Queen, followed by the Beatles, then Beethoven and Coldplay.

The results from the survey showed even when a musical act is loved, there are still some critics hanging around.

None of the participants disliked composers Bach, Beethoven and Mozart - but new contenders Queen and Coldplay were sometimes disliked.

"It seems that undisputed greatness just takes a long time to establish," Professor Schubert said.

Friday by Rebecca Black received the highest number of nominations for disliked piece of music.

This was followed by Happy by Pharrell Williams, Gangnam Style by Psy and Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson.

Nicki Minaj received the most nominations for disliked artist, followed by PSY, Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black and Taylor Swift.

Researchers from UNSW, Curtin University and Roehampton University in the UK surveyed 172 participants for the study.

Australian Associated Press