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Our politicians must be just like us.

Byline: By TOMOS LIVINGSTONE Western Mail

Tony blair may have once been a punk and David Cameron may know The Smiths' lyrics by heart, but if they turn to their backbenchers they'll find a sea of middle-of-the-road rock fans. A survey of MPs' favourite number one albums has found a fondness for Led Zeppelin, U2, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd on the green benches.

Zep's 1969 Led Zeppelin II came out on top, with The Beatles proving the most popular choice of artist.

There were some daring decisions too - shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan went for Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, famously used as the soundtrack to The Exorcist.

And the Labour MP for Hyndburn in Lancashire, Greg Pope, chose Never Mind The B*****ks Here's The Sex Pistols.

'It changed the face of music forever and meant we never had to listen to Boney M again,' he said.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, MP Lembit Opik, was one of those who plumped for Led Zeppelin. He said, 'In the early 1970s I followed Led Zeppelin and artists like Soft Machine and Roy Palmer, who most people have never heard of now. Led Zeppelin made it through obscurity.

'Zeppelin made a new kind of music. They created a genre many have copied but no one has equalled. And Whole Lotta Love is the greatest rock song ever.

'I got to meet [lead singer] Robert Plant last year. He's a great musician and a great leader, and he carries on making amazing new music.'

Conservative MP Damian Green dubbed it 'the ultimate album for teenage boys - metal as art. No one ever topped it. The opening riff is straightforward perfection'.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell opted for The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, while Education Secretary Alan Johnson preferred Revolver, as did Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan. Former Tory leader Michael Howard went for The Beatles' White Album.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain chose This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours by the Manic Street Preachers while Wrexham MP Ian Lucas chose Paul Simon's Graceland.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant chose U2's The Joshua Tree, while Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott chose the same band's greatest hits.

She said, 'This reminds me of being at school and university and listening to U2, among others, while pulling all-nighters writing essays.

'I still listen to it while in the car and can't help singing along to every song. I saw U2 live in my constituency last year just after getting elected and they are still one of the best bands of the last few decades.'

Some politicians showed a fondness for Britpop - Lib-Dem MP Jo Swinson, the youngest in Parliament at 26, named (What's The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis as her favourite, while Labour MPs Ian Pearson and Jim Knight opted for Pulp's Different Class. Others chose oddly appropriate titles. Mark Oaten, who announced yesterday he would stand down as Lib-Dem MP for Winchester at the next election after an affair with a male prostitute, went for Dare by Human League. 'This album reminds me of my last year at school and brings up a lot of happy memories. Every track is a killer, not a filler,' he said. Visitors to the British Library in London can hear every album that has reached number one at listening stations in the entry hall from tomorrow.: The favourite number one albums chosen by some leading Welsh politicians:Kevin Brennan (Labour, Cardiff West) The Beatles - Revolver (1966) Chris Bryant (Labour, Rhondda) U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987) Cheryl Gillan (Conservative, Chesham and Amersham and shadow Welsh secretary) Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973) Peter Hain (Labour, Neath and Welsh Secretary) Manic Street Preachers - This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1999) Ian Lucas (Labour, Wrexham) Paul Simon - Graceland (1986) Lembit Opik (Lib-Dem, Montgomeryshire) Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969) Jenny Willott (Lib-Dem, Cardiff Central) U2 - The Best of 1980-1990 and B Sides (1998)
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 27, 2006
Words:654
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