The Beatles’ enduring appeal was confirmed today when they were named the most important entertainers of the past 100 years.
John, Paul, George and Ringo beat the challenge of stars ranging from Elvis to Lassie to be crowned Icons of the Century by entertainment bible Variety.
The magazine quizzed key industry figures and held a public vote to assemble the list, drawn up to mark its 100th birthday.
Executive editor Steven Gaydos said: “To celebrate 100 years of Variety, it seemed only natural to celebrate 100 of the people who gave us something to talk about.
“We’re excited to honour The Beatles in our special edition centenary issue, giving special recognition to the sole group who has most shaped the face of modern-day showbusiness.”
Among the criteria for choosing icons were commercial and creative impact, number of imitators, enduring appeal, and whether they appear on t-shirts.
The list is meant to represent every side of showbusiness, including actors, directors, screenwriters, musicians, television presenters, animals, comedians and even cartoon characters.
However, the top ten is dominated by Hollywood screen stars and music legends.
After the Liverpudlian hit machine come jazz genius Louis Armstrong, I Love Lucy actress Lucille Ball, and actors Humphrey Bogart and Marlon Brando.
Film stars Charlie Chaplin, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe – one of only two women in the top ten – take the sixth, seventh and eighth spot, while cartoon character Mickey Mouse polled ninth.
Somewhat surprisingly, Elvis Presley only features at number 10, despite still attracting hordes of visitors to Graceland and selling millions of records every year.
Variety’s Top Ten Icons of the Century:
1. The Beatles
2. Louis Armstrong
3. Lucille Ball
4. Humphrey Bogart
5. Marlon Brando
6. Charlie Chaplin
7. James Dean
8. Marilyn Monroe
9. Mickey Mouse
10. Elvis Presley