A Rush Of Blood To The Head triumphed in the poll which saw perennial favourites The Beatles score a highest placing of only number eight.
The top album was revealed yesterday by DJ Jo Whiley following a countdown of the favourites throughout the day. Every entry in the top ten hailed from Britain.
Jonny Buckland, the band’s lead guitarist said: “I feel thrilled. It’s kind of weird, it feels like such a long time ago.
“We’d done so much touring [when we recorded the album], we wanted a bit of a harder sounding album, I know it doesn’t sound particularly hard now, looking back.”
Coldplay’s winning album – featuring hits including Clocks, In My Place and The Scientist – was released in 2002 and topped the charts, going on to sell more than 2.8 million copies in the UK alone.
Runner-up Hopes And Fears by Keane, which like the Coldplay release is piano-heavy, was the most recent album in the top ten, dating from 2004. Duran Duran’s 1982 release Rio came third.
The poll was held to tie in with the recent BBC season The Golden Age of the Album.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, often viewed as one of the greatest and most influential albums ever made, took eighth spot.
A number of other classics figured highly in the list. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, released 40 years ago, was fourth and Sticky Fingers by Glastonbury headliners The Rolling Stones took sixth place.
But Coldplay’s truimph proved controversial, with critics taking to Twitter to voice their dissatisfaction. Some even asked if it was an April Fool joke.
“I’m shocked that coldplay got radio 2’s best album award over oasis/the beatles”, [sic] tweeted one user, while another said: “Decades of popular music to choose from, and whose albums did Radio 2 listeners choose as the best? Coldplay and Keane.”
Listeners were invited in February to vote for their favourite album of all time. Radio 2 head of music Jeff Smith said: “Musicians such as Coldplay and Dido have struck a chord with listeners and are in good company in the top ten alongside legendary bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, whose appeal remains undiminished after all these years.”
Despite selling more than 60 million records worldwide and winning eight Brit Awards and seven Grammies, Coldplay are often the subject of intense criticism over their brand of radio-friendly soft rock.
Influential critic Jon Pareles of the New York Times named Coldplay as “the most insufferable band of the decade” and U2 front man Bono launched a foul-mouthed tirade against singer Chris Martin during a live Radio 1 interview in 2009.
Last year, the band found an unlikely champion in the form of comedian Ricky Gervais, who acknowledged the group as “not the coolest in the world,” but lauded their worldwide appeal.