After carefully crafting a new, space-saving digital library, I recently sold my CD collection. During the big sort out, I ended-up revisiting albums from my childhood, teenage years and university days. I’m constantly amazed by how evocative music can be. Even hearing the first few notes of a song can instantly transport you back in time to a memory of a place, a person or a joke.
So, without further ado – my life so far, in 7 songs:
- Bob Marley – ‘Three Little Birds’
- Aerosmith – ‘Amazing’
- Guns N Roses – ‘Paradise City’
- The Dan Band – ‘Total Eclipse of The Heart’
- Mumford & Sons – ‘White Blank Page’
- Sia – ‘Breathe Me’
- Metric – ‘Gimme Sympathy’
Rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun. Three little birds, pitch by my doorstep. Singing sweet songs. The melodies pure and true, sayin’;
“This is my message to you – don’t worry, about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”
This is probably the earliest memory I have of enjoying music. I remember sitting in the back of my parents’ car, begging for this song to be played on the stereo, again and again. We wore the cassette out.
Life’s a journey, not a destination, and I just can’t tell you what tomorrow brings.
Aerosmith songs have followed me all over the country roadtripping for over a decade. I remember hearing this song on the radio aged 13. Up until then I’d never heard an Aerosmith song, but I was instantly blown away by Steven Tyler’s vocals. He was one of the first artists in history to record both lead vocals as well as all harmonies, and the effect is mesmerising. Just listen to the beginning of ‘Janie’s Got A Gun’ for a great example of his trademark vocal layering. To be honest, I could have picked any Aerosmith track, but these lyrics have always really resonated with me.
Take me down to the Paradise City, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.
The first album I ever owned was ‘Appetite for Destruction’, aged just 10. Looking back, I know that I was far too young to have been listening to this sort of music, but damn it sounded good at the time. And it still does.
Every now and then I fall apart, and I need you now tonight, I ******* NEED YOU MORE THAN EVER.
This song pretty much sums up why I enjoy performing music as much as listening to it. The sheer fun and cheekiness of playing this version of the 80s classic power ballad appeals to my naughty side. It definitely beats cranking out ANOTHER Jamie Cullum cover. 😉
Can you lie next to her, and give her your heart?
Watching Mumford & Sons live at Leeds Festival last summer was a phenomenal experience. I’ve never been in a crowd so electric, or heard a band with such a powerful live sound. Although Mumford & Sons have recently been criticised for being ‘too earnest’, I think that this really sets them apart from other folk artists- the pain and anger in this song is heartbreaking, palpable, and it carries through just as powerfully in a simple bookshop setting as a festival performance for thousands. Easily the best live band I’ve ever seen.
Be my friend, hold me, wrap me up.
Last year I did one of the most unusual things I’ve ever had to do – I wrote my will. It was a strange enough experience which got even stranger when I was asked to pick the music to be played at my funeral. This made the shortlist.
We’re so close, to something better left unknown. I can feel it in my bones.
Which brings us up to the present. My big challenge at the moment is training for a 10K run, my first genuine attempt at long-distance running since school. I’ve discovered that a great bonus of taking up this new challenge is choosing great music to run to. Music to make you work harder and dig deeper than you ever have. This is one of my favourite ‘boost songs’.