In honour of The September Song Project, and because I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone’s Food for Thought Friday posts for “Music On, World Off”, I’ve decided to create my Top Ten Countdown. A couple of years ago, I conducted the exercise of creating a “my Top 40” playlist. I’ve managed to find my old phone and the playlist I’d saved on it, so I thought it might be fun to post my Top Ten; as much for my own amusement and enjoyment as anything else! But I hope you might find a song you haven’t heard in a long while or, even better, something you haven’t heard before that you fall in love with…
10. Rise- Public Image Limited.
John Lydon is an icon, and this song is a piece of genius. John later used the song’s hook-line “anger is an energy” as the title of his autobiography.
9. Soweto- Malcolm McLaren.
I loved Malcolm McLaren (RIP). He was always a step ahead of the trend. He was Vogue-ing a good few years before Madonna made it a thing, and on his classic “Duck Rock” album (from which this track is taken), he was working with African musicians before Paul Simon did it with “Graceland”. I love the dancy, feel-good vibe of “Soweto” – I can’t resist dancing everytime I hear its opening strains.
8. Moonlight Shadow – Mike Oldfield.
One of my favourite ever artists, and he of “Tubular Bells” fame. In the 1980’s Mike started recording a lot with singer Maggie Reilly, and it is her haunting voice you hear on this gorgeous tune. Also, how much did Mike look like David Tennant back in the early 80s?!
7. Language is a Virus (From Outer Space)- Laurie Anderson.
The title comes from a William S. Burroughs quote, and the song is customarily weird and wonderful as is so much of Laurie Anderson’s work.
6. Red Rain- Peter Gabriel.
The opening track to Peter Gabriel’s classic album, “So”. The power of those opening drums, the eerie dreamlike quality of the lyrics and Peter’s unmistakable vocals. I think this may be one of the finest openings to any album ever.
5. Don’t Come Around Here No More- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Another artist we’ve lost in recent years, Tom Petty’s talent was immeasurable. I love the sitar on this track, and the crazy Alice in Wonderland video with Petty playing the Mad Hatter. (And, yes, that is Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics.)
4. I Feel Love- Donna Summer.
Donna Summer was the Queen of Disco back in the 70s. Very sexual (her song “Love to Love You, Baby” is essentially an orgasm set to music), Donna was a gay icon until she sadly rejected her audience when she was “born again” in the 90s. “I Feel Love” owes a huge debt of gratitude to producer Giorgio Moroder, though, for the rhythmic synth beats that roll through the track like a freight train. An absolute dancefloor classic.
3. The Name of the Game – ABBA
My favourite ABBA song from my favourite ABBA album (the creatively titled “ABBA-The Album”). The lyrics, the harmonies, the production values – everything that made ABBA the perfect pop band is here on this amazing track.
2. Bette Davis Eyes- Kim Carnes.
It pains me that Kim Carnes is not a household name. This song is just pop perfection, and with her husky voice, Kim was like an even cooler, even sexier Rod Stewart (if you can imagine such a thing!). This song made me fall in love with Kim, and with Bette Davis, and I’ve always enjoyed the moment when they all start slapping each other!
1. Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush.
C’mon, you had to know this one would be at number one! I mean, what is there to say? A haunting and majestic song from an incredibly talented teenaged musician, based on the work of Emily Bronte. It probably shouldn’t have worked, and perhaps in anyone but Kate’s hands it wouldn’t have. This was the first UK number one written and recorded by a female artist, and it set the stage for a musical career that is still going strong today.
There are a couple of versions of the video, and I’ve chosen the “red dress” version here.
So there you go. Some musical clips of the songs that made me, my Desert Island Discs, if you will. What are the songs in your all-time Top Ten? I’d love to hear them 👍🎶🎶🎶