Taking the opportunity to lay himself bare, SMM reveals his top tracks and the reason behind some surprising choices.
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In the unlikely event of me ever being invited onto Desert Island Discs, I’ve compiled my defiinitive list of favourite tracks.
I used the word “definitive” loosely. These are not necessarily my all-time top ten but they are songs that influenced me, that fashioned by music tastes or I like for a significant reason.
I’ve imposed just one rule on myself – no over-long tracks so that my selection fit into Desert Island Disc’s schedule.
So that immediately rules out three particular faves – Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd and Neil Young’s Down By The River.
The compilation does induce guilt at so many notable omissions. Surprisngly, there is no Rush, Scorpions or Aerosmith. Incredibly, no place for Deep Purple or any of its off-shoots either. Rock giants such as Bruce Springsteen, U2 and REM may feature prominently in my CD collection but not here.
And please no accusations of dinosaur rock despite the fact most of the music below if over two decades old.
Maybe in the future, I’ll compile a post-Millennium list which is certain to include songs by Kings Of Leon, The Answer, Kasabian, Arcade Fire and, Rival Sons but that’s for another day.
So in no particular order, here’s the ten songs that will be playing as I wile away time under the desert island palm trees:
Broken Down Angel – Nazareth. The first “rock”record I ever bought after hearing it on Radio Luxembourg. The first time I ever saw the band sing it live was almost 40 years later – and Dan McCafferty sounded just as good.
I’m Mandy, Fly Me. – 10cc. Nazareth were never my favourite band but 10cc were and by the age of 15, I had four of their albums. This song showcases them at their best, soft rock with an art pop structure. And Eric Stewart’s guitar solo is breathtaking/
Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin
Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC
Doctor Doctor – UFO
Three tracks I’ve bracketed together because whenever I think of sixth form discos or Christmas parties, these were the songs which got we rockers onto the dance floor. Rock and Roll may be one of Zeppelin’s most straightfforward pieces but encapsulates the power and glory of each member of the greatest rock band in the world.
Whole Lotta Rosie from the live album “If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It,” is arguably AC/DC’s most famous song from the Bon Scott Era. The riff, the crowd chanting “Angus, Angus” and then Bon goes into storytelling mode _ pure magic.
UFO’s Doctor Doctor from the live album “Strangers In The Night” has an equally memorable intro with Paul Raymond’s deft keybooard combining with Michael Schenker’s crisp guitar lick giving way to a pounding hook and Phil Mogg’s melodic vocals.
Brain Damage – Pink Floyd. From Dark Side Of The Moon, the penutlimate track is invariably heard seguing into Eclipse but it can only be fully appreciated when DSOTM is listened to in its entirety. Wonderfully atmospheric, lyrically brilliant it builds into a quite stunning crescendo.
You And Your Friend – Dire Straits. Perhaps a surprise choice from the band’s last and least heralded album “On Every Street.” That was the first CD I ever put on my brand new CD player and this enchanting track, showcasing Mark Knopfler at his bluesy best, is top notch. Best heard drinking a bottle of expensive red wine.
Heart Of Gold – Neil Young. Mouth organ, acoustic guitar and a voice you either love or hate. I love the Canadian’s imperfect, laidback, throaty delivery. But best of all, I love the tunes of a songwriting genius.
Driving Towards The Daylight – Joe Bonamassa. At last, a song from the 21st century _ the title track from his latest solo album, in fact. I could have chosen something which captured his guitar genius or his ever-improving signing. This does both but most of all, it proves that Bonamassa’s creative juices are fast becoming as key an ingredient in his make-up as his technical skills.
Say Goodbye – Fleetwood Mac. If anyone reads this after I’m gone, I’ll have this one at my funeral please. Rumous may be my favourite Mac album but this song from 2003’s Say You Will is the perfect example of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in harmonious unison. Haunting, moving and enchanting.