The Soundtrack of my Life


Every now and then, I like to rip off a feature from a magazine and do my own version. After reading James Dean Bradfield’s Soundtrack of my Life piece in NME, I thought I would have a go, because I like to turn procrastination into music-based blog posts every once in a while. Here goes…

The First Song I remember hearing

Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

There was always music on in our house when I was growing up, and my parents had very different tastes in music. My mum listened to pop and soul, whereas my dad was into Captain Beefheart, The Stones, Rory Gallagher and all kinds of other stuff. I remember that we had a few VHS music video collections. We had Now 15 on VHS, which featured Back to Life by Soul II Soul and Days by Kirsty MacColl on it. But I have to go with So by Peter Gabriel. He made some amazing music videos. Sledgehammer and Big Time are the big budget crazy ones, but I used to just stare at the screen when Don’t Give Up came on. It’s a powerful video, and Kate Bush was my first crush as a kid.

The Song that reminds me of my childhood

Baggy Trousers – Madness

Madness can do no wrong in my eyes. When I was a kid, I would act out their music videos, and their songs were bloody brilliant. They’re one of those bands that were deceptively clever, and their lyrics were a lot darker than people originally realised. They disguised it with wigs and flying saxophone players. I’ll love them forever. When I hear Baggy Trousers, it’s pointless talking to me until it’s over. I’m gone. I’ve packed my bags. A kid again.

The First Song that freaked me out as a kid

Master and Servant – Depeche Mode

My mum used to play Now That’s What I Call Music 2 when I was a toddler, and Master and Servant was on there. It freaked me out. I had no idea what it was about, and I didn’t want to know. I just wanted it to stop. These days you’d skip it, but in 1983-4, you had to sit it out. If you lifted the needle and popped it down in the middle of the next song everybody moaned at you. I would say that records were form of torture. The Pipes of Peace was also on Now 2. I like that I can say that I disliked Paul McCartney’s music from the age of two and not come across as a petty pretentious turd. Horrible song.

The Song that reminds me of being a teenager

Live Forever – Oasis

This is also known as ‘The song that changed the way I dressed’. I went from sporty clothes to jeans, jumpers and big jackets the second I saw Oasis performing Live Forever on TOTP. I was 13 years of age, and suddenly I knew what my dad was talking about when he talked about music changing your life. You roll your eyes at statements like that until it happens to you. Oasis were the first band to make an instant impression on me, and Live Forever was the song that won over an entire generation. It still sends a shiver up my spine to this day.

The First Album I ever bought

Rebel Music – Rebel MC

“Yes, it’s the Rebel MC, rough like a Ninja, stinging like a bee…” I was obsessed with the song Street Tuff when it came out in 1989, and when I found the cassette version of the album a year later at a jumble sale, I purchased my first album with my own pocket money. I played the album to death, and I still know all the words from every song. I still put it on every now and then. It’s a classic.

The First Album that made me read the lyrics

Everything Must Go – Manic Street Preachers

Remember when you’d open a cassette and it opened out into a ridiculously long booklet that took you two hours to fold back properly so you could fit it back in? Pain in the arse, right? But it was worth it if you had an album with poetry written inside of it. The first album that made want to read the lyrics was Manic Street Preachers Everything Must Go. I was 16 when the album came out, and it blew my mind. The Manics were also the first band where I discovered they had an entire history I didn’t know about, so after playing EMG to death, I bought Generation Terrorists, Gold Against the Soul and The Holy Bible, before reading up on Richey. The Manics were the first band I wanted to learn more about, and I’m still pouring over their lyrics to this day.

The Song that’s guaranteed to make me dance

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson

There’s something in that song that speaks to me on a cellular level and screams “DANCE YOU BASTARD!” into my bones. I can’t ignore it, and to prove it, here’s a story: At my wedding, I was talking to someone, and Jacko’s classic started playing. I apologised, excused myself, danced like a maniac for four minutes, then came back and carried on the conversation. It was a little rude of me, but as I said, I couldn’t ignore it.

The Song I do at karaoke

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

I found myself singing Hungry Like The Wolf in an Irish bar in Cyprus back in 2004, and since then, it has been my weapon of choice at karaoke. I sometimes switch it up and do Ordinary World, but when the crowd is lively, Hungry Like The Wolf gets the crowd going. Usually in the opposite direction to buy some earplugs.

The Song I want playing at my funeral

Do You Realize? – The Flaming Lips

You get two camps when it comes to picking a funeral song: 1) The “I want everyone to be happy” camp who ask for a lovely upbeat song that makes everyone smile, or 2) the “Hey, I’m dead, cry you bastards!” camp who go for the tear ducts with something slow and heart wrenching. I like to think that this track is between the two, and the reason I would choose it over anything else is because for me, these are the greatest lyrics ever written on the subject of death. Check this out:

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Gets me every time. And it’ll get you one day, my funeral attendees *evil laugh*

In truth though, it’s a beautiful song, and it ends with the line ‘do you realize you have the most beautiful face’, which is about as sweet a note you can leave on, under the circumstances.

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