Well, I am an utterly obsessed Radio 4 listener. I will not sit in a room without it on, will not carry out a task without it on. Those near and dear to me have just had to get used to the fact as it will never go away. I’m sure I’m not the only one either as when something changes on Radio 4, all hell is unleashed against the BBC. I try to remember sometimes when this started… I think it may have been while I was at Plymouth Poly back in the mid 80s. I remember Brian Redhead dying, which was around then.
Anyway, Desert Island Discs is a very old programme on said channel and is still very popular. They have recently heavily revamped their web page for the show and put a huge number of previous shows online – well worth a browse and a listen.
They also began the task of asking listeners to go enter their own list of Desert Island Discs – now closed I’m afraid. How could I resist? Like many listeners to the programme, I have tried to think of my own eight selections before. How do you choose just eight songs from your life? Well I have and here they are. They are in no particular order except for number one which is MY Desert Island Disc:
1. Year in Song – Mary Margaret O’Hara (‘Body’s in Trouble‘ was a strong contender, didn’t want to put one artist in twice though)
2. The Great Gig in the Sky – Pink Floyd (Reminds me of my Dad – he shaped much of my musical taste. This is an extraordinary performance although not actually Pink Floyd I don’t think. As good as it gets though.)
3. Elysium – Lisa Gerard (from the film Gladiator) (At it’s best with headphones…utterly glorious.)
4. Sheelah Na Gig – P J Harvey (So good in her early days with ‘Dry’ and ‘Rid of Me’. Raw rock and intelligent lyrics.
5. Back in Black – AC/DC (Gotta have some AC/DC!)
6. Warm Sound – Zero 7 (Such a good live version. Can’t get enough Zero 7. Found them first in Glastonbury, not the festival sadly!)
7. Did I Happen to Mention – Julia Fordham. (Julia had to be in here somewhere – one of my longest likes, one of her best)
8. Girl I Love You – Massive Attack (What can I say. So many to choose from, but this from their latest album is classic. Amazing live.)
So there it is. This has taken ages as I have been trapped on youtube for a long time! It’s like looking through old photos, you end up looking at everything! I only went there to get a few links for these songs.
It did make me realise that I should have included this performance by Zero 7. Based on Sia’s performance here, they are up there in the top three for sure.
Why Mary Margaret O’Hara? Well I’ll say to start that she is very much not everyone’s cup of tea! But that song, after twenty years, still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Mary is in distinctly manic mode in this song, particularly toward the end. Rusty McCarthy’s guitars are just glorious, so perfectly crafted for what’s going on around him. The bass is deep and the drumming so tight. Everything about it sits so perfectly in my head, I never tire of it and never tire of the perfection of the song. I’m sure most would think it a very odd track, but I guess we all have something that just flicks that switch, and this is the one that does it for me. It was a toss-up between this and Body’s in Trouble I must admit. But both top contenders were by MMOH.
The recorded track on Miss America is the one that does it. I have seen her live, once, at Hammersmith around ’99 I think. All I can say is that every performance she gives of her songs is probably unique to that performance. Here is Year in Song live, not sure where. Perhaps if I were there it would have the same effect, but not quite like the one they captured in the studio. That was her one and only solo album as far as I know. Incredible.
I would very much like to hear your favourite Disc. What tops your list and what does it do for you? I ask this in the hope that someone actually reads this blog one day!