My Desert Island Discs
BBC Radio 4's long running series Desert Island Discs is asking listeners which eight records they would choose if they were shipwrecked on a desert island. What a difficult choice! I would have trouble limiting my list to 100, never mind a mere eight. But in the spirit of the challenge I've been giving it some thought. All are from the fifties and sixties - the golden era of modern popular music - and I make no apologies for that. After all, that's the era in which I grew up and no music has such a personal impact as the music of your youth. So here we go.
1. In 1956 I became aware of rock and roll through the 78 records that my older sister brought home - in particular the young Elvis. So there has to be something from the Sun years with me on the island. My pick is Elvis's That's All Right Mama - a record which never fails to excite me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIWlWA1YTBw
2. Still in the rock and roll era I must choose something by one the true greats - Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and so on. Very difficult, but I'm going for Chuck Berry's Johnny B Goode, because I can sing along to it to my heart's content and pretend that I'm playing Chuck's guitar just like ringing a bell! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofD9t_sULM
3. I've been to New Orleans many, many times so there has to be something that reminds me of the good times I've had there. I thought about something by Ernie K-Doe, or perhaps Benny Spellman's Lipstick Traces, but in the end I chose Time Is On My Side by Irma Thomas, in memory of the many great sets that she performed at the now sadly defunct Lion's Den club. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFj0RfZb6iM
4. My favourite singer of all time is Sam Cooke, who I was lucky enough to meet back stage at the Tooting Granada when he toured the UK in 1962 and obtain his autograph. My choice was narrowed down between Wonderful World, Bring It On Home to Me and A Change is Gonna Come, but in the end I opted for Wonderful World, which was the highest scoring record in my personal top ten of the early sixties. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNO72aCnVr0
5. After Sam, the greatest voice of the sixties or any other era has to have belonged to the Big O, Roy Orbison. So my choice is one of his very best, and probably the most dramatic - Crying. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh7JgDPUa4M
6. The sixties was the decade of the great girl groups and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound so I would like there to be something on the island to remind me of those days. What better than the Ronettes' Be My Baby - preferably with a live video of the girls in action. Delicious memories! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-0upHlWfQ4
7. Soul music has always been very important to me and there were countless wonderful records in the sixties from the likes of Stax and Tamla Motown. Otis Redding perhaps? Or Sam and Dave? Or Wilson Pickett? James Carr? O V Wright? So many to choose from. But in the end my choice is from the Goldwax label of Memphis - Louis Williams and the Ovations with It's Wonderful To Be In Love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmu9-nk1Xwg
8. My final choice - God this is difficult. I'm going for yet another Memphis record - this time from Hi, and one of my all time favourite singers, Al Green. I'm not sure that it matters which one of his sublime tracks I choose as they are nearly all equally soothing, but I will go for Let's Stay Together.
I'm sure that my choices will not please everyone, but other Desert Island Disc suggestions will be most welcome in the comments section.