Desert Island Discs

A long long time ago, or so it feels, when I was in Spanish exile, I whiled away my time writing blog posts by hand.

One of them was Desert Island Discs. As I had no television, internet or other distraction and couldn’t be bothered with the radio, I played records. Those black round things from the last century.

For those of you who don’t know DIDs, it was a Radio 4 programme presented by a gravelly-voiced Roy Plumley who introduced a famous person, and asked them to choose eight records if they were cast away on a desert island. They also got to choose a book, Shakespeare and the bible were already provided.

I realised eight records was not an easy choice. So compiling my list, I went for as many multi-record albums as I could, eg all Beethoven’s piano concertos, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem etc.

Then I began to split it by categories. Choral, piano, symphony and pop.

Reading Ark’s post about the Tom Robinson Band last night reminded me of this unpublished post.

We play pop quiz here. I put up some music from YouTube and he has to guess the band and the name of the song. We don’t bother with the year. Sometimes he gets it after a couple of chords. Sometimes he can sing the words (I am totally useless at lyrics I just sing lala happily) but can’t get the band or the title.

He gets tired of it quickly but can’t resist playing along. I missed my vocation in life as a DJ.

So here is today’s Top Ten Thirty!!, Pop Pickers. (Courtesy of the late Alan Freeman, who sadly has now been linked with the Savile allegations of paedophilia)

These are not in order of preference, rather today’s random favourites. Tomorrow is another day.

1 American Pie – Don McLean. One of the ones I never bought and wished I had. Partner got this one in two notes.
2 Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty. Another winner for Partner. Who couldn’t recognise that wonderful sax intro? I did buy this one.
3 Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I loved this repetitive bass beat. I would turn it up on the stereo as a teenager so that it was reverberating around the house. My parents were actually quite tolerant, surprisingly.
4 Bits and Pieces – Dave Clark Five. I not only have the single, but saw them at Bridlington, aged five or six, and stamped my feet along with everyone else in the Floral Pavilion, pony tail swinging away as I did so.
5 Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues. Just classic and mesmerisingly beautiful. Who couldn’t like this? It’s a get it on the first note one in the pop quiz stakes though.
6 Lady Eleanor – Lindisfarne. Similar type of music to NiWS. Beautiful and haunting. Another easy guess on the quiz, especially as I play the Nicely Out of Tune album endlessly.
7 Things We Said Today – The Beatles. This was a hard choice. My first Beatles record was She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah) – 1962. I’ve got a fair selection of their singles, I Want to Hold Your Hand, This Boy, Can’t Buy Me Love are all faves, as is A Hard Day’s Night. But the flip side of that, Things We Said Today is the one that I play the most, so it gets on the list. Listening to the old singles, they had a very clear sound, and the guitar music is – to my uneducated ear – good. And while I loathe Paul McCartney as a personality, I think he is a bloody good musician with a cracking voice.
8 There’s Always Something There to Remind Me – Sandie Shaw. I just love the way she belts this out. She announced her retirement from music last year. There will always be this record to remind us of her wonderful voice though. I’ve chosen this record as the first vid link because I just think it is so good.

9 House of the Rising Sun – The Animals. Another easy one for Partner on the pop quiz. The Animals were from Newcastle. When I lived in Newc one of my bosses split up from his wife, and the local gossip was that she was living with an animal (one of the band). One day, I got a ‘phone call from a Mrs X who wanted some decorating work. Mrs X lived in the same area of Newc as my boss. They had the same name. I figured it wasn’t a good idea. So we never worked for Mrs X and her animal. My former boss, Mr X, currently has a rather high-profile job in the UK, no, let me call that a top job. In fact the top job for his profession, so I am not naming him. He’s from Yorkshire for what that’s worth. He never liked me. He didn’t like journalists. The Animals:

10 Radar Love – Golden Earring. Just wonderful.
11 Seven Seas of Rye – Queen. Far better than their later music IMO. It was out around the same time as Radar Love.
12 Hotel California – The Eagles. I love the dreamy quality of this. When I was a teenager I used to go a pub called the Roundabout (it was a round building) except it was referred to as the Mid, I think because it was previously the Midland Bank. It was a hang out for hippies, dope smokers and laid-back music – I wasn’t the first two, but I did like the music. At 14, me and a similarly tall mate would go every Saturday. She was dark, I was blond. We made a good pair. My parents didn’t like her :D
13 Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits. Another Newcastle band. I like Dire Straits, and they sound similar to the Eagles. In Spain, my neighbours like them too but pronounce it Dear Streets which always has us in hysterics as we try to explain to them that they are saying calles muy caras.
14 Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed. Beautiful voice, lovely music. Listen to that sax. Sadly died last year.

15 Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show – Neil Diamond. This is on his album Gold, and I just love that gospel music. Such powerful singing. He’s known for more famous hits, but that is my fave.

16 Gold – Spandau Ballet. Because after mentioning Diamond’s album of that name I have to include this. I don’t have any of their records but I did see them live in Bradford having been dragged reluctantly to a concert at St George’s Hall. Just WOW! The record is good on its own, but live was superb. More sax, there is probably a theme to my choices :D When he belts out GOLD it is electrifying.

17 Vienna – Ultravox. Another one from a similar era. Beautiful clear singing, and lovely music behind the song. Another haunting one.
18 Big in Japan – Alphaville. I first heard this in Italy when I was working there as an au pair (!) I just HAD to buy it when I returned to the UK. Love the beat. I can even work out some of the words – You do what you do to me .. Oh and Big in Japan of course.
19 It’s a Sin – Pet Shop Boys. I adore PSBs, I didn’t know who they were for ages, just liked their music that I sang along to, well lalalala in reality.
20 Self Control – Laura Brannigan. I always forget her name but I love this and her beautiful voice. Gloria was also a great record. Self Control has more than 20 mill views on YT!!
21 One Night in BangKok – Murray Head. This reminds me of Big in Japan with its intro. By the time I heard it I was having lots of nights in Sydney and had already visited Bangkok. I’d listen to the radio in my little hostel room and just waited every night for it to come on.
22 Hit the road Jack! – Ray Charles. What can I say? There are no words for this incomparable classic.

23 Delilah – Tom Jones. Like Paul Mc I think TJ is an obnoxious person but he has a wonderful voice. A bit like Bassey. Welsh partner can sing this one word-perfect. I love the brass in this music. The sentiments are terrible, but as a piece of music it is class.
24 River Deep Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner. This is another one that always sends shivers down my spine, it is brilliant. Especially played loud. I don’t have the original, but I have Nilsson’s version which isn’t bad although nothing can beat Tina. Nilsson died in 1994, aged 52, younger than me. Good grief.
25 The Free Electric Band – Albert Hammond. This is a Gib blog so got to end with our most famous Gib musician. I can play this for ages, I can even sing the words. I thought he was American! He was evacuated to the UK during WW2 and was born in London but was brought up in Gib. I also thought he was a one-hit wonder because that was the only single he made that ever made the charts in the UK. He wrote ‘It Never Rains in Southern California’, ‘The Air that I Breathe’ for the Hollies and ‘Freedom Come Freedom Go’ for The Fortunes. I made my classic mistake of saying he was a one-hit wonder one day to a couple who were running a local bar. She’s since died and he went back to the UK. Fred patiently explained that Hammond had written more than one song! But now, I can’t resist a few more songs.
26 Long Cool Woman – The Hollies. While I think ‘The Air that I Breathe’ is dirgey, I love this. The Hollies are from Lancashire. And listening to the lyrics where it ends with ‘had it all’ remind me of one of my all-time bestest ever records.
27 Get it on – T. Rex. I’ve got the single and the Electric Warrior album. I had a crush on Marc Bolan for years. Loved his voice and his music. Listen for that bit toward the end where the music fades and someone sings ‘bang a gong’ in a high voice. Sublime.
28 Neanderthal Man – Hotlegs. This one always makes me laugh. When I was a kid we had caravan holidays on the east coast of Yorkshire. My parents took me to the local pub just down from Ulrome Neanderthal Man was a favourite in the pub. It was so loud and noisy that everyone just put it on endlessly. I don’t think anyone started off liking it, but it was an in joke. Most odd. Don’t ever remember hearing anything else in there. There were calls for NM if something else was put on! Def not the sort of music my parents liked, but even they joined in and put their ten pence in the juke box to put it on. I bought the single. The joke was on me later on. I hated 10CC and their whingey music. Hotlegs went on to become the rather more famous 10CC.
29 Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees. Another band I loathed. My partner however, did like them. I have to say, I actually like this one very much now. I think the tall good-looking one has an amazing voice. And is he fit in the YT vid? Oh yes. Partner had a mate who apparently looked like him and was a real woman magnet. By the time I met the mate he was fat and didn’t look remotely like Mr G. Interesting the twins who were younger than Barry are both dead now. Sad. I didn’t realise how successful they were (because I didn’t like them). Only outsold by Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks (who??!!) and McCartney. And 35 mill views for this vid!

30 Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler. Let’s really end with another British singer, Bonnie Tyler (who I also thought was American, sort of like Dolly Parton yes?) who was born in Wales. She has the same birth name as my sister-in-law – Gaynor. Some years ago there was a brilliant YT version of this by three people miming the words as they raced along the road at 90 miles an hour (that was the title of their vid). They had to change the title, but I’ve found it, here it is. I think it is great, but the original was better because it was perfectly synched and it had loads of views. I’m surprised it is still up. Given all the pesky people who moan about copyright ;)

Enough!! As for my eight, the must-haves are Sandie, The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Moody Blues and I'll worry about the other four later.

And the one I forgot. How could I have done? Eloise – Barry Ryan. Born in Leeds (West Riding, Yorkshire). This record dates from 1968, and is full of orchestration and a powerful voice. To Freddie Mercury et al, orchestration was being done well before Bohemian Rhapsody and this is a perfect combination of pop and orchestra. So I planned to end with a Gibbo, but have ended with someone from my birthplace. I couldn’t track this record down for ages, got it confused with the Prices for some reason.

Here’s Barry, who was around 20 when he recorded Eloise. Isn’t he gorgeous? There are good-looking men from Yorkshire after all.

He’s still performing this song now at more than 60 years old. Either he’s miming on all the YouTube tracks or he has retained his voice. He still isn’t bad-looking either. Look at the HUGE orchestra. Worst lines in the song: My Eloisa, I want to please her!! Terrible!! He can’t possibly sing now like he did 40 years ago. Or can he? I wonder if he can sing On Ilkla Moor Bah’t ‘At?


The Damned released their version of it in 1986. It was their biggest hit (no 3 in UK charts). Terrible. Not a patch on the original. Part of the appeal is the way Ryan sings Eloise in a high voice. Dave Vanian’s style just doesn’t make it. Ryan decided to become an arty photographer.

110 comments on “Desert Island Discs

  1. I look through your list and think, yes, yes, yes for some, OMG why? for others (as you would expect). I had “nights in white satin” scored for piano, and played it to get my feelings out.


    • I’ll look through it tomorrow and think OMG for some as well :D Some are always stayers on the list, and Nights in White Satin is one of them. I wonder how it sounds on piano without the orchestration?


  2. You won’t get too many nods of recognition with Lindisfarne, I’m guessing. Loved this song.

    Thought it a pretty good list…and then I saw Neil Diamond. Eeek!

    Little known secret. I ackchewelly have a mint copy of a Neil Diamond LP ( forget which one it is.The live one?) that I inherited as part of a record collection from a client whose house we sold. He went to Oz. I advised him that he might get arrested if Oz Immigration found anything by Neil Diamond in his bags so he took my advice and left the lot.


    • I think I mentioned LE on a much earlier post and a few people did know it. I’ve taken a vid of it playing on my stereo but never got around to uploading it to youtube. Nicely Out of Tune is a great album, the other one from that I like is ‘We Can Swing Together’. I love LE for the music, but WCST has very good words. Lindisfarne is one of the few bands whose words I can distinguish.

      Diamond doesn’t sit well with the rest of them does he? :D Perhaps for my gospel contribution I should have had Burt Lancaster singing ‘I’m On My Way’ in Elmer Gantry? I do like some Diamond, but he wouldn’t make my eight for the desert island. I think the one I have – Gold – is a live one. I stopped playing him for years and decided I liked it again in a retro way. But I also enjoyed The Jazz Singer.


  3. Apart from No1 and No 27 I can’t fault your list. All songs I listened to. Gerry Rafferty was fantastic with all the sax work on his songs. I think the Gibbs did better than this particular song and without Barry singing the lead, Robin was my preference on things like Massachusets. It’s funny to think of Barry Ryan without his brother but a cracking song.
    There were some great records that missed the pick like The Marbles and no mention of Simon and Garfunkel?
    Thanks fo the memories.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


    • I liked American Pie at the time, and I like the part where the tempo changes. I used to like the full length version best too. Anyway, I had to include it as I’d plagiarised the words for my intro :D

      I do love Get It On. It is what it is and it has sax so it must be good :D Although it was number one for four weeks in the UK, compared with Hot Love at six weeks it was the band’s biggest selling hit and the only major chart topper in the USA. So not just me that likes it!

      Because I never liked the Bee Gees I don’t know much of their music, but I do like the falsetto voice in Staying Alive, and I like that vid too.

      It’s one of the reasons I like Eloise – Ryan’s vocal range is very good, from deep and raw to the high pitch of ‘Eloise’. It’s partly what makes the song, which is why the version by The Damned is so poor. Ryan must have been laughing himself silly when they brought it out. There’s a great breakfast time TV interview on youtube with him and David whatsit together. Ryan comes across as so pretentious :D I think it was from 86 when The Damned recording came out. I can listen to Ryan’s version non-stop which I have done for a large part of the day while writing this.

      The Marbles. Had to look them up. I only know Only One Woman and it is one of those dirgey ones I don’t like. S&G. I’ve got the Bridge OTW album. My mother bought it for me as she liked them so that put me off them for a long time. I like the album and play it but they just aren’t my faves. I could do a follow up, still wouldn’t include S&G, might include Jethro Tull and Thin Lizzie which I had planned to include and forgot as I got distracted.

      The selection of vids was random. Apart from Sandie and Ray Charles. And Barry Ryan of course. It’s fascinating he is still singing it. Check out all the YT versions and let me know whether you think he is miming. I don’t see how a 60-year-old can sing the same as a 20-year-old. Frank Sinatra certainly couldn’t.


  4. I’m going to have to spend some more time on this…got to listen to all of them now…damn you roughseas! As if I don’t have enough to do!

    Btw…can I put this post on my music blog…pretty please…it’s too good to pass up :D


    • Tomorrow’s choice will be different :D Why don’t you pick out your faves to give it a fresh aspect on your blog, and maybe add a few others? I went a bit over the top with 30 and I still missed out loads!


      • I think it’s a great idea for a game. Did you come up with it? I’ll have to try that the next time we host a games night. Brilliant idea.

        I was thinking of just doing a pingback to your blog from my music blog if that’s ok. I don’t want to copy you.


        • I doubt it’s original but yes I did.

          Easy to do, computer in one room, people in another so they can’t see the screen – and off you go.

          I think it would be great fun with a few people. So long as I was the DJ and not having to guess unless it was early Beatles!

          I think a pinkback on its own is boring, that’s why I suggested you write something of your own, lazy toerag.


  5. Stellar list – over good range of years. Favorites probably change with moods and day?
    Who knew the Bee Gees were so popular? Only remember a couple of their songs, but they were big with the disco crowd? Garth Brooks is a cowboy singer – but not old style country western singer…he was really popular for a bit when country was “new’ and trendy …
    Can’t believe you got to see Dave Clark Five. My parents were sure people would get trampled – and they were, of course, the meanest parents on the block.


    • It was a list of some classic faves and some others that happened to come to me this morning. The next post might include a different ten as I’m already thinking of others I’ve missed off :D

      I didn’t like the BGs at all. But there again I didn’t like Saturday Night Fever. I did disco at university but it was very mixed not hugely BGs. I must look up GB (hah initials the other way around to BGs).

      DCF – mmm – very good. No trampling though. Just stamping. I got to see the Stones when I was older too :)


      • Always like the Stones. I avoided disco and most of the big country western fad. Texas swing is ok
        Did Paul Simon make the list? I forgot…really enjoy some of his later work like Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints collections


        • I did disco because I went to clubs at university. Some were punk clubs though, def not disco! Odd that there were such very different musical trends at that time, totally diverse, which was good. No, Simon didn’t get on there, even though I have BOTW album. I think their music was good but it’s sort of A- for me rather than A+


  6. Interesting top thirty. Would be even more interested to hear your final eight. I did the Desert Island Disc thing last year when I had fewer regular commenters. I’d been thinking of re-doing it – I think I’d probably keep to my original list although I felt guilty that T Rex missed the final selection. Saw them twice in Croydon and they meant something during my early teens.
    Tend to agree slightly about Macca. He needs to stop dying his hair. However, saw him at his Hyde Park gig in 2010 – he was on stage for 2.5 hours and sounded brilliant. (unlike the Olympics disaster). Barry Ryan used to give me the creeps but I remember Hotlegs with affection – about the same era as Mungo Jerry, I’d say. Ooh, could reminisce for hours – music can be so defining, can’t it?


    • I did think about In the Summertime and Yellow River :D

      Do give me a link to yours, would like to read it.

      I don’t remember Ryan at the time. He looks more creepy in older age actually. I think he was very pretty young. But for whatever reason, I love that song.

      I can imagine PMc was good, whatever my views of him personally I can’t deny he is a very good musician. Band on The Run is one of the most-played LPs at the finca. It’s one of those we both bought before we met up, a bit like Moody Blues Seventh Sojourn.

      I think I lived through a good musical era. No idea what is popular now although I was up on Spanish music at one point – for future post. I’ll try and do the eight, and a book!


      • And don’t forget your luxury item. Mine was suntan cream but I decided later on that a box of matches probably would’ve been more sensible. Trouble with my old post is that there were several – think I did one a day for eight days or something like that. I may revisit, condense into one and reproduce slightly refreshed.


  7. Your taste in music nearly mirrors mine. Having lived in Kano, Nigeria during ’65/’66 the music we listened to came from our British singles and LPs and “Pick of the Pops” on the Beeb and any other UK station we could pick up on our radios. Every week five or six of us would cram into one of our WCs at home to listen to the latest new songs on shortwave. Unfortunately the WC was where the best reception happen to be due to all the pipes. When able we would pick up any new records that appeared on the shelves at the Kingsway department store in town. Still have my “Cry For A Shadow” single somewhere. Have to say my listening habits were first influenced by the Yank music of the late 50s but once The Beatles appeared the flavor of my music turned decidedly UK. Even liked Freddie and the Dreamers to name one of dozens of British Invasion bands. Herman’s Hermits, Them, Billy J. Kramer, Mindbenders, on and on. If I listened to nothing other than the music and artists from that era I would be very happy. Actually I do 80% of the time. “Relax” by Frankie GTH is one of my ringtones. Watching the video now. Great typing beat. 😎 Love 10 cc’s “I’m Not In Love” as well as “Neanderthal Man”. Listening to your music list certainly welcomes me back to the Pleasure Dome. 🎶 Thank you.


    • There are others, but people are already asking for part 2, and my fave eight for the desert island, so I guess there will be a repeat post at some point. Too funny thinking of a load of you crammed into a toilet to listen to the latest hits :D

      Remember all those, although not Cry for a Shadow (I was only two at the time!) Freddie died a few years ago :(. I’ve got this one of Billy JK.

      I’ve no favourite era, but I do like some of the old ones. I enjoyed a lot of 80s (and late 70s) music, but then I was an eighties babe – it was a good time for me, I packed a lot into that decade.

      I love that basic beat in Relax. And the singing is good too. One of the interesting aspects about Spanish music is that they are far more into rhythm and beat, eg the clapping for flamenco, which I can do to a miserable extent. Doing that now, reminds me that we learned it at school and it never made sense clapping out the rhythm. Forty years later it does. I thought about including some Spanish favourites but decided to do a separate post for those. I’ll also cheat and include Joan Baez singing in Spanish!

      I never liked I’m not in Love, but I can even suffer that these days, as well as Sylvia’s Mother (Dr Hook).

      It’s interesting what we all like. People of a certain age in the Pleasure Dome.


  8. Wow!!! What a wonderful, wonderful post! I don’t know where to start — so much to sink my teeth into here. So many memories, things I’d forgotten.
    1. Wold have taken it directly. I bought the album, listened to Vincent and cried.
    2. Ohh … Baker Street! One of my favourite Rafferty tunes. Never forget the feeling I had, walkin on the actual Baker Street in London, with that song playing in the back of my mind … thinking; «I’m actually here!!! I have most Rafferty albums back home on vinyl.
    4. Dave Clark Five … This is such an odd story, and this will be L O N G [my apologies in advance :) ]: In 1982 my little hometown had a naval visit … H.M.S. Intrepid. 700 Brits in our little town — that was enormous. Eventually I was invited to a very posh dinner in a mess onboard. Remember hearing that one guy had played in a very famous group, and they pointed out the guy to me. Memory gets blurred over the years, I forgot his name, and thought that the group was «The Who».

    Fast forward to now: In my town’s FB-group brought up this naval visit. They had heard that it was a guy from Dave Clark Five. I said; ‘I beg to differ’, and the discussion was in full swing. Found out that H.M.S. Intrepid has a Facebook page too, so I posted the question there. Oh my, I got so many answers, and nobody knew for sure. Turns out that the guy’s name was Dave Clarke [] , not Dave Clark Five.

    Apart from that, that weekend will forever be associated with Jon Anderson and Vangelis for me, for various reasons. Then the Falklands war began and she went there. The ship itself, is scrapped now.

    6. Lindisfarne had eluded me until now. Boy, have I been missing out here … loved it!!!
    7. I didn’t begin to appreciate The Beatles until much later in life … think I was too young when it all started. My all time favourite would be «In my life».
    9. House of the Rising Sun was the only song I actually learned to play on the guitar.
    13. 1981, I discovered Dire Straits! Mark Knopfler … what a gifted musician! ‘Telegraph Road’… I have all the albums! The theme from the movie ‘Local Hero’ … ahh …sends chills up my spine!
    15. All this brings up so many memories … Neil Diamond and Crackling Rose, when I’d just started grade eight…
    19. How could I have forgotten about this until now :)
    25. Albert Hammond! This is kind of personal, I was 18 and dating the guy who came to be my husband much later in life, may he rest in peace. But I too, thought he was American.

    I remember them all, but only listed those that were personal. While I’ve been writing up this [too?] long comment so many other songs have popped up in my mind. Do you remember this:?


    • Gosh R, you went to town with this comment, longer than your usual posts on CW!

      It’s our age that does it, we’ve all got at least some of that music in common.

      Vincent was sad, I didn’t like it as much as Pie.

      I love Baker Street, when I bought the single I played it non-stop. Still do sometimes :D

      Your Intrepid story is great. How did you get yourself invited? OK, you don’t have to say. Your Dave Clarke is an interesting one, I’m not sure whether or not I had head of him before, rings a slight bell, but certainly didn’t know the naval side. Amazing – music to navy to Falklands and back to music.

      I didn’t want to do links for all of them, so just picked a random selection. You must have looked Lady Eleanor up. It is class. The mandolin playing is beautiul, but the singing is lovely too. I thought it was perfect the first time I heard it but never bought the single, so ended up with an album with it on. Interesting that Ark said people might not know it.

      I only really knew the Beatles because my parents bought me the records. I have no idea why they did. I think my earliest one is 1963 and I was only four then :D But listening to them later, I think some of their music is very good. It’s actually quite pure, even now my old records sound so clear with good music and melodic singing (McCartney).

      There are loads of vids on YT telling people how to play HoTRS :D It sounds quite simple in terms of notes, but a lot of good songs are. I included that vid because I thought their deliberate poses were fascinating.

      I think the first time I heard Dire Straits was when I went to stay with a friend in Cullercoats. There is a line in one of the songs that says we walked from Cullercoats to Whitley Bay, and she had whichever LP it was, and proudly played it for me. It was years later when Partner started buying me tapes for me to listen to in the car. I’ll have to look up my faves when I go back to the finca as they tapes are there. I do like Sultans though, I think it is a great record.

      Can’t remember if C Rose is on my LP, it’s certainly got Sweet Caroline, Holly Holy and many other hits. I’ve got his I am I said single too.

      PSBs are good. I do like them, not enough to buy them, but I like listening to them.

      I like the Hammond one because he sings so clearly and for once I can hear (and even sing) the words. I think they are interesting words too. Plus I like the music, the beat, all of it. All I knew about Gibraltar when I bought the single was that my dad had been there in the war (WW2). He sounds American though. He actually came to do a concert in La Linea across the frontier a year or so ago, but me and late nights don’t combine well.

      Of course I do. Especially as someone wrote a post about Maddy Prior recently, I’ll look up the link and add it for you.

      Not too long at all, unless my reply is :D It’s nice to share musical memories.


      • Yeah, the subject really got me going. My posts are usually rather short — you know what kind of stuff I write, so I figure … since it’s very difficult to keep up the attention [unless it’s something you’re really passionate about], I better keep it short :)


        • Different blogs, different posts. I don’t have time to post every day and I like to read other blogs too, so I churn out whatever and people can read it at their leisure over a few days. Makes for different reading for all of us though. People seem to read my long posts though, so I’ll keep writing them until I stop getting comments :D.


  9. When we first moved to London, for the first few days we didn’t have anything in the flat. No furniture, TV, Radio. But I had my laptop and my itunes. For several nights when the better half returned from work I would drag out my laptop and we played that game. I would play the song and the better half had to guess the singer or band. TBH has an amazing memory. Me not so much. I can’t remember lyrics to anything. it was a fun. Maybe I should reinstate this game once a month. It has to be better for the brain than the telly.


    • I think it is fun. Not trying to score points against each other, but I’m impressed with the ones he knows immediately. I’ll know the songs, but when he does it to me, I can be pretty appalling on the name or the band. Even the easy ones are interesting, it becomes not who is it or what’s the title, but how fast can you guess it. When you get something as distinctive as Baker Street, you have to get it straightaway. Or Delilah, he always gets that because he’s Welsh anyway.

      I rarely rarely rarely listen to the words unless they are very clear. Doesn’t help that I can’t understand American accents. So on the list above, I can sing along to most of Albert Hammond’s Free Electric Band, Lindisfarne’s Lady Eleanor, and Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin (although a lot of that is waaagh waaagh waaaagh wah). I choose records based solely on the music and my ear goes for the tunes/notes and not for words.

      I get quite excited playing the game though and nothing else gets done :D


  10. Well, I’ve ploughed through.
    Radar Love was superb…several others I recognised when they started up,,,but I don’t think I share your experience of music at the time.


    • Wow. Stamina or what? How goes the lamb? OK I hope.

      I’m glad you liked RL. Dutch band as I remember. I’m not remotely up on pop, even less now, (apart from some Spanish), but I did enjoy all the repetitive beat and bass sounds, so RL hit the mark there.


      • Lamb is fine…not so the poor poodle currently being washed by my cleaning woman on the grounds that she was not Persil white….
        I’ve never come across a cleaner who includes the animals in her tasks before…no wonder the other dogs have taken to the hills…


  11. It’s funny how music evokes memories. Because of the fact that popular music tends to exist in a particular part of time (in and around the release date, for the most part) the memories they trigger tend also to be a part of that time too. What’s more, because the songs were heard frequently and over a considerable length of time, say, 4 to 5 months, the memories also tend to span a period of months too.
    I went through several items on your list and found that I was able to recall, more or less, the things I was doing when they were most meaningful for me.
    Now, couple that with a second thought. I read an article recently (although I cannot seem to locate it this morning) that outlined a study showing that we tend to form the happiest memories in our twenties and, since that was the age when I heard many of those songs, it is consistent. That said, I”ve read so many psychology pieces that contradict one another I’d be also willing to bet that you could conduct a reasonable looking study that provided credible looking evidence in support of any harebrained idea you could come up with :-)
    It’s worth noting that every single one of your songs was able to bring back a pleasant memory.
    Your picture of Barry Ryan reminded me of Ralph Mctell, another of my own favourites.
    There is one thing missing. You mentioned when you closed with the sentiment that on any given day it could be different and clearly on the day you penned this you were somewhat nonstaligc. I’d hasten to add that (rap and most hip hop notwithstanding) there is still a lot of excellent new music being created by some very talented young people. Mumford and sons, and the solo artist Rose Cousins, for example, never fail to make me smile.
    You’ve probably not heard of Rose–she’s “local”–but she is amazing. View “What I see” or “Go First” on YouTube for a taste–I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


    • Spot on. You’ve hit the mark there, music is so much about memories as well as about whether or not we like it. Or how much we like it for the technical, ie musical skill.

      Second Snort of the Day Award (the first went to raincoaster on the WordPress support forum to some tosser who told us what we all knew about copyright :D) at the hairbrained idea comment. I mean, these songs, span from age 4 upwards!!

      I’m glad about the pleasant memories, which loops us back around to your first point. And many of them were included because of the memories as well as the music.

      Not nostalgic, just putting a post up that I wrote months ago. With the exception of Spanish music (post to come later), I rely on other people to introduce me to good music. One blogging friend gave me KT Tunstall and Black Horse. Totally forgot that for this post. I’ll add it on a later one. I’m not actually a pop fan, which is why I don’t bother to listen to current music (there’s a load of crap around too). I’ll check out Rose though, see what I think ….


  12. Dave Clark came into my dad’s shop once to look at a drum kit. I remember my sister and I peeking thru from the back room to look at him. So exciting. We were sort of in bits and pieces ourselves…


  13. Glad to see that the Rolling Stones do not feature on your list. Never did “get” them. I’m with you on most of your choices. Like Andrew Petcher, I’d have included Albatross. One thing about the hits of that era, I could always understand the lyrics, unlike the screaming, shrieking noise of so much of today’s popular music.


    • I like the Stones, and have one of their albums, but they didn’t even come into thinking about making it on the list. Their songs don’t have that ‘special’ note for me. Paint it Black is probably about the only one that I like a lot. And who would want to have such a miserable song on a desert island? As bad as Delilah :D


  14. … this isn’t a link to the post you mentioned about Syd v Gib but I do have an interesting anecdote about Barry Ryan :) In the sixties two of my uncles were in a band called The Majority (in our home town of Hull, East Yorkshire). They went on to be the resident act at The Playboy club when it opened but weren’t very successful with their own records, so they raised a bit of extra cash providing backing vocals for other artists signed with Decca. They were unusual for an all male group because they had a five part harmony and a very broad range. The family folklore is that not only are they the backing vocals on Eloise but that my Uncle Barry (Wigley) had to sing all the highest notes in the studio recording for Barry Ryan… he may well have been miming and never sung it all like we think he could! It’s not that far fetched a claim because Ryan is practically having to scream and shout his way through the last notes of the song but of course, it could just be a dubious family myth! Eloise is still one of my Mum’s favourite songs whichever of the Barry’s is singing the high notes! :)


    • That’s a great story. I woke up at 4am thinking it was 6am :D took dog out and flicked on comments to read this. Daren’t listen to it now, sleeping Partner will go ballistic!! I thought he was screaming and shouting because he had a wide range ? :D But I included some of the later ones because he seems to be miming. He can just not be singing the same way 40 years later. But in some interviews he says that the original recording had a huge orchestra and the YT versions show massive choirs, rather more than a five person group. Who knows? Still a good tale. I’ve got to listen to it again tomorrow!! I mean today, but not right now.


      • The Majority are very definitely credited with Barry Ryan on the original MGM disc labels for Eloise but they did only provide backing vocals not instruments so the orchestra part of the story of story might be true. At some point they were prob obliterated from the history of it altogether which I guess is Barry Ryan’s prerogative! I’ve listened to my Uncles band records a lot and though it’s obvious to us it’s them and not a choir in the background, I can’t pick anything from the lead vocal that isn’t Barry Ryan so I think it’s an exaggeration that might be based on him struggling in the studio that particular day (my Uncle Barry Wigley was always in the high range and very proud of it!). My other Uncle, Roger France was also in the group (him and his brother Bob married two of my Dad and Barry’s sisters in a double wedding at St Marys in Cottingham….just to add to the confusion!). One of my fave family stories is that Roger was always broke because his bar tab at the Playboy Club was more than his share of the wages every week! Ah, those were the days eh?!


        • But if you watch some of the YT vids (which weren’t working earlier so I STILL haven’t got around to re-listening) they have huge choirs when he is playing live concerts – unlike the ToTP version, I assume the young one is ToTP. I do think some of that is mimed though because it sounds too much like the record, live never sounds exactly like the record. In the very last vid I posted, I think he sings ‘I see your red dress …’ (and I want to paint it black – reference to Stones song) which as I recall is not on the record.

          Two of my neighbours are married to each other’s brother and sister which never fails to amaze me.

          I think you have some blog posts in there somewhere :D


          • …..I have heaps of photos and newspaper clippings from their band days at the Playboy Club (my Uncle Barry and another band member actually married Bunny Girls!) and from the double wedding of the France boys to the Wigley girls that my Mum kept and often think about doing that funnily enough! I watched the clips earlier, it’s still a cracking song isn’t it?!


          • It would make a good series. Trouble is I’m struggling to think of a name. Wigley Wednesdays? Majority Mondays? :D

            Yes, it is a great song. I was gutted for years that I had heard it and didn’t know who or what it was and couldn’t track it down. But, if you look at some of the others I’ve included, I do like orchestration. Nights in White Satin is a classic. Lindisfarne is the other extreme, very simple.

            Do your rellies still sing it?


          • I know, I know, I’m being a bit lame with the alliteration headings on my blog but I need some sort of direction to curb my ramblings! Eloise and all The Majority songs were played a lot, and I mean A LOT in our house and my Grandparents when I was young but my rellies went their separate ways at the end of the sixties so no revivals. Barry formed a new group called Majority One and went to live in France for a while then emigrated to Perth when I was about 2. One of his songs that I used to listen to a lot was called One Third Of Your Life (is spent in bed)….he wrote to me last year and told me he wrote it when he was 19 and it was about his Mum (my Grandma), she was notoriously lazy and on weekends stayed in bed so Grandad would look after the 7 kids and wait on her hand on foot……she never guessed it was about her, which is prob a good thing because she idolised him! I love Nights in White Satin, and Elkie Brooks’ Lilac Wine, anything with a big grandiose and dramatic backing track does it for me!


          • I don’t dislike the alliterative headings, it’s just thinking of something different and that fits the post in question. By the time I’ve got a heading and post that match, the day has usually gone :D

            I think I can definitely claim to have spent one third of my life in bed. Not lazy as such, I don’t stay in bed (up at 6am usually) but by the evening I’m flagging, so I’m a real early night woman. Eloise is a good noisy song though – just played it all over again.

            I’ll do some other music posts later.


  15. I seemed to have missed this one, why? not sure… The music here is to my liking and taste. Especially Barry Ryan and Eloise, it was this song that my daughter was named, she also has my mothers names.. I have loved this song from day one, it is also my phone calling when she calls me. I even done a post myself a long time ago with it… ;)


    • Easy to miss posts, I tell you. That’s why sometimes I’ll just backtrack through specific blogs to catch up. It’s a mix. Some are more favourite than others, some are perennial stayers, for example I had Lady Eleanor on endlessly last week, must have bored the Spanish neighbours rigid :D

      I wish I had Eloise but YouTube is good enough, so I have my vinyl when I’m in Spain and YT when I’m here.


  16. Wow oh wow, how did I miss this post. I must have been in Harrogate.
    What a great selection and some great memory joggers too.
    Beatles – Things we said today, was alway my preferred side too.
    Gerry Rafferty – Night Owl, I’d choose over Baker Street.
    I doubt I could do a list of all my favourites, there are too many buried in the depths of my mind. It’s only post like this (and Gerry’s blog you mentioned above) that trigger those long forgotten memories.


    • As I said to Gerry, easy to miss posts. It’s a mix. It started off as the classic eight, but then I wanted to add some others so the count kept going up :D

      I like the guitar chords in TWST. It’s – like many of theirs – such a simple song, but I think it is really well done, plus it’s easy to sing. (for me I mean)

      Someday when we’re dreaming, deep in love not a lot to day
      Then we will remember things we said today

      I’m not a words person for songs, but I do like the words for this.

      Do I know Night Owl? No, will have to look it up. If it has sax, I’ll like it. I need to do a post script to this because there are a couple I forgot :D

      I do remember a lot of my faves, but some of those are easy because I have the singles or LPs.


  17. never heard of DID, but it sounds like fun.
    i know some Neil Diamond fans will beg to differ, but he is one singer who doesn’t have to be able to hold a note and yet still carry a tune all the way to the top of the charts. don’t get me wrong, i quite enjoyed his ‘cracklin’ rosie’ and ‘rollin on the river’ – two tunes my typing teacher use in grade 9, incidentally, rather than the traditional boring classics. boring to me at the time, but i would probably enjoy most of them now, too. funny how time changes some things.
    but back to Neil Diamond’s singing — my favourite case in point for not being able to hold a note is when he sang a duet with Barbara Streisand, ‘you don’t bring me flowers anymore’. her notes held and held and held, almost as if intentionally to show how long in fact she could hold them, and his just dropped off, almost all of them much too short in comparison. but for some reason it had appeal and became a huge hit. so much for my opinion. not saying i don’t like that song, but it is what always comes to mind whenever i hear it :)
    but other than that, there are some here that definitely take me down memory lane. house of the rising sun & hotel california. hit the road jack, and stayin’ alive, of course! i was a bit ambivalent about the BeeGees. didn’t love them, didn’t dislike them either.
    and then there is Tina Turner’s timeless voice and good old Tom Jones.
    sandie shaw is new to me, but what a great voice! thanks for sharing. :)


  18. Foe folks like me who grew up with those gramophone discs, Beatles, Neil Diamond, Bee Gees et al, your post opens the floodgates of pleasurable nostagia.

    Had not seen that version of ‘Stayin’ alive’ and so loved it.

    Great stuff my friend, keep them comin’.



  19. I always thought Albert Hammond was American; thank you for revealing his Gibraltar connection.
    Someone else commented on Will You by Hazel O’Connor. I second that!


    • I think it’s the type of songs he wrote, plus the words too, that make it sound American eg ‘It never rains in Southern California’. He also sings in Spanish I understand (well given that Gibraltarians are bilingual it’s hardly surprising).

      I’m going to have to look up that wretched O’Connor song!!

      Many thanks for the visit and comment.


        • I know he writes something. :D I think his writing is good.
          I don’t think his editors at his publishing company are very good but you would have to ask him about that.

          I am thinking a meerkat is a better avatar than a stone god actually. Don’t tell him I said that.


          • Well, I do know that the editor he had for Almost Dead is utterly brilliant and a genius and wonderful in every way … if not particularly modest! :)


          • an only do English and Spanish well, French would be passable, and Italian and Portuguese for obvious ones, otherwise with a dictionary. German is crap and my Russian is limited to nyet, pravda and do svidaniya. I can do Latin though :) I used to send postcards in Greek :)

            What’s notations? Hieroglyphics? That would suit Ark.


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