Another year is almost over and a new one is about to begin. Whilst in general 2011 has been a bit of a bad one, having to leave my home and all my friends behind, being stuck in hell with no money or job, Dark Legend being rejected, the worst Christmas on record… In all of this badness I’ve discovered some great music and have been listening to some old favourites. So here, in no particular order, is the music that has accompanied my life this year.
Billy Joel- River of Dreams
Ahhh… Billy Joel. In love with an uptown girl, claiming he didn’t start the fire… He has songs I was familiar with and had listened to but i hadn’t paid much attention. Then I was floating around Wikipedia one day, doing a bit of research, and came across this one. It’s an oldey but a good one… And also currently holds the distinction of being the last song I played on the radio… It could be a long time before it’s replaced.
From 2009’s the Resistance comes Uprising… A song about rising up and fighting for what we believe in. This was the year that my own generation stood up across the globe and said ‘Oy… Why’ve all you adults sold us down the river? What are we supposed to do?’ And nobody listened. Never has it been more of an appropriate song. That’s not why it’s on this list. It’s on this list because I’ve listened to this song a lot this year… And when I say a lot I mean A LOT. It’s probably my most played song of the year. So it goes on the list.
Gerry Rafferty- Days Gone Down
Before this year I, like most people, only knew Gerry Rafferty for Baker Street. I wasn’t that impressed with it. But then I bought a double album of his that was going cheap in a record store and woah, was I surprised. I fell in love with the music almost instantly. There is a reason I picked this one in particular though, because this is the first track on the album and this is the one that blew my mind.
Ben Barnes + Robert Shehan + Joe Echo- Where We Want to Be
This was the year that the brilliant actor Pete Poselthwaite passed on, due to cancer. He was one of the best. He was so good that I actually thought his character in James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl… Honestly. His last film, Killing Bono, was released a couple of months after his death. It’s about a pair of brothers that went to school with U2 and form a band of their own, who don’t do as well as U2. It’s well worth a watch. This is the theme song and I think it’s way better than an awful lot of stuff that’s made these days. I liked this song so much that I bought it not long after seeing the film and haven’t stopped playing it since.
Sex Pistols- The Great Rock and Roll Swindle
I’ve spent much of the last six months working on a book, The Rebels, a coming of age story about a young punk who goes looking for his girlfriend, ends up involved in a violent assault, flees to America and ends up helping to save Harlem from the machinations of a right-wing slum landlord. It’s a bit like To Kill a Mockingbird if Harper Lee had been clinically insane and dosed up to the eyeballs with excessive alcohol… And Welsh! I’ve listened to a lot of punk this year, whilst working on it, but this is the track that stands out the most. And because I want to use it to open a film version. (Yeah, I’m planning the film already… I haven’t finished the book yet!)
Vintage Trouble- Nobody Told Me
I first saw these guys on Jools Holland in about April and I was blown away by how good they were. They looked cool as well, like something from the fifties… only in the modern era… And they sounded good. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the song they sung on Jools but I checked out their other stuff and I was impressed.
Kenny Rogers- The Gambler
I’ve never really been interested in Westerns before this year. It’s John Wayne’s fault. But after watching the Magnificent Seven this time last year it sparked something. I’ve had wild west coming out of my ears ever since. I like the old west, the old west is cool. So, for accompanying the hours spent on Red Dead Redemption and trying to master Texas Hold em… I present Kenny Rogers with The Gambler. This is a song I’d only previously heard in bits, but when I heard the whole thing I was impressed. I listened to it off an on for a bit and then it got stuck in my head. You’ve got to admit, it’s catchy.
Jeff Beck -Hi Ho Silver Lining
In my last year at university we had to pick a specialist subject. Normally I’m a medievalist but the choices were a bit limited due to what professors were available. To cut a long story short, the specialist I ended up doing was called Britain in The Sixties. I didn’t enjoy it all that much and during the long nights of revision, essay writing and rocking back and forth clutching an empty bottle of wine I somehow latched onto this song hoping that it would improve the situation. Hah! The things I do when I lose the plot!
Holst- The Planets Suite: Mars, Bringer of War
I couldn’t really leave this one off… Especially as I spent weeks with nothing but this same seven minutes pounding through my ears whilst editing the Dark Legend radio adaptation. It worked brilliantly as the fight music.
These are the songs that very nearly made it onto the list and still deserve a mention for some reason or another.
Madness- It Must be Love
Another one I’ve listened to a lot this year. Doesn’t stand out enough to make it onto the list though.
Morecombe and Wise- Positive Thinking
Positive thinking… Positive thinking… Poasitive thinking… Does it actually work? Morecombe and Wise seem to think so.
Cee Lo Green- Bright Lights, Bigger City
When I first heard of Cee Lo Green I had no idea who he was and to be honest I didn’t care. He was just another name. Then I heard him sing and eee by gum I was hooked. This is the first track of his which I bought off iTunes… It’s one you can’t help doing a little dance to, but sadly it didn’t quite make it to the list because of more important stuff. Maybe next year Cee Lo.
Frank Sinatra- New York, New York
It’s got to be played over the end credits of the Rebels movie… Come on… You know it’s true!
My Way (Any version)
On my last few radio shows for Storm I started a running joke where I’d be talking and then the opening strains of My Way would begin to play in the background. After a while I’d suddenly stop and make some confused comment about it before turning it off, claiming it was cheesey and overdone. It was always a different version as well (Such as the Spitting Image Maggie Thatcher version) On the last show I faked a request for the Sid Vicious version, refused to play it and went on a rant whilst it started up in the background. I then let it play. Here’s the Maggie Thatcher version…
The Faces- Ooh La La
So whilst 2011 was an awful year, at least it’s over. Soon we’ll only remember the good times like the ketchup dwarf, the Bristol adventure, the three days I spent working in Bolton (I haven’t told you about that one yet… I’m still writing it up… But it’s coming!) But here’s to 2012 being a good year. Better than this one anyway. Can’t get much worse. I’m hoping to get Rebels finished really soon (Just three and a half chapters to go now…) There’s the last two hundred years of the British history challenge to go and many, many songs to get through in the UK No 1 challenge (Note: These have been deleted.) I’m a little bit ahead of the published results and I’ll tell you now that one song got a ten… shock of shocks… Rest assured, however that I’ll continue to find my way out of hell, I’ll keep bringing you the Dark Legend serialisation/novel (Note: Not here any more!) whilst I keep working to find a way to get it produced. I’ll carry on adventuring (I’ve got a plan for one that’s a little bit different… Depends on what my bank balance looks like at the end of the month…) And I’ll carry on grousing and bitching about various odds and ends when the whole fucked up universe gets too much.
Happy New Year everybody.