Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Seven great songs in seven days for seven good friends

Over on the Facebook, my friend Chris Barry nominated me for the music challenge, which meant that for the next seven days I shared a tune a day.

I'm going to kick off with Berry Gordy's Desert Island Disc I heard this morning in another tear jerker on Kirsty Young's peerless interview with the castaways. The Tamla Motown founder clearly still holds a torch for the love of his life Diana Ross, here performing I Hear a Symphony. I'm so lucky I'm with mine.
For one of my dearest and longest friendships and who really got me into Northern Soul and Motown I nominated Kevin Parkes to delve into his musical archives and share his top tunes for the next seven days.

My second choice is Preposterous Tales by I, Ludicrous.
All of us at some point have met a Ken McKenzie. In fact if you can't think of someone in your life that's like him, it's probably you.

As Facebook is about old friends and new I'm going to celebrate the old again and nominate Paul Swinnerton to pick a new tune a day for the next seven days - as he introduced me to this song back in the late 1980s. Apparently he was good mates with them!. It's true, man!

Day three of the musical challenge takes me to Perth in Western Australia, the world's most isolated city. A big song about loneliness by a band who embodied so much about their home city - flatlands, wilderness, big and empty.
It's Wide Open Road by The Triffids.

But I love it especially because I used to have it on a VHS that my friend Roy Jopson (RIP) made for me when we shared a house in Perth. When I moved to London I'd watch it after a night out, to take me back to nights (and mornings) sat up chatting with ABC TV's Rage on in the background. The track after it was Atmosphere by Joy Division, two bands that belong in, and are a product of, their unique time and place.
I'm passing the baton for the musical challenge - pick a tune for the next seven days - to Adil Bux, a Perth pal to this day, who Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with and witness his lovely family growing up. Hope to see you for a lemonade in London sometime soon my friend.
Much love to all the Perth crew - Keep the Faith.

Part four of the seven day musical challenge finally brings me into the 1990s (which apparently was the point).
I love the pomp of the Pet Shop Boys and this awesome reworking of a Village People disco anthem.
This is dedicated to the honeymooners Jason Prince and Lee Clarkson who are indeed heading that way in a few days. Consider yourself nominated, but take your time and enjoy the West Coast. Life is peaceful there.

Day five of the musical challenge. And I had to promise to stick to the 90s, which apparently was the point (whoops). This is from the soaring "comeback" album from the Manic Street Preachers. I saw them supporting Oasis at Cardiff Arena in 1996 and trying this stuff out. 20 years later they were filling stadiums and now they're doing the Welsh team's song for the Euros.

I'm going to nominate Martin Cook to take up the challenge of a new tune every day for the next seven. "I wish I had a bottle... ".

Day six of the music challenge and it's THE Oasis track of the time, Don't Look Back in Anger.
I did this song with the band who played at my 40th and at the Y Factor charity gig we did for MENCAP, raising over 150k over a few years.
The greatest tribute to my musical prowess was from Terry Christian: "he's dancing to the words".

The leader of the band and the most musically gifted of all of my friends on here is Jeremy Smith, soon to appear at Glastonbury as part of Barclay James Harvest. Over to you maestro to pick a 90s tune a day for the next seven days....

Final day of the music challenge.
I went all the way back to 1994 for this one. A song that reminds me of going freelance for the first time and the optimism I needed to sustain me through the uncertainty.
The song was also used three years later as a campaign song for New Labour in the landslide election of that year. A time of optimism and togetherness I feel our country has long since left behind.
The song is of course Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream, featuring Professor Brian Cox on keyboards.
Today is the day we formally install New Labour's Peter Mandelson as Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University. I was sat with Peter last year at an event at the other University when Brian Cox was speaking. Peter asked me what band the pop Professor had been in. I told him. "That was our song!" he exclaimed.
Not quite a guacamole moment, but it did mark a time and place that has led to us now working together at ManMet.
With me that day, who I now nominate is comrade Steve Connor.

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