Last week, with an EU-friendly €25 Golden Discs voucher on offer, I asked you to name your favourite song whose title features a European city?
You answered in your dozens.
But there could only be one winner.
Das Ist Berlin by Marlene Dietrich
‘The fabulously glamorous Marlene Dietrich. Captures Berlin beautifully.’
Barcelona by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé
Frilly Keane writes:
‘Ye’ll know it – most likely as the Barcelona Olympics (92) Grand Opener. But it was actually completed in 88 to meet the Olympic deadline. Caballé was originally invited by the Barcelona Bid Team – her home city, soon after they won the games in 87. But she immediately reached out to Freddy Mercury. And this is the result + an album. It definitely set the tone for the games. Anyone remember the diving events from Barcelona ’92? Of course Freddy never got to see the reaction as he passed in 91 But to me this is his Masterpiece. Play it at full blast.’
Paris Match by The Style Council & Tracey Thorn
‘By a fortuitous turn of events I was listening to Café Bleu by The Style Council only yesterday. It is as if the gods of my record collection were directing me. My choice number 1 would be this…”The gift you gave was desire – the match that started my fire”… Weller showing no fear – swapping Monkey Boots and Lonsdale tops for Penny Loafers,fine knits and galouise – Ooh La La – confusing and conflicting many acolytes – no power chords, no anger, no bite. New beginnings. And Tracey Thorn. what a voice.’
‘From the 1994 sophomore album “Bewitched”. A slice of dream pop heaven. Fun fact: main man Dean Wareham was firmly an East Coast kinda guy, after moving from his New Zealand birthplace he spent most of his life in New York (plus a spell in Boston). But a few years ago re relocated to Los Angeles as his son was in college there. So he made it… All the Way… to California, eventually.’
Reno Dakota by The Magnetic Fields
Specific Gravity writes:
“Reno Dakota, there’s not an iota of kindness in you, You know you enthral me and yet you don’t call me, It’s making me blue, Pantone 292.”
‘69 Love Songs is a hell of a collection of impeccable songs, running the full emotional gamut. Would be great to see them back in Dublin.’
Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen
‘Recorded on a Teac Tascam 144 Portastudio, in his living room, with a simple tape recorder, instead of the studio, he then ran these recording through a Gibson Echoolex to add reverb and echo, sent the tapes in.
It’s an essential record in the history of home recording – he wrote the songs, put them down on a demo, that demo became the record. It didn’t sell particularly well and got no airplay. The magic or genius was, with the right amount of reverb and echo, a cheap speaker in a car sounds lush and dreamy.
A great driving album, quite dark, Nebraska is the retelling of Terrence Malick’s Badlands, a film based on the 1957–58 killing spree of Charlie Starkweather. The Starkweather murders were meaningless, and the randomness of that violence and inability to explain it, is the album.’
Last week, with a crotch-bulging €25 Golden Discs on offer, I asked you to name the greatest moment in heavy metal history.
You responded in headbangingly large numbers, securing for the discerning a playlist of ear bleeding riffage and manly wailing.
But there could be only one winner.
Raining Blood by Slayer
Clampers Outside writes:
‘Amid the sound of rain and eerie guitar feedback on the opening track to Slayer’s 1983 album Reign in Blood comes three quick taps of the drum…dut, dut, dut…Repeating a little louder each time, like a clock ticking down, building on atmospheric tension tighter and tighter…dut, dut, dut….dut, dut, dut…dut, dut, dut…
A sound so distinctive the entire song is recognisable from those first three beats alone.
… And then a clack of thunder, the 3 tap drum, now louder, adding a snarling guitar riff, before taking off at break neck speed. The now rampant drumming punching through that tension. It’s all hell let loose in those opening 40 odd seconds to ‘Raining Blood’.
Once heard, never forgotten. It is that 3 tap sound that can so minimally get one’s pulse racing that is nothing short of iconic…’
Let There Be Rock by AC/DC
‘Everyone always forgets about AC/DC’s original frontman. The late great, Bon Scott A man who, just exudes charisma through every pore. Look into his eyes – he’s hypnotic. A man TRULY enjoying himself. Pure joy.
Here (above) he is in one of his best performances in AC/DC’s “Let there be rock” while also dressed as a priest. It doesn’t get better than that. :)
PS: Even if you don’t like AC/DC, it’s worth watching for his performance alone and for the massive 10 FOOT JUMP over the rest of the band he makes (@4:15).’
War Pigs by Black Sabbath
‘The greatest moment in heavy metal was the formation of Black Sabbath in 1968. They went on to influence almost every heavy metal band to come. War Pigs is from their second album. It is just a powerhouse of monster riffs, bass lines and excellent drumming. This, along with Ozzy straining his voice to reach those notes makes for a top headbanger tune. A masterpiece.’
Last Friday, with a bespoke €25 Golden Disc voucher on offer offer, I asked you to name what you consider to be the most overrated song in contemporary music.
You answered in your dozens, creating an un-listenable playlist of songs most could happily die not hearing again. Thank you.
But sadly there could only be one winner.
You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
‘From the first time I heard this song, Blunt’s voice, the chorus to this song made me shrivel up inside. Went on a rant about it to my son and he quietly told me that this was “their” song and would be played first dance at their wedding…’
Imagine by John Lennon
Clampers Outside writes:
‘A saccharine soaked ditty full of lyrical contradictions… in its hymnal sound, yet asks the listener to abandon religion; as well as its request of the listener to abandon political systems and at the same time embrace one…Urrggghh…. It grates with me in the same way soap opera themes like Corrie and Eastenders do… Yuck! Off!’
Living On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
Brother Barnabas writes:
‘I had a girlfriend once who was perfect in every way – apart from her taste in music. it was disappointing and mildly irritating but I was managing to ignore it. until we were driving in Portugal and this song came on the radio. She had a little spasm of glee and turned up the volume. and then sang every lyric, every line to the end. Using counter-mindfulness or something, I managed to take myself somewhere else for the 3 or 4 minutes.
The next evening, we were in a bar that had a karaoke night on. I knew she’d put her name down, but didn’t dare ask the song. Coming back from the jacks, I saw she wasn’t in her seat and then that awful intro and then the woe-woe-woe bit. it was horrendous. and worst of all, she sang the chorus every time directly at me, arm outstretched, finger pointing. i could feel the hatred welling up inside me.’
‘I loved my aunt May- she had a way of shocking the family which as a child I found really funny. She said things which were completely inappropriate for a conservative country family and it was much later on that I figured out why.
She was reared in Goldenbridge in Dublin- for those who don’t know, that was a brutal industrial school ran by The Sisters of Mercy. She never ever spoke about it until one day she started with my mother and that hyper speak continued for another two weeks.
And then, at the age of 56 – she passed in her sleep – not even turning the sheets.
She met my uncle in the London dance halls and they married there – in London I mean. They arrived home on a bike with her in the leather trousers, heels and big dyed hair apparently.
So from the get go the family pearls were being clutched but she became as much part as anyone else. She encouraged me to try on girl’s clothes but I wasn’t that sort of gay – even then – but I am grateful for her being the first to spot the difference and let me know it was fine to be me- whatever that was.
And so with a few gins taken – to May – your favourite singer. (This song is also dedicated to the government on their virus strategy- obviously).’
Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel
Millie Madonna writes:
‘It’s one of my favourite songs ever. The emotion he manages to convey, you don’t need to know the language to understand the heartbreak and desolation in the song. I cried the first time I heard it and cried again once I was able to understand it. Kinda sums up how powerful music is for me.’
Bonjour Tristesse by Juliette Greco (RIP)
‘Juliette Gréco’s deep, husky voice became the soul of Paris. Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “Gréco has a million poems in her voice, it is like a warm light that revives the embers burning inside of us all. It is thanks to her, and for her, that I have written songs. In her mouth, my words become precious stones.” Here’s Bonjour Triestesse, from 1958 (above)’