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Dai Lowe's Top Fifty Tracks of All Time

some eggsplanation…
"I guess some like it hot — personally, I prefer classical music."

  Artiste Track Album / comment / blank space Year
  1. Captain Beefheart and his Magic BandBig Eyed Beans from Venus Clear SpotAmazing guitars, amazing vocals, -
and what lyrics can compare with, 
  'Mr Zoot Horn Rollo: 
  hit that long loomin' note - 
  and let it float . . .'    It's a straight fight between this and
Beethoven 9 for my one desert island disc1972
  2. The Velvet UndergroundVenus In FursVelvets & NicoSummer of love? Pah!
Summer of drugs and sado-masochism.
Right on Lou!1967
  3. Ike & Tina TurnerRiver Deep, Mountain High Phil Spector Versionmemories of a small tranny on a paper round1966
  4. The AnimalsThe House of the Rising Sun   1964
  5. The Rolling StonesPaint It Black 'Pop' Rogers, the music teacher
actually liked this one1966
  6. Buddy HollyPeggy SueYou may begin to notice a
fondness for poundng drum beats1957
  7. The SmithsHow Soon Is Now? Hatful of Hollowprobably my favourite ever band -
could have just done a top twenty of Smiths tracks1984
  8. BeatlesTomorrow Never KnowsRevolverYes they do get in. Underrated 
album, far better than Pepper for me.
For No-one nearly got in too1967
  9. David BowieHeroes some days I might prefer Scary Monsters
or another track from that album1977
10.Procul HarumA Whiter Shade of Pale Ah, that holiday in Wales!
Whatever happened to Stella Fordham?1967
11.Righteous BrothersYou've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' Ah, that party in Ruddington! 
Whatever happened to Jenny Mabbot?1965
12.Four TopsReach Out Oh that bloody youth club!
Whatever happened to Susan Clark?1967
13.Roxy MusicDo The StrandFor Your Pleasure1973
14.Sex PistolsAnarchy in the UK   1977
15.The SmithsPaint a Vulgar PictureStrangeways, Here We Come1987
16.Pink FloydArnold Layne While everybody else idolised John & Paul
I seem to remember only one other girl and I 
in our class were more into this kind of thing.
She lent it to me.  What was her name? 
Where is she now?1967
17.David BowieLife on Mars Hunky DoryIf I ever wrote an autobiography
it was going to be called 'My Mother, My Dog and Clowns'
with each chapter heading taken from this song1973
18.Dexy's Midnight RunnersGenoSearching for the Young Soul Rebels1980
19.The KinksWaterloo Sunset   1967
20.Prince BusterAl Capone   1965
21.The PoguesSally MacLennaneRum, Sodomy & the Lash1985
22.Jimi HendrixPurple Haze   1967
23.The WhoMy Generation   1966
24.UndertonesTeenage Kicks   1978
25.Sisters of MercyFirst and Last and Always First and Last and Alwayswith thanks to Emily Sweetman (wherever you are)
for introducing me to so much Goth stuff.
Oh, and to 'Somethin' on the Side' by Winston Groovy1985
26.TroggsWild Thing   1966
27.EnoBaby's On FireHere Come the Warm Jets1973
28.B-52sDead Beat ClubCosmic Thing1989
29.Roxy MusicVirginia Plain   1972
20.Public image LtdPoptonesMetal Box1979
31.Frankie Goes To HollywoodRelax  1983
32.Stranglers(Just Get A) Grip on Yourself   1976
33.White StripesFell In Love With A Girl   2001
34.CureIn Between Days And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true! 1985
35.SladeCoz I Luv You   1971
36.Robert WyattI'm a Believer   1974
37.Soft CellTainted Love   1981
38.ProdigyFirestarter   1996
39.Joy DivisionLove Will Tear Us Apart a bit jolly for me, but it's gotta be here 1980
40.Dead KennedysCalifornia Uber Alles   1979
41.The KinksYou Really Got Me   1964
42.Soft MachineA Certain Kind Soft Machine II could be really pretentious and put
'Love Makes Sweet Music' here but sadly
I've never actually heard it.1968
43.Benny GoodmanSing Sing SingAnother amazing drum beat from Mr Krupa.
How my father had the nerve to call the Stones 'Jungle Music'...!1937
44.BeatlesStrawberry Fields Forever   1967
45.Leonard CohenStranger Song Close call for lyrics between this and Ev'rybody Knows.
Whatever happened to Jessica?  How well I remember 
the embarrassment of walking to Filmsoc with her 
beside me singing so intensely!
Well, we were going to McCabe & Mrs Miller.1966
46.Lou ReedSad SongBerlin1973
47.The Polyphonic SpreeSoldier Girl will this one stand the test of time?2002
48.UnderworldBorn Slippy Last of the heavy rhythms.
Whatever happened to Donna?1996
49.CatatoniaInternational Velvet International VelvetCourse I'm not Welsh!
Not even by adoption -
just by childhood holidays1997
50.Captain Beefheart and his Magic BandMoonlight On VermontTrout Mask Replica1970

Like Tony Curtis said in Some Like It Hot, I do prefer grown-up stuff — Beethoven's probably my main man.

However I only got into that in my teens and I also like a lot of kiddie toons like the above.  After all, the sixties were my formative years (hence the glut of mid-sixties tracks) and, as Wordsworth said of that era:

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was fuckin' Ace!

Even so, as you can see (and despite the glut of mid-sixties tracks), I'm not one of those old gits who moan that "there's nowt as good now as in my young day".   It's really depressing to hear some of my contemporaries sounding like my father back in '65, comparing that "big prancing girl" Mick Jagger somewhat unfavourably to his belovéd Glenn Miller.  The great thing about being my age is being able to listen to everything (including Miller) and not having to worry about whether what I like is cool or not.  Oh yeah, and seeing those bands that Dad said wouldn't be heard of in 20 years still selling, and in some cases still performing, after 40!

Speaking personally, I always thought the Fab Four and Dylan were monstrously overrated (that's Bob Dylan, not the rabbit from the Magic Roundabout, who is obviously a god). And while every generation throws a hero up the pop charts, there's never been a shortage of hard-to-avoid commercial pap alongside the cutting-edge stuff that you have to seek out (usually by listening to St John Peel).

My preferences tend to be a long way from the middle of the road, though good dance numbers like Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head or some perfectly produced pure Pop like Natalie's version of Torn have been nudging to get in. On the whole though, if I want nice tunes or meaningful complexities, I'll go to Haydn symphonies or Beethoven string quartets and if I want bedsitter angst, Radiohead and Coldplay (yawn) can't touch Schubert Songs (check out Die Winterreise) or Mahler Symphonies.

It's when I want my head caving in or my guts churning, I turn to Led Zep, AC/DC and co. and if I wanna boogie on down, I'll put on Fat Boy Slim or a Boy George Ministry mix (not that these guys made it onto this page).  Oh, and I like Jazz too and a lot of music from other cultures (though I despise the term "World Music", with its faintly patronising implications).  My only blind spots are musicals and Country&Western — and there are exceptions even there.

So, when I hit 40, I decided to list a track for each year of my life (not from each year - note the glut of mid-sixties tracks), for my own amusement (we must find some way to fill in time 'twixt cradle and grave, mustn't we?). They're listed in only the vaguest of order (except for the undisputed number one) and that order (as well as some of the contents) would no doubt be totally different if I compiled the list again from scratch. In fact the last five or so have been added in a hurry without much thought so I may even change them from time to time when I remember some number from my past.

But, as old Billy-boy said, all comparisons are odorous and, as Zen teaches us, all value judgements are illusory. So it's just (as Peter Snow says) a bit of fun. It just seems that half the nerds out here in webland feel they should share their faves with us and lists do seem to have a strange fascination for some people. If you can't beat 'em . . .

Naturally, some of the songs are here for sentimental reasons (hence the glut of mid-sixties tracks - eg I had my first snog to You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin', which she promptly did). But the majority (including You've Lost...) are there because I think they're great. A cursor over a spotty comments box might reveal more . . .

Maybe I should list my favourite albums too - a very different set. Some of the above tracks are the only good thing in a pile of cack. (Guess who bought the whole Belle and Sebastian album on the strength of the stonking single, The Boy With The Arab Strap? Then again, I bought an arab strap too, so it wasn't a complete waste.) And some great albums don't have a track that really stands out - but I'd exchange Gomez' Bring It On, for many of the tracks above as a satisfying experience. So what else? The Velvet Underground and Nico of course. Trout Mask Replica, Hatful of Hollow, Roxy Music, Soft Machine Third, Lexicon of Love, Signing Off, Scary Monsters, Maxinquaye, Back in the DHSS ...

No, I can't be arsed. No more lists. I'm bored now. Let's go back to the website.