For the last few days I’ve been thinking of the songs I would choose if I ever appeared on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4. For a lover of music like me, this is a very hard decision. Trying to pick your favourite seven songs, songs that have special meaning to you or, even songs that remind you of a person or place is very difficult. There is a couple that would definitely make the list without much thought but, out of hundreds of songs you like, the list is forever changing. I finally narrowed it down to the seven and, here is the list in no particular order:
1) I Hung My Head, Sting.
I have loved this song ever since my Dad first played it to me when I was a child. The opening guitar motif is excellent and draws you into the song immediately. I am a massive fan of Sting’s vocals, so when he comes in with “Early one morning”, it’s just a great moment in the song for me. The instrumentation is great and when the brass arrive in the chorus, the song really takes off but, the main reason I love this song is because it tells a story. Like most of Sting’s songs, the lyrics are superb but, this one just resonates with me and this is why it’s made my list.
2) Lover, Alter Bridge.
Alter Bridge are one of my all time favourite bands. This song is from their fourth album Fortress, and is an all out powerful rock song. I love the simplicity of the arrangement and the way it builds to the chorus. I remember lying in bed one night when the album first released, listening to the whole thing start to finish and, going back to this song to listen to it again and again. The moment that puts this song on my list is the ending, where lead singer Myles Kennedy produces in my opinion, one of the best rock vocal moments ever. I won’t describe it as I want you to listen for yourself.
3) Stupid Boy, Keith Urban.
My love for modern country music developed whilst I was at university and Keith Urban is probably my favourite artist of the genre. Dynamically this song is fantastic and it really takes you on a journey. Now, I’m a guitar player so most songs with great guitar parts already have a big tick from me and this song is no exception. The lead guitar that builds into the outro really made me realise the importance of structure in a guitar solo. The note choice and the dynamics are perfect and I have often tried to replicate that in my own playing. If you like modern country music then Keith Urban is the epitome of the genre.
4) Message In A Bottle, The Police.
Like Alter Bridge, The Police are one of my favourite bands and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like this song. My Dad introduced me to The Police when I was a small child. I remember watching a live concert on VHS of their Synchronicity tour and being completely amazed. As an impressionable young child, I soaked it all up and watched it over and over again. This song though, stands out for me and is the first song I learned to play by The Police. For me, this song epitomises The Police. I never get tired of this song and I believe, The Police were influential in my growth as a musician.
5) Calling Elvis, Dire Straits.
Dire Straits are another band that were influential in my development as musician early on. My Dad used to dress me up in a head band and, gave me a tennis racquet as a guitar to try make me look like Mark Knopfler. I used to watch their On The Night video and pretend to play along with my tennis racquet. Calling Elvis is the opening song on that video and it’s one of those moments where you just think YES, this is the coolest thing ever, this I what I want to do when I grow up. It was this moment that was one of main factors for me wanting to play guitar. 6) Rise Today, Alter Bridge.
6) Rise Today, Alter Bridge.
I first heard this song on a school trip to Pompeii. My friend knew I liked rock music and said, “have a listen to this!” So I did and I thank him a lot for introducing me to Alter Bridge. The song connected with me immediately and I was blown away by the guitar and the vocals. I thought these guys are the ultimate rock band and I didn’t give him his iPod back for a while. Since then, I’ve been to see them live six times and have become a complete fan boy.
7) Mist Beyond Delhi, The Hellecasters.
The guitar solos in this song are pure genius. Jerry Donahue, Will Ray and John Jorgenson have produced one of my all time favourite guitar moments. Each solo leads in to the next perfectly and, represents each of their styles which makes it so great. These solos are what puts this song on my list as the rest of the song is, to be honest, alright but not amazing. My Dad used to play it in the car and introduce the solo as if it was me playing it. One day, with a lot of practice, I will play each one from start to finish.
So there you have it. Those are my seven desert island songs. Please check out my choices if you haven’t heard them before. I think there’s a song on that list for everyone. If you could appear on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, what would be your seven songs?