Favourite music 1978-2022

My favourite music, progressively being added to. I grew up in London in the era of punk, John Peel on Radio 1, and the dawn of electronic music. I was never a musician, hardly ever went to gigs, but electronic and ‘message’ music appealed. I also lived in West Africa, the US (Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona), and Melbourne in Australia, so some music is local. Enjoy.

Suggestions always welcome


The Associates – Party Fears Two. (1982). university song. Lead singer Billy MacKenzie died at only 39. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KybfTKNl2NM

The BeatMirror in the Bathroom British ska band (1980). Whistled this one all the way to Nordkapp in the same year. On reflection, not as great as some of the songs that follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHWrmIzgB5A

Billy Bragg – Waiting for the great leap forward (1988) “If no one seems to understand/ Start your own revolution and cut out the middleman”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHd2O_KuCxA

John Cooper Clarke – Beasley Street. (1980). You had to have been in Thatcher’s Britain. Punk poet. Not that I ever spent much time in Salford, with which he is identified. Was played on John Peel, Radio 1. Lyrics https://johncooperclarke.com/poems/beasley-street A later version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oldi8_jH40

Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough (1981) I loved the one finger keyboard simplicity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6FBfAQ-NDE

Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now (1999) Norman Cook happens to be the same age as me, and I saw him play in the Housemartins at Reading University in the early 1980s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ub747pprmJ8

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Enola Gay (1980) This really was where I came in with electronic music as a teenager. Viewed 48m times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5XJ2GiR6Bo

Nick Lowe – All Men Are Liars (1990). The Rick Astley rhyme….. [Rick Astley didn’t last] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6hzkBihaew

Gorillaz – Dirty Harry Albarn et al. (2005). We always had the cd in the house. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLnkQAeMbIM

Faithless – God Is a DJ. (1998) I was living in London at the time, but missed all this raving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXUrVJNIcgA best live one 2005 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ltoAcZrjBw

Audiobooks – The Doll (2021). I love this track, with riff in the middle, and the duo are quite strange. Chords excellent, singing odd. Would love to know where the abandoned stadium is. Someone said Crystal Palace Park? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRQGZPXuIrM

Stranglers – Golden Brown (1981) They were difficult pioneers but this track, largely written by the highly functioning autistic Dave Greenfield, (d. 2020 of Covid-19, before vaccines were invented) showed that keyboards, his arpeggios in particular, can make a perfect popular track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtTsky80XmQ


Cordrazine – Memorial Drive (1998) Local Melbourne band that recorded an album and some other things in the 1990s, before disbanding as fame beckoned. But they played in 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1cFUiMVDo8

Paul Kelly – Before Too Long (1986) This was a classic. Probably his best. All stuff first heard on arrival in Australia in 2004. Pretty unknown in the UK or USA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LerRV-CGeFU

Paul Kelly – Fron St Kilda to King’s Cross (1985) . A Melbourne song. He’s the musician most identified with Melbourne I think, and still lives here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV1FW_FCjx8

Paul Kelly – Every fucking city (2010) yep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWvhL0RQZKA

Chris Wilson – Wolves (1994, recorded later) Another Melbourne artist, and music lecturer who died too young in 2019. The band did not know they were being intentionally recorded for this concert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oYfBM3maho

Kutcha Edwards ‘WE SING’ (2020) Recorded at the height of Melbourne’s brutal 2020 lockdown. Well known local Koori artist with with some famous friends and Aboriginal artists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxVF7zUD9S0

Gretta Ray – Drive (2017) Gretta was 4 years ahead of my son at Princes Hill Secondary College in Melbourne, 2 km from our house. So she wrote this in high school. It went national, she won loads of awards, and she is now an international artist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d0rwhERGBw

Severed Heads – “Dead Eyes Opened” (1983). Aussies, but we did not know that in SE London in the 1980s. I actually bought the record. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orr2ZqtijCQ 1994 remix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJJ5WEmW5OI 2019 version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuuaLQbzqqc&list=PL5m1QjI25XrXM_6o9yumF6k9LR5Y5GWev


Ali Farka Touré – Ai Du  (1994?) I play this in my Africa class at university. A devout Muslim from a small village in Mali, the tenth son in a family where all the others died from disease or accidents [as did his father when he was 2], he was badly treated as a child, working from dawn to dusk.  He was illiterate his whole life,  and made his first guitar from a sardine can in 1951. He  toured internationally, with the world’s best musicians.  Later in life he stopped touring and invested all his money from music in his region, and farmed 25ha. So his later years, people came to him, two days across the desert – like Ry Cooder with whom he recorded this album. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLVdrgd8w_s

Bhundu BoysHatisi Tose (early 1980s) From Zimbabwe, playing  chimurenga music, later identified as jit. Check the guitar work. After some epic local albums in the early 1980s they were ‘discovered’, moved to the UK, toured [opened for Madonna at one stage] but the band fell apart. Three died of AIDS in the 1990s.  A mentally ill lead singer, Biggie Tembo, committed suicide in 1995.    This was one of my ‘university bands’ in the UK in the 1980s, featuring on BBC R1’s John Peel show. Peel, an icon of alternative music, had an emotional reaction the first time he heard them . ”I remember I think in the summer of 1986  going to see the Bhundu Boys for the first time with John at some college down in Chelsea. And I turned round to look at him halfway through the gig and there were tears streaming down his face, and he described the music as the most natural flowing music he had ever heard in his life.” (Andy Kershaw, Peel tribute programme, 31 October 2004 (Andy Kershaw)] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBmRqiAMsBA

Newen Afrobeat featuring Seun Kuti & Cheick Tidiane Seck playing a Fela track, Opposite People (2016). Seun is the youngest son of Fela Kuti, [Nigerian activist and musician,  imprisoned a lot, died in 1997]. Filmed in Chile.

Imarhan – Imarhan (2016) Deep Saharan track, not a great video. Younger Kel Tamashek artists based in  Tamanrasset, Algeria, a place I have flown over but never visited. I play tracks like these to my undergrad students in my Africa class, to limited responses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YKmRKcYW90 live at 40m https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdd1EZy2lkA


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