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Musical Favourites

 

Napster We7 Spotify

 

I listen to all kinds of music from classic through to modern rock and pop. Music is very important to help me relax and I have a very large collection of vinyl LPs and CDs. For many years I wrote a rock music column in the local newspaper.

My tastes are very wide and varied. I started to think about what my favourite rock/pop tracks were of all time with a view to printing my top 50 or so. But of course 50 wasn't enough as the memories began to flood back. So I extended it to 60 and then 70 and soon had a top 100. But there is no stopping and as other tracks spring to mind I add them. That is why at the present time I have a top 123 which is likely soon to become a top 200 and so on.  I must admit that much of my top 100 comes from the 1970s and is very melodic. That doesn't mean I just listen to melodic ballady stuff but the songs below just connect with me. Just listening to the opening bars is enough to bring the musical memories flooding back.

Following the list below is a short explanation of what each track means to me along with a You Tube link so that you can listen to the tracks and watch videos at the same time. Where I have been unable to find a video (due to the obscurity of the track) I have tried to give a link to some other source.

My Favourite Rock/Pop Tracks

  1. Mockingbird - Barclay James Harvest
  2. MacArthur Park - Richard Harris
  3. Without You - Nilsson
  4. Woodstock - Matthews Southern Comfort
  5. Summer The First Time - Bobby Goldsboro
  6. There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin
  7. Meet Me on the Corner - Lindisfarne
  8. American Pie - Don McLean
  9. There But For Fortune - Phil Ochs
  10. Leader of the Band - Dan Fogelberg
  11. Father and Son - Cat Stevens
  12. Galadriel - Barclay James Harvest
  13. Meant For You - Beach Boys
  14. The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies
  15. Reason to Believe - Rod Stewart
  16. The Weaver's Answer - Family
  17. Man of the World - Fleetwood Mac
  18. Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
  19. Distant Summers - Chris Rea
  20. What the World Needs Now - Tom Clay
  21. Disney Girls - Beach Boys
  22. In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry
  23. Maggie May - Rod Stewart
  24. Armstrong - John Stewart
  25. She Said - Barclay James Harvest
  26. Alone Again Or - Love
  27. Better Place to Be - Harry Chapin
  28. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
  29. If You Saw Through My Eyes - Ian Matthews
  30. The Greatest Love of All - George Benson
  31. Coldest Days of My Life - Chi-Lites
  32. Mandolin Wind - Rod Stewart
  33. Raincoat and a Rose - Chris Rea
  34. All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople
  35. Say It Isn't True - Jackson Browne
  36. Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
  37. Same Old Langs Syne - Dan Fogelberg
  38. Albatross - Fleetwood Mac
  39. Hide in Your Shell - Supertramp
  40. The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics
  41. Martha - Tom Waits
  42. My Father's Shoes - Level 42
  43. Parisienne Walkways - Gary Moore
  44. Talk to me of Mendicino - Linda Ronstadt
  45. Waking Up Alone - Paul Williams
  46. Horse With No Name - America
  47. Theme From Twin Peaks
  48. Changes - David Bowie
  49. The Night I Heard Caruso Sing - Everything But the Girl
  50. Ventura Highway - America
  51. The Wonder of You - Elvis Presley
  52. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You - Van Morrison
  53. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
  54. Power and Glory - Phil Ochs
  55. Slides - Richard Harris
  56. Clang of the Yankee Reaper - Van Dyke Parks
  57. Abraham, Martin and John - Marvin Gaye
  58. At 17 - Janis Ian
  59. First Episode at Hienton - Elton John
  60. Eloise - Barry Ryan
  61. Jacky - Scott Walker
  62. I Need You - America
  63. I'll Be Seeing You - Judy Collins
  64. Goodnight Saigon - Billy Joel
  65. Streets of London - Ralph McTell
  66. Alright Now - Free
  67. The Impossible Dream - Matt Monroe
  68. Piano Man - Billy Joel
  69. Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are - Meatloaf
  70. Perfect Day - Lou Reed
  71. Dragonfly - Fleetwood Mac
  72. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
  73. Last Song - Edward Bear
  74. Society's Child - Janis Ian
  75. Question 67/68 - Chicago
  76. 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night - Simon and Garfunkel
  77. After the Day/The Poet - Barclay James Harvest
  78. Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits
  79. Vincent - Don McLean
  80. Come on Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
  81. Your Song - Elton John
  82. Kites - Simon Dupree and the Big Sound
  83. Medicine Man (Live version) - Barclay James Harvest
  84. Skeleton and the Roundabout - Idle Race
  85. Ferry Cross the Mersey - Gerry and the Pacemakers
  86. Be - Neil Diamond
  87. Waterloo Sunset - Kinks
  88. Singing Lessons - Judy Collins
  89. American Tune - Paul Simon
  90. Question - Moody Blues
  91. New York City - Tommy Leonetti
  92. Bolinas - John Stewart
  93. Chestnut Mare - The Byrds
  94. Who Knows Where the Time Goes - Sandy Denny
  95. Child in Time - Deep Purple
  96. The Dean and I - 10CC
  97. Just Take A Pebble - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
  98. In The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson
  99. The Moon's A Harsh Mistress - Judy Collins
  100. Absolute Beginners - David Bowie
  101. Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  102. The Blizzard - Judy Collins
  103. Layla - Derek and the Dominoes
  104. American Trilogy - Elvis Presley
  105. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  106. Where are you now my Son? - Joan Baez
  107. Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks
  108. The Way We Were - Gladys Night and the Pips
  109. Streets of Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen
  110. Kid - The Pretenders
  111. Backstage - Gene Pitney
  112. Thank You For The Music - Abba
  113. 24 hours from Tulsa - Gene Pitney
  114. I Heard It on TV - John Fogerty
  115. Where Do You Go To My Lovely - Peter Sarstedt
  116. Diamonds and Rust - Joan Baez
  117. You're A Lady - Peter Skellern
  118. Music - John Miles
  119. Show Me the Way - Peter Frampton
  120. Ameureuse - Kiki Dee
  121. Miss Serajevo - Passengers
  122. Wild is the Wind - David Bowie
  123. No I Will Never Forget - Charles Aznavour

Other favourites (in no particular order)

Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen

Fool's Overture - Supertramp

1 Mockingbird by Barclay James Harvest

 

I really don't think this track will ever be topped. When I tell most people that Mockingbird is my favourite song they think I'm talking about that dreadful Charlie and Innez Foxx drivel.

This is as far away from that as possible. My love of Barclay James Harvest is documented elsewhere on my web site, but this song will always have a special place in my heart.

The first time I heard it was live in Harlow, Essex, around about 1970. I found it stunning that night and its power has never diminished. I love it as much nearly 30 years later as I did then. That power lies in the atmosphere that the song generates.

My time at journalism college in the early 70s was possibly the happiest time of my life. With school exams out of the way I was enjoying the freedom of having no ties, being away from home for the first time and learning about the ways of the world (how pretentious). This all seemed to be summed up by this one track.

The melody ebbs and flows and at times it builds into incredible climaxes. It also rattles along. Today it still reminds me of those heady days of the 70s. I like listening late at night when the house is quiet and all the lights are off. This is mood music and it regularly reduces me to tears. BJH recorded a number of versions of Mockingbird - most recorded live. Some have subtle differences and ultimately I prefer the original which started out its life on the album Once Again and which is also available on a number of studio compilations put out by the band.

It is very 70s and very English in its feel but it still sounds fresh and vibrant.

2 MacArthur Park - Richard Harris

 

My love of the music and songs of Jimmy Webb is also documented elsewhere on my site. This to me is the ultimate Webb song. It is a song of epic proportions and destroys the myth that a good pop song has to be verse, chorus, verse, chorus.

To use the voice of an Irish actor not renowned for his singing was a master stroke as it gives a great kitsch sound to the whole thing. MacArthur Park broke the mould which stated that all singles had to be three minutes long and almost written to a formula. Here was a piece of over seven minutes which managed to maintain its vitality.

The first time I heard it I was overcome by the sheer power and the vast differences in the various segments that somehow Webb manages to keep hold of and mould together in a triumphant finale.

The lyrics have confused generations. Nobody quite knows the meanings and therefore the interpretation is left to the individual. This song has one of the greatest slow sections ever written and the instrumental section has been stolen by so many other composers (notably on the Pearl and Dean advertising music heard in cinemas).

This truly is an epic sweep, rarely matched. Other songs of a similar ilk include Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Band on the Run by Wings and Surfs Up by the Beach Boys - all of which eschew the standard song writing formula.

There are so many versions of MacArthur Park that at times it is in danger of becoming too well known. Harris' original remains by far the best and is available on numerous sources including the Jim Webb Sessions CD and the Jim Webb compilation "And Someone Left the Cake Out In The Rain."
My Jimmy Webb Link

3 Without You - Nilsson

 

Ironically Jimmy Webb was a great mate of Harry Nilsson which has absolutely nothing to do with this song but acts as a nice link for my third favourite track of all time.

This one was written by members of the British Band Badfinger and picked up by Nilsson. It is a romantically charged song that once again evokes tremendous atmosphere. Poignant and sad it was brought to a whole new generation a few years ago by Mariah Carey.

Nothing can match the soaring vocals of Nilsson as he hits one of the great choruses of rock music. This is as good as a song of lost love could ever be and it still sends a tingle down my spine. Again it has stood the test of time. It's as good today as it ever was.

4 Woodstock - Matthews Southern Comfort

 

Ian Matthews is another of my favourite singer-songwriters with his plaintiff and melancholy voice. Ironically he had no hand in writing this song which reached number one in the British charts.

It was written by Joni Mitchell and possibly the best known version is by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It is this much more tuneful arrangement that has had an effect on me, however. Written of course to celebrate the freedom and ideology of the Woodstock festival to me it sums up the era of flower power with its quirky chorus "We are stardust, we are golden, but we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

Again the orchestration is lush: "I came across a child of God, he was walking down the road, when I asked him where he was going this he told me. I'm going down to Yasgar's farm, think I'll join a rock n roll band, camp out on the sand, try to set my soul free." Was there ever such a time?

5 Summer the First Time - Bobby Goldsboro

 

Most of Goldsboro's songs were sickly pieces of Americana. Then along came this belting middle of the road classic with its crashing sea sounds and wonderful atmosphere with catchy lead in music. There isn't a summer goes by without I think of those opening words: "It was a hot afternoon, the last day of June and the sun was a demon. I told Billy Ray with his red Chevrolet, it was time for some thinking."

Story songs feature heavily in my top 30 and this is a perfect example. Basically the plot revolves around a 17 year old boy falling in love with a woman in her 30s and that immortal pop line "But I saw the sun rise as a man."

The lyrics are underpinned by the lushest of strings as the whole song builds and swirls. This song came out at a very impressionable time in my life.

6 There Only Was One Choice - Harry Chapin

And talking of epic songs, they don't come much more difficult than this 13 minute piece from my favourite singer-songwriter of all time. The lyrics wander all over the place, the tune and rhythms change almost at will and what we have is a monumental autobiographical song that hits hard at the American psyche.

It is so vast that I still marvel at its scope and intelligence and the fact that it's probably about four songs in one. Harry Chapin has many excellent sites on the Internet including a chat board. I once asked what this song was about and was informed that Harry saw it as his scrapbook song, full of different ideas.

Harry wrote some stunning songs - this is arguably his best, it is definitely his most difficult and most rewarding.

7 Meet Me on the Corner - Lindisfarne

 

Again this comes from my college days and Lindisfarne had this great ability to convey the idea that they were always pissed and always having a good time - which they probably were. The late Alan Hull is another of my favourite songwriters although I believe I'm right in saying that Ray Laidlaw wrote this immensely catchy pop tune.

One of my great memories is travelling on a train in Russia with a group of other young people and singing Fog on the Tyne. I love Meet Me on the Corner because it has no pretentions to be anything other than a wonderful pop piece with luscious harmonies.

8 American Pie - Don McLean

 

The essence of a classic song is being able to mould a good melody with good lyrics. There is no better example than American Pie. This song has been analysed and dissected so many times, but still manages to rise above it all.

The single was split into parts one and parts two. Together they provide an excellent piece. It's one of those songs where you can remember every word. I have long given up trying to work out what is meant by the phrase "The day the music died."

Again this came from my college days. Is my love of all these songs something to do with my happiness at the time or perhaps more to do with the days when genuinely crafted songs were written.

McLean wrote many good songs such as "Vincent" and "Crossroads" but American Pie eclipses them all. McLean may have written only one classic but it's certainly one to be proud of.

9 There But For Fortune - Phil Ochs

 

This is a wonderfully simple and tuneful folk song with biting lyrics. For a long time I preferred the slightly more tuneful Joan Baez version, but now feel that there is more power in the original.

Ochs is a singer-songwriter I only really discovered a few years ago. A tortured person, he was able to mould political thoughts into his songs better than anybody else - although Tom Paxton runs him close.

The hook line "There But For Fortune go you or I" is so true. This is about depravity, about poverty and about the seamier side of life. It's simply wonderful.


10 Leader of the Band - Dan Fogelberg

 

This makes me cry! Fogelberg came up with a wonderful double album "The Innocent Age" which was populated by marvellous full songs written as a song cycle on youth.

Leader of the Band is a tribute to his father and is highly biographical for the boy from Illinois who made his home in Colorado. It uses the symbolism of an iron fist in a velvet glove and a father's love of moulding lives. "The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing dim, but his blood runs through my instrument and his heart is in my soul." What better tribute could a son give his father. If my sons think half as much of me as Fogelberg does of his father I would be a happy man. "My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man, I am a living legacy to the leader of the band." What more needs to be said?

11 Father and Son - Cat Stevens

 

Stevens wrote this song many moons ago and if I remember rightly it was the B side of Moonshadow. Over the years it has certainly overshadowed the A side and became a hit in the 90s for boy pop band Boy Zone who I'm sure didn't understand what they were singing about.

An interplay between father and son this song quivers with angst, broken relationships and problems and is extremely deep. Again its melody carries it through for those not interested in lyrics. For those that are give it a close listen.

12 Galadriel by Barclay James Harvest

 

The second of three wonderful songs from the Once Again album, Galadriel is full of Tolkein imagery and a very very pretty song. Again it is mood music "She comes up with the morning sun and tells me life has just begun, oh what it is to be young." "And in the early evening night she gives me flowers for the night" - wonderful stuff indeed.

BJH have a habit of revisiting old songs and this one is featured in the excellent John Lees song "The Night I Played John Lennon's Guitar" of many years later.

This song transcends the years, it never dates and again for maximum pleasure needs to be played late at night with the lights out.

13 Meant For You - The Beach Boys

 

This unbelievably romantic little gem was on the Friends album and lasts for around 30 seconds. In that time it manages to convey more than most songs do in five minutes. I often wonder what it would have sounded like if it had been developed, but then feel it probably would have had its strength diluted. It re-appeared a few years ago on a Brian Wilson retrospective look at Beach Boys songs.

The lyrics are sparsely beautiful: "As I sit and close my eyes, there's peace in my mind and I'm hoping that you'll find it too."

14 The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies

 

Written by Albert Hammond, this is another show-stopping ballad. Phil Everly also recorded a very good version on an album entitled Star Spangled Springer.

15 Reason to Believe - Rod Stewart

 

To me the strongest ever single was Stewart's double A side of "Maggie May" and "Reason to Believe." This Tim Hardin song has always got less plays than Maggie but it is a truly emotional song and has that wonderful rock/jazzy feel that Stewart brought to many of his recordings in the early 70s.

16 The Weaver's Answer - Family

 

A slightly unusual choice. I played this to a group of people a few weeks ago and they thought it was awful. I have always loved Leicester band "Family" and Roger Chapman's strangulated vocals were never better than on this rollicking song with its mystical lyrics.

17 Man of the World - Fleetwood Mac

 

Peter Green was a genius and Mac were a sublime group until they sold out, and went onto mega stardom. Songs like "Oh Well" and "Albatross" are wonderful crash backs to the late 60s and early 70s. I think this was Green at his bluesy best, beginning to turn his back on fame and fortune. The lyrics show Green searching for something elusive. I don't think he ever found it and this is his finest heart-rending moment.

18 Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum

 

I had a wonderful music teacher at school who listened happily to our records and then tried to get us to undertake critiques of them. He is probably responsible for me doing this kind of thing. Sadly he died years ago. On hearing this he wanted to know "why the singer was putting on a false American accent." I had never thought of it in those terms. I loved Procol Harum - still do for that matter and this has had a great effect on so many people. It is a unique song.

19 Distant Summers - Chris Rea

 

Another monumentally short piece of music that oozes thoughts of hazy summer days despite being well under one minute in length. I wish this one had been developed.

20 What the World Needs Now - Tom Clay

 

This is probably the most unusual piece in my top 30. Tom Clay was an American DJ who put together this piece which fuses the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Interwoven are newsreel clips, interviews and songs such as Abraham, Martin and John and What the World Needs Now is Love." It's a hotch potch but also extremely poignant. I first heard it on the pirate Radio Caroline when they played it around midnight every night for a time. Strangely it was released on the Tamla Motown label. The B side had Clay reading out the names and ages of American soldiers killed in combat. All very strange.

21 Disney Girls - The Beach Boys

 

Another wonderful soothing ballad. I also love the Art Garfunkel version. It is all so American and so full of those exquisite Beach Boys harmony.

22 In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry

 

Another rollicking good time song. Mungo Jerry were described as a British jug band. This again has a unique feel about it. Simply a damn good tune.

23 Maggie May - Rod Stewart

 

The other side of "Reason to Believe" but a great song in its own right. Another great anthem to teenage years and schooldays and Stewart's paper thin voice is ideally suited to it.

24 Armstrong - John Stewart

 

This song comes under the banner of extremely original lyrics. John Stewart is an excellent singer-songwriter whose most famous song is "Daydream Believer." I bet those football fans haven't a clue about that when they sing it at matches. The Armstrong in the title is first man on the moon Neil Armstrong. I wouldn't want to spoil it for anybody by explaining the clever twist at the end.

25 She Said - Barclay James Harvest

 

The third of the three wonderful tracks from BJH. This one has the same feel to it as Mockingbird and Galadriel and has a wonderfully tuneful middle section played on a recorder. Elsewhere it again ebbs and flows. Tremendous stuff.

26 Alone Again Or - Love

 

Another wonderfully tuneful piece with some tremendous guitar breaks. Love it to bits.

27 Better Place to Be - Harry Chapin

 

Harry sings about loneliness but this song has a happy ending. It teaches us that we don't all have to be superstars to find the right person. A swirling story song, it is one of his fans favourites.

28 Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton

 

This one needs little explanation. Clapton wrote some wonderfully sng lives. "The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing dim, but his blood runs through my instrument and his heart is in my soul." What better tribute could a son give his father. If my sons think half as much of me as Fogelberg does of his father I would be a happy man. "My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man, I am a living legacy to the leader of the band." What more needs to be said?

29 If You Saw Through My Eyes - Ian Matthews

 

Another low key, short but emotionally charged gem. This one can reduce me to tears as well. 

30 The Greatest Love of All - George Benson

 

I find the lyrics to this song so inspirational from the opening line "I believe that children are our future" to "Give them a sense of pride" and "Let the children's laughter fill the air." And "Everybody's searching for a hero."

31 Coldest Days of My Life - Chi-Lites

 

A strange choice in many ways. I went through a stage of enjoying sentimental slushy soul such as the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics, but this piece has stayed with me. It's a moody piece full of evocative lyrics and reminds me of times gone by.

32 Mandolin Wind - Rod Stewart

Listen to Mandolin Wind on we7.com

The third track from the magnificent Every Picture Tells A Story albym to feature in my top tracks. This was taken from the days when Rod knew how to rock and also knew how to put over powerful ballads. Lovely mandolin sections and a wonderful feel to it.

33 Raincoat and a Rose - Chris Rea

 

The only time I have seen Chris Rea live was as support to Lindisfarne in Derby around 1977 or 78. Very often support acts are diabolical but here was a new face and new voice that grabbed the attention. I still believe his early stuff was his best and this is a wonderfully romantic piece with Rea's guitar work to the fore.

34 All the Young Dudes - Mott the Hoople

 

When David Bowie gave Mott the Hoople a song to resurrect their career he certainly came up with a gem. A teen hymn for a generation and it still sounds as fresh as ever. A timeless classic.

35 Say It Isn't True - Jackson Brown

 

For me this is by far and away the best Jackson Brown song. All about war, its sentiments may be rather dated now but it brought to my attention the politically charged lyrics of this American songwriter and the music isn't bad either.

36 Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel

 

Paul Simon is one of the great poets of rock music. I love so many S and G songs that picking out one or two is difficult, but for the sheer power of the lyrics this is one of my favourites. I am awed by the clarity and perception of Simon's words. It's one of the great all time lyrics right from the word go "Hello darkness my old friend. I've come to talk with you again."

37 Same Old Langs Syne - Dan Fogelberg

 

Dan Fogelberg's album The Innocent Age is one of my great favourites for its depth and wisdom. This is a simple tune but a heart-warming story and again a great evocative feel.

38 Albatross - Fleetwood Mac

 

There is nothing more moody or finer than an evening in listening to early Mac classics and this wonderful instrumental is an absolute classic that summons up the feeling of lazy summer days.

39 Hide In Your Shell - Supertramp

 

I love the hazy sax jazz feel to Supertramp's early music and this came from the excellent Crime of the Century album. It reminds me for some reason of a period of my life living in Cromer on the North Norfolk coast and it has a wonderful full chorus. The message is also deep.

40 The Living Years - Mike and the Mechanics

 

I'm an absolute succer for sloppy sentimental father/son lyrics and this is one of the nest without ever getting corny. Wonderful words of regret from the son - I wish I'd told him what I thought in the living years. Let your dad know before it's too late - wonderful.

41 Martha - Tom Waits

 

Waits is capable of producing the most sublime music and this comes from the Closing Time album which is full of beautiful melodies. I love this for both its feel and it's lyrics about lost love and reconsilliation and it has one of the catchiest choruses of all time. Beautiful moody and magnificent.

42 My Father's Shoes - Level 42

 

 

I can't say that I enjoy Level 42 all that much, but here they came up with an absolute gem of swirling guitars and again a father/son relationship. Beats anything else they have ever done by a mile. Was issued in the United Kingdom as a single and absolutely stiffed.

43 Parisienne Walkways - Thin Lizzy

 

I absolutely adore the wonderful guitar work and the way this one almost slides into the consciousness. It is a rampant and powerful piece of music that makes my top 50 simply because of its brilliance.

44 Talk to Me of Mendicino - Linda Ronstadt

 

Ronstadt does a wonderful job on this Kate and Anna McGarrigle song about longing for the Californian seaside town. It impressed me so much that a few years ago I visited Mendicino to see if it lived up to the song. It didn't!

45 Waking Up Alone - Paul Williams

 

A lovely sad ballad from a very underrated singer songwriter

46 Horse with No Name - America

 

It's a close run thing between this and Ventura Highway for my favourite America track. A slightly wierd but highly original song with a typical sing-along chorus.

47 Theme from Twin Peaks

 

I'm not sure this qualifies as rock/pop but I love it anyway. The music was the best thing about the television series. I used to watch just to hear this piece and then realised I could get it on CD anyway.

48 Changes - David Bowie

 

Bowie's early material was of such a general high standard that it is difficult to pick out my favourite track. I have gone for this one because it seems to sum up an era. I vividly remember seeing Bowie do a brilliant double set at Harow Playhouse around 1972 where he spent the first half doing an accoustic set based mainly on the album Hunky Dory and then launched into an electric set after the break. I believe it was only the second gig ever done by the Spiders from Mars and I count myself very fortunate to have been there. This was one of the highlights of the first half with Changes being played by Bowie at the piano. Memories don't come much better.

49 The Night I Heard Caruso Sing - Everything But the Girl

 

Long before they added a techno beat to their songs, Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn produced a number of very wistful and original songs and this to me is the best - and who else has written a song about Montrose?

50 Ventura Highway - America

 

The second America song to make the top 50 and this is one of those that everybody knows although many people won't know the name of the band who made it. It's another up-beat ballad type with such a catchy chorus.

51 The Wonder of You - Elvis Presley

 

I have never been a tremendous fan of Elvis and I could be accused of going for one of his ultra slushy numbers, but I grew up with this one and its melody outweighs its mawkishness.

52 Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? - Van Morrison

 

I am not a great Van the Man fan but he does come out with gems every so often and this, along with Wonderful Tonight, is probably the most romantic ballad in my top 50. It is warm and wonderful.

Favourite tracks 53 onwards