January 12, 2020

Desert Island Discs? Pah. How about a single musical morsel for sustenance, one solitary assemblage of crotchets and quavers with which to maintain contact with the life you crave, fuelling longing wh...

January 2, 2020

When Hollywood makes its Donald Trump biopic, which with horrifying inevitability it will, the soundtrack will be by Black Grape. And the title song will be Dadi Waz A Badi.

I realise that intros desig...

December 12, 2019

Don’t get me wrong. As Jewish as I am, I’m all for Noddy Holder roaring ‘It’s ChrisssssssssMAS!’ or John Lennon hoping war is over or Roy Wood wishing it could be Yuletide every day. They all have the...

September 22, 2019

Launched into the stratosphere with arguably (in my humble opinion, indisputably) the greatest opening riff in the history of rock, Layla is Eric Clapton’s masterpiece. A proclamation of unrequited lo...

August 27, 2019

If the 1960s were the decade of the classic single, the Seventies were the decade of what was quaintly called the album. And for the first half of the Seventies Joni Mitchell released a series of reco...

August 6, 2019

To some, The Artist Better Known As Prefab Sprout occupies an unthreatened throne. A thousand rave reviews, one Top 10 single. A daring debut devoid of choruses. An acoustic version of the 1980s’ fine...

July 9, 2019

Frankie Avalon, Johnny Tillotson, Brian Hyland, Fabian, Bobby Rydell: by the mid-1960s many teen idols of the pre-Beatles era were already nostalgia acts, living proof of what our parents told us abou...

July 9, 2019

My Girl the Month of May, Dion’s hymn to her, may have been the flipside of a flop but it inspired two distinctive covers by artists who operated in very different musical milieux yet later become lab...

July 4, 2019

It is always pleasing when a songwriter you admire greatly echoes a long-held belief. My contention is that the best songs are the beautifully sad ones, and the New York-born artist Gretchen Peters ha...

April 24, 2019

There cannot be a music lover anywhere in the world who does not have direct personal knowledge of a band who might have made it – could have made it, should have made it, almost made it, had every da...

April 18, 2019

In December 2015 I slithered back home over snowy Canadian roads from an unnerving trip to my dentist. Unnerving not because of anything that he did to my teeth, but because when I arrived I saw him d...

March 30, 2019

Comes a time when all you thought was nothing after all. A day will bring you down to your knees. Time conveys our rivers of blood through God’s merry fair, riding on this tumbling ball of clay. And o...

March 5, 2019

We can consume our music around the clock and everywhere we go – we no longer have to find a jukebox when we’re on the move. We can hear it from our phone or laptop, or ask shops or bars to play our f...

February 25, 2019

So there I was, choogling to the iPod on the 9.44 from Lewes to Eastbourne, when the ebullient strains of XTC’s We’re All Light chirped up, reminding me of the most poignant email I have ever received...

February 16, 2019

It is doubtful Donald Trump has a playlist, and even if he has the name James McMurtry is unlikely to feature. The Texan troubadour recorded a song towards the end of the US president’s first year in...

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