• My Top 10 John Lennon Songs

    7 déc. 2008, 16h56m

    As it's almost the 28th anniversary of John Lennon's death and I've been listening to his music a lot this week (even more than usual, that is) I thought it would be a good time to post my top 10 favourite John Lennon solo songs. So here they are, counting down from #10 to #1.

    10. (Just Like) Starting Over

    This was the perfect song to open the Double Fantasy album and mark the beginning of his comeback in 1980. I love the vocals and the 50s feel, though it always make me feel sad to hear him sounding so positive about the future considering what would happen just a few months later.

    9. Oh Yoko!

    Until a few months ago this song would never have made it into my top 10 but I recently 'rediscovered' it and now it's one of my favourites. A simple love song about John's feelings for Yoko, it has a very catchy and uplifting melody. The harmonica is great too.

    8. Instant Karma

    Instant Karma was recorded the same day it was written, and then released as a single only 10 days later. "Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear." This is one of John's most powerful and memorable singles and I've always loved it.

    7. Watching the Wheels

    In this great song from Double Fantasy, John answers his critics by defending his decision to take a few years out of the music business.

    "When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
    Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball"

    6. Nobody Loves You (When You're Down and Out)

    I just wish more people loved this song as much as I do as I think it's very underrated. It's quite a melancholy and introspective song which tells us about his state of mind at the time when he wrote it: "Nobody loves you when you're down and out, nobody knows you when you're on cloud nine; Everybody's hustling for a buck and a dime, I'll scratch your back and you knife mine".

    5. Woman

    Woman is a lovely romantic ballad which was written for Yoko though John said it could apply to all women across the world. This is another song I never used to rate very highly but I've completely changed my opinion of it in recent years.

    4. Oh My Love

    Oh My Love is an absolutely beautiful ballad with a delicate and haunting melody. I can't describe how gorgeous this song is. Along with Love (see #2 below), it's one of the greatest love songs I've ever heard.

    3. Imagine

    This song deserves its reputation as one of the greatest songs ever, even though it's not #1 on my list. In Imagine, John describes his vision of a perfect world - a world without religion, countries, or any other reasons for war. Critics are always quick to point out the irony of a millionaire singing 'imagine no possessions' - well, in my opinion the whole point of the song is that he is talking about an imaginary world...he's not trying to tell us what we should and should not do, he's simply asking us to imagine what it would be like.

    2. Love

    I love every song on the Plastic Ono Band album, but this one is the highlight of the album for me. It's one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. The magic of the song lies in its simplicity: simple lyrics and melody, which combine to form a stunningly gorgeous ballad. "Love is real, real is love, Love is feeling, feeling love, Love is wanting to be loved" - what more do you really need to say in a love song? Every time I hear this song I have to stop whatever else I'm doing and give it my full attention - it's just so incredibly beautiful and moving.

    1. Jealous Guy

    The rest of my top 10 changes from time to time, but this is my all-time favourite John Lennon song. It's another of his deeply personal and confessional songs, in which he apologises for his possessiveness and insecurity. "I didn't mean to hurt you, I'm sorry that I made you cry; Oh no, I didn't want to hurt you, I'm just a jealous guy." Musically, the song is based on Child Of Nature, a song John had written in India in 1968 and had intended for inclusion on the Beatles' White Album. However, Child Of Nature never made it onto the album but was later rewritten with new lyrics as Jealous Guy. Whenever I hear this song I can literally close my eyes and just lose myself in it.

    Of course there are lots of other songs I would like to have included in this list - some that narrowly missed out on a place in my top 10 included Isolation, God, Gimme Some Truth, #9 Dream, Mother and Grow Old With Me.
  • My top albums of the 60s and 70s.

    2 mars 2008, 18h36m

    As you can probably tell from a quick glance at my charts, most of the music I listen to is from the 1960s and 1970s. Here are some of my favourite albums from those decades. I have tried not to choose more than two or three from the same artist. If you haven't heard any of them I recommend you check them out soon!

    The Beatles - Revolver
    I love all the Beatles albums, but this is one of my favourites. There's not a bad track on this album - it's just brilliant from start to finish.
    Listen: Tomorrow Never Knows

    The Kinks - The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
    The most striking thing about this album is the 'Englishness', with almost every track dealing with the subject of memories, nostalgia and aspects of English life. There are some very catchy melodies on this album that you won't be able to get out of your head!
    Listen: Village Green

    The Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons
    This may seem a surprising choice as it's certainly not the Stones' most popular album. However, I think it really shows their diversity, with some typical rockers, beautiful ballads, fun music hall-style tunes and great psychedelic pop songs.
    Listen: Yesterday's Papers

    George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
    My favourite George Harrison album (in fact, one of my favourite albums by any solo Beatle). Apart from possibly the 'Apple Jam' tracks at the end, there's not a single song on this album that I don't love!
    Listen: Beware of Darkness

    Cream - Disraeli Gears
    There are one or two tracks that I don't like much but in general this is an excellent album with some really outstanding songs.
    Listen: Tales of Brave Ulysses

    The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle
    I heard this album for the first time last year and I just wish I had discovered it earlier! This is one of the few albums by any band other than the Beatles or the Kinks where I love every single track. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes melodic, psychedelic 60s pop music.
    Listen: Brief Candles

    Paul McCartney & Wings - Red Rose Speedway
    This is probably my favourite album that Paul released with Wings. I think Band On The Run is probably better but I just find myself listening to Red Rose Speedway more often.
    Listen: Little Lamb Dragonfly (1993 Digital Remaster)

    The Kinks - Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
    Another great late 60s Kinks album. Not quite as good as Village Green in my opinion, but a very close second.
    Listen: Victoria

    The Doors - The Doors
    Surely one of the greatest debut albums of all time and one of the best albums of 1967, which is saying something when you consider all the other great music from that year. I was blown away the first time I heard it and I still love it now.
    Listen: The Crystal Ship

    Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
    Much better than Paul's first solo album in my opinion and it's probably my favourite of any of his albums both with or without Wings.
    Listen: No previews available

    John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band
    A truly fantastic album. Not always easy to listen to as it's so emotional – I have to be in the right mood – but there are some absolutely brilliant tracks here.
    Listen: Love

    Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
    There are some absolute classics of the psychedelic era on this album, a few other great songs, and only a couple that I don't like much at all. If you're just getting into Jefferson Airplane's music, I recommend you start with this album.
    Listen: White Rabbit

    Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
    Okay, I know Dark Side Of The Moon is everyone else's favourite Pink Floyd album, considered to be their masterpiece etc, but if like me you prefer the earlier Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd then this is an amazing album. There are maybe two or three tracks on the album that I find difficult to listen to, but the rest are uniquely brilliant.
    Listen: Matilda Mother

    The Doors - Strange Days
    All of the Doors albums are also worth listening to, but apart from The Doors, this is the only other one I'm going to include here. Strange Days was their second album and has a darker mood than the first one. It's almost as good, but there are a couple of weaker songs towards the end.
    Listen: People Are Strange

    The Beatles - Rubber Soul
    Almost a perfect album. The only track I don't like much is What Goes On, but I love every other song on the album. Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album I ever heard so has always been special to me.
    Listen: Nowhere Man

    The Who - The Who Sell Out
    I think this is my favourite album by The Who. I don't really like the concept of making it sound like a radio show, but there are lots of great songs throughout the whole album.
    Listen: Armenia City in the Sky

    The Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
    I love this album. The first half consists of six fantastic, catchy songs. The remaining six tracks tell the story of Happiness Stan who is on a quest to find the other half of the moon. Stanley Unwin's narration between the tracks can be slightly annoying but the songs themselves are great.
    Listen: Rene

    John Lennon - Imagine
    I can never decide whether I like this or Plastic Ono Band the best - they are both amazing albums. Imagine includes lots of my favourite John Lennon songs including the title track, Jealous Guy and Oh My Love.
    Listen: Jealous Guy

    The Beatles - The Beatles
    The White Album is another of my favourite Beatles albums, because it contains such a variety of different styles of music. There are also twice as many songs as on any other Beatles album!
    Listen: I'm So Tired

    The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
    I remember feeling disappointed when I first heard this album after constantly reading how great it was. I already knew God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice and Sloop John B, but it took me a lot longer to appreciate the other tracks. There are lots of beautiful songs on the album, so if like me you didn't like it much the first time you listened, I recommend you give it another chance.
    Listen: You Still Believe in Me

    Ringo Starr - Ringo
    I've included some John, Paul and George albums, so it's only fair to include an album by Ringo too! This one is probably his best, thought I do love Goodnight Vienna too. All three of the other Beatles contributed to the album and there are lots of great, catchy pop songs here. If you've never bought any Ringo albums before, I suggest you start with this one.
    Listen: Oh My My

    There are lots of other albums I like, but I have to stop somewhere!