My Seven Songs

Everybody has a soundtrack
  1. 1.
    Starman by David Bowie
    I am one of those people who saw David Bowie on Top of the Pops in 1972, dressed in spandex and mascara, draped over Mick Ronson, singing “ Sta-a-a-a-r - Ma-a-a-a-n” and laughing into the camera. He knew he was brilliant and beautiful. I thought, “Why don’t I ever feel like that?” and I bought every record he ever made. https://youtu.be/4B5zmDz4vR4
  2. 2.
    Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin
    Nobody played defiant, swaggering rock music like Jimmy Page. Zeppelin’s albums were glowing talismans of bravado and sex and Zoso was scrawled on my schoolbag. As I searched for (and failed to find) the glory of youth, Plant’s demented caterwauling and Page’s guitar army provided a soundtrack to my angsty teenage struggles. https://youtu.be/QelV0hx4i8c
  3. 3.
    Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne
    I lay in the dark at 3:00am, looking at the ceiling many times towards the end of my marriage. My wife was probably doing the same. This song captures the very essence of the crushing loneliness, self-inflicted or otherwise, of two people who can’t see each other anymore. https://youtu.be/Hh6pYv3b0d4
  4. 4.
    Coney Island by Van Morrison
    Ex-pats get homesick. Driving to work in downtown Toronto, Van came on the radio with his absurd Belfast accent, mumbling about Coney Island against a backdrop of gorgeous cascading strings. The fact that I had never heard of the place didn’t matter - I wanted to be there so badly, I pulled over and cried. https://youtu.be/mn2CeHlKrTw
  5. 5.
    Closest Thing to Crazy by Katie Melua
    Katie Melua has a fabulous voice, but she has never found the songs to fufil her potential. This one is not particularly special except that there is a line in it, “feeling twenty-two, acting seventeen” which is a pretty good description of middle-aged infatuation. Luckily, that craziness turned into love. I had assumed that was impossible. https://youtu.be/WZQ5RJ6HGYI
  6. 6.
    Sadly Beautiful by The Replacements
    Daughter Rachael is the most wonderful human being but so like me in so many ways, you have to feel for her. She deserves happiness but it always seems to be hard-won. “Sadly Beautiful” could have been written for her. https://youtu.be/FKg0mNuWBp4
  7. 7.
    Sara by Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan is a poet but even his most diehard of admirers must hesitate when they hear the rhyming of “kelp” with “help”. Anyway, it makes me think of my other favourite daughter, five years old, trying to follow her big sister up the sand dunes, never looking back. https://youtu.be/GIo_FKk_3J4