Here’s more from my own darling husband and music connoisseur, dear friends – his Top Ten British songs!
Roberta is really getting me enthusiastic over these music lists. So here’s my list of ten favourite British-made records. Since I’ve only just sent out the previous list I’ve left out Dusty’s “Going Back” and the Beatles “In My Life” which would otherwise certainly have been included.
This time we’ll do it chronologically.
1) I’ve lived in London for over fifty years so I’m a bit of a sucker for old London songs. Here’s a splendid rousing version of “The Lambeth Walk”. It’s from the musical “Me and My Girl” from 1937.
The Lambeth Walk
2) Here’s another paean to that wonderful place called London Town. Rather different but beautifully produced and sung. London Pride is also a rather good beer. We’re now in 1941.
London Pride: Noel Coward
3) After the War jazz and blues grew in popularity in London clubs like Ronnie Scott’s. This one from 1956, from dear Humphrey Lyttleton (Eton and the voice of BBC jazz for so long) is a stonker. It was produced by Joe Meek, then unknown but a famous pop producer of the 1960s with a distinctive sound. Humph didn’t take to his methods at first, but I hope he got to love this over the years.
Bad Penny Blues: Humphrey Lyttleton
4) Even though as I said I’m leaving out that superb Dusty song from the 60s she’s not quite out of the picture. Here she is as part of the Springfields in 1962. Love this sound.
Island of Dreams: The Springfields
5) Nor are the Beatles (out of the picture). This is early stuff from around 1963, never to my recollection released as a single. Chunky and meaty- great record.
I Saw Her Standing There: The Beatles
6) Many other 60s bands came after the Beatles who were the first and most people would say the best. Certainly no-one could outdo them at pop. But for a harder edgier sound there were other bands that should not be forgotten. And the strongest voice of all was probably Eric Burdon’s. This is from 1965.
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place: The Animals
7) Let’s jump forward to 1977 when the music was changing again. Here is Noel Coward’s real successor. Two of Britain’s true greats in penning a song. Great narrators, great storytellers, lovers of the music hall. I give you the one and only….. Ian Dury.
Billericay Dickie: Ian Dury
8) Stiff Records were very influential around this time. Dury was connected and I remember buying a compilation album, and tucked away down at the bottom was a single called “England’s Glory” sung by wonderful old music hall comic Max Wall (who was also a great favourite of Sam Becket and made a wonderful Krapp once at Greenwich Theatre) but written by Ian. You can tell from the lists in the song. Max just gets excluded but here’s a half-forgotten Stiff protégé, the excellent Jona Lewie, from 1979 this one.
The Swan: Jona Lewie
9) They’re coming hard and fast at the moment. One year on The Clash, arguably Britain’s premier punk band, brought out their triple album Sandinista. They always had an ear for black music, and included on the album was this really good ska version of the old Southern States RnB staple. .
The Clash: Junco Partner
10) An outlier from 1998 from a time when I rarely listened to contemporary pop music. But this was played everywhere at the time, and it is a magnificent pop song. And it is a rather fitting song to end this list with, is it not.
The Beautiful South: Perfect Ten
By Ian Craine