Friday Tunes: Making Life Better with BBC 6 Music’s Matt Everitt
So the issue with doing this kind of thing is the implication that you will either, a) Attempt to appear as cool and contemporary as possible, b) Illustrate your knowledge of the furthest, duskiest corners of the rarest tracks on Spotify, or c) Chuck a load of ad-friendly songs up to attract prospective clients.
I’ve done none of those. Sorry. It’s just a selection of utterly magnificent tunes, at least half of which will make your life a better place if you’ve never heard ‘em, and if you know ‘em already, just enjoy.
NB: Matt has explained each of his song choices - check them out below the embedded playlist.
I’m A Man - Spencer Davies Group
It still utterly blows my mind that a group this goddamn soulful emerged from the ‘60s Birmingham rock scene (and I can say that, as I’m from Birmingham). A killer vocal, staggeringly kicking rhythm section and a Hammond organ line that Booker T would die for.
I Want More - Can
This track proves that Krautrock wasn't just about metronomic electronic sounding-beats and oddness. This swings.
Gotta Get Away – The Black Keys
I slightly hidden gem from their recent Turn Blue album. Kinda sounds like Status Quo (in the best possible way).
Thunder On The Mountain – Wanda Jackson
So Wanda has been a massive Country & Western legend for years and years, but it took Jack White to take her into the studio in 2011 to bring the best out of out her for the new millennium. And my God, does he. Jack produces and plays on this track which hurtles along the tracks like a freight train with broken brakes. A total barnstormer.
Train In Vain – The Clash
One of the greatest British bands of all time. I still have no idea what the title has to do with the sentiment of the lyrics (which is basically, “You f**ked off . Cheers for that” ) but it’s a total classic. Punk rock with a broken heart.
The Old Man’s Back Again (Dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist Regime) - Scott Walker
So Scott Walker is a genius. This much is fact. Another fact is this is probably the most pretentious song-title of all time. But when you have voice like Scott’s, a string arrangement this gorgeous and one of the greatest basslines ever, you can be as pretentious as you want.
Freefaling – Tom Petty
I make no apologies for this. I love Tom Petty. The man writes timeless songs and makes it look incredible easy. I think this is just three chords all the way through. Marvellous stuff.
Don’t You Pay Them No Mind – Nina Simone
You never need a reason to play Nina Simone.
Helden (Heroes) – David Bowie
There’s no way on earth I’m putting together a playlist without some Bowie on it. So Heroes is obviously one of his very finest moments, with a vocal performance that can bring tears to the eyes. But I ask you, “What’s better than the original version of Heroes?” Heroes sung in German. That’s what.
Don’t You Know – Jan Hammer
It must get on Jan Hammer’s nerves that so many people just know him as ‘That bloke who wrote Axl F from Beverly Hills Cop and the theme from Miami Vice’. As it is, he made some amazingly beautiful, sophisticated synthesizer music, which proved hugely influential on people like Daft Punk And this is some of it.
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
I Don’t Know Why I Love You – Stevie Wonder / The Rolling Stones
Something of an anomaly in Stevie’s back catalogue. Clearly, it’s a work of genius, let’s be frank, the man IS a genius. But the song structure is really unconventional, there’s no real chorus and it’s a pretty dark subject matter. All of which made it perfect for The Stones to cover with such style. Both versions are included here for comparison and admiration.
Into My Arms - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I don't think there has ever been a more perfect opening line to a love song than, "I don't believe in an interventionist God. But I know, darling, that you do. But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him, Not to intervene when it came to you."
Heard It Through The Grapevine - Creedence Clearwater Revival
It's faintly blasphemous, but I think I prefer this to the original. I know, I know. It’s also an incredible ten minutes long and the guitar solo NEVER STOPS.
Vince Guaraldi Trio - Linus And Lucy
A wonderful piece of jazz that you might recognise from the old Charlie Borwn cartoons. This was originally released in 1964 and still sounds as joyous as ever. Also (fact fans) it was played to the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour as wake-up music on their STS-123 mission in March 2008.
Lowdown - Boz Scaggs song
From 1976 and Boz Scaggs' Silk Degree album, which saw his career path move from old school rhythm and blue into a much more mainstream almost disco groove. Also a great wedding disco tune.
Pata Pata - Miriam Makeba
Just pure joy in musical and vocal form.
Repetition Kills You - The Black Ghosts
Sometimes bands just slip though the gaps behind the metaphorical sofas and never find their audience. This is a brilliant track from the UK electro duo featuring Damon Albarn on vocals no less. Should’ve got heard more. Hence it's inclusion here.
The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel
If you're not crying a little bit when you hear this song THEN YOU HAVE A HEART OF STONE.
Wicked Game - Chris Isaak
In Flight of the Conchords, the character Dave states that "Women like three things; Men in Kilts, Southern Comfort and Chris Isaak's Wicked Game." He may be being a tad simplistic, but he's definitely right about one of those things.
To Build a Home - The Cinematic Orchestra
If Simon and his Half Uncle didn't get you sobbing. This will.
Ooh La La - The Faces
"I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.”
Stay With Me - Lorraine Ellison
Could quite possibly be one of the greatest vocals ever committed to tape. Peerless.
Labour Of Love - Hue & Cry
This is NOT a guilty pleasure. This is a TUNE.
Matt Everitt is a presenter on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2, journalist, music consultant and producer. He has recently begun consulting for One More Music Company for their Licensing and Research department
Born just outside Birmingham to the sound of Slade's 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now’, which was number one at the time, Matt soon realised that a life surrounded by music was his calling.
During the mid '90s, he ended up drumming with Menswear and soon after they disbanded he joined London alternative station Xfm. Later in 2007 he began presenting 6 Music’s weekly magazine show ‘The Music Week’ and regularly appearing on shows alongside Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Zoë Ball, Ken Bruce and Jo Whiley.
In 2010 Matt devised, produced and presented a new series for 6 Music called The First Time. Now entering its sixth season, it centres on in-depth, exclusive and revealing interviews with major artists – including Quentin Tarantino, Bryan Wilson. Despite all this he still manages time to appear daily on BBC 6 Music’s Breakfast Show.
Follow him on Twitter @matteveritt.
Genre: Music & Sound Design