I’m more than a little late to the party with this Desert Island Discs blog meme. The lovely Zaz over at Mama and More tagged me way back in February, after she posted her beautiful compilation.
Zaz described putting her desert island mix tape together as an agonising process, and she wasn’t wrong. How do you narrow down a lifetime of music into a playlist of just eight songs?
In keeping with the original Radio 4 series of Desert Island Discs, we’re also allowed to choose a book, a luxury item and either a religious tome or the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
I’ll take Shakey for company along with Riders by Jilly Cooper, the perfect beach read.
For my luxury item, I’ll bring an iPad, to keep me connected to the world beyond (also I can cheat and download more books via the Kindle app).
And now for my Desert Island Discs…
My Desert Island Discs
1. Prince – Adore
We have to kick off with His Royal Badness. It’s almost impossible to choose from his back catalogue, but I’ll go with this spine-tingling love song off Sign of the Times. It captures Prince’s incredible range, soulfulness and sense of fun (‘you could smash up my ride… well, maybe not the ride baby’). One of my all-time faves!
2. Diana Ross – Upside Down
I have fond memories of grooving to this LP in the ‘grown-ups living room’ back in Enugu, Nigeria. Diana Ross was the epitome of glamour to us and this was the first song I claimed as ‘my own’. I even had a special dance (it involved a lot of bending my head down and spinning around in tune with the lyrics). The song was composed by the incredible Nile Rogers of Chic, who I was thrilled to run into at Camp Bestival. This live clip features Michael Jackson joining Diana on stage!
3. Billie Holiday – Fine and Mellow
My dad was a jazz fan and it was through raiding his collections that I got to know Lady Day. She has one of those voices that take you deep inside a song, sometimes to a dark place but often with humour. She has been painted as a victim but I’ve always heard strength in her music. Billie was a gifted storyteller who, like many great artists, lived life at the edge.
4. Soul II Soul – Back to Life
London, summer of ’89, Soul II Soul blasting out of every shop, car stereo and club. Every day felt like dancing on air – or on Caron Wheeler’s soaring vocals to be precise. I challenge anyone not to get up and groove to this tune, although I might be even crazier about the a capella version (when that beat drops)!
5. Outkast – Behold a Lady
When Outkast released the double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below, it was Andre 3000 that bowled us over. ‘Hey Ya’ was the standout but Abiye always said the lyrics to Behold a Lady made him think of me. ‘You’re not extra extra, you’re so plain Jane/The yin to my yang, darlin’/You’ve got that thang and you know it/But yet you don’t and that’s what’s so cool’.
6. Starchaser feat Steve Edwards – Falling Star (Original Vox Mix)
One for moonlit evenings, reminiscing about the mister. Falling Star is ‘our song’, a simple and beautiful house track that always puts me in a blissful mood. ‘In the midnight sky I see your light a million miles away/I have never seen a brighter star than you.’
7. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock you Out
I wouldn’t pick LL Cool J as the greatest rapper (that goes to Notorious BIG) but this is in my Top 10 tunes. I LOVE the video, just LL and a mic in a ring, showing off his flow. Confident enough to perform without any big booty hoes or entourage crowding up the scene. This is a pure ‘fire in your blood’ anthem that took on extra significance for me after I became a mum. I used to wake the babes up to this track!
8. Madonna – Holiday
And finally, Madonna. What would my playlist be without her? I’ve chosen a song that hardly needs any intro, not just because it’s a dancefloor classic but because it’s perfect for cheering you up on a deserted island!