Gill & I were asked to come up with a 20 song playlist the other day. Here it is. It’s hard to put the music you love into a bag. Today’s list won’t be the same as tomorrow’s. But today, and every day, there is Jimi Hendrix , all time greatest guitarist , taking us to a place beyond language, where every note, chord, squawk and feedback squeal meant something urgent, existential, real . An artist whose take on the US national anthem leaves no doubt that this product of an instant - the pure beautiful sound of metal strings vibrating in a magnetic field- means No! to the Vietnam war ( and by extension all unjust wars ) and racism and oppression and Yes! to beauty and freedom and the possibility of justice.
Here are artists who carve words into sparkling mountains of and wit and insight; Joni Mitchell’s morose beat memoire with its eccentric phrasing and vocal swoops ; Robert Johnson, buddy of Beezelbub , who slept with every woman he minded to and whose music, the fount of all rock and roll, travelled by freight train from the Delta to Chicago to be electrified by Muddy so that middle class Brit white boys like the Stones could invent their louche wall of doped out devilry. And Bob , on a highway , too, who inspired me with this song, aged 11, to want do something with my life that wasn’t straight or square or boring. A song of pure genius funny, clever and sour as a lemon squeeze.
Pop is a wonderful thing : Kylie’s superb piece of brainwashed dancerama, Marvin’s Gaye’s joyous masterpiece, I-Roy’s brilliant cover of the schmaltzy classic and the Beach Boy’s classic confection of rehab miserabilism .
And music now is so good. Hail The Stripes & I Heart Hiroshima & MC5’s mutant grandchildren, The Hives! Kick out the jams and enjoy!
1. Voodoo Chile ( slight Return ) Jimi Hendrix
2. The last time I saw Richard Joni Mitchell
3. DVNO - Justice
4. Back in Black - AC/DC
5. One nation Under a Groove - Funkadelic
6. Death from Above- Smashing Pumpkins
7. Hate to say I told you so - The Hives
8. Highway 61 revisited - Bob Dylan
9. Ain't No Mountain High enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
10. Cross road Blues - Robert Johnson
11. Work it - missy Elliot
12. Sympathy for the devil - stones
13. Star spangled banner - jimi
14. Honey bee - muddy waters
15. First cut is the deepest - I ROY
16. If You See Her, Say Hello - bob D
17. Surf’s up - beach boys
18. 7 nation army - stripes
19. sisters - I heart hiroshima
20. Kylie - can’t get you out of my head