Ken Bruce Presents Tracks of My Years

September 03, 2017

Driving my trusty old black Ford Fiesta to university in time for an 11.00 am lecture, I would tune in to Ken Bruce’s radio show on Radio 2 to indulge in the ‘Tracks of my years’ segment. Other than that, I don’t care much for his show (maybe Pop Master if I’m feeling musically savvy) yet I really enjoyed listening to how music has shaped people’s lives. Here, I write about the music that has shaped mine…

First song I remember hearing- The Ramones, ‘Baby I Love You’

It’s not quite the original version, but I remember falling asleep to the sound of my Mum singing this soft-punk tune. Originally a Motown classic, unexpectedly, The Ramones took this song and put their own fantastic spin on it and I adore it. It wasn’t until hearing it on the radio a few years back that I remembered how I knew all the words and a smile grew across my face. I love that my Mum shunned rocking me to sleep to the words of classic lullabies and opted instead to soothe me with the words of Deedee and the gang. It always makes me smile when I listen to the lyrics and reminds me of my Mum’s wonderfully alternative attitude to life.

The song I wish I’d written- Don McLean, ‘American Pie’

I could listen to this song all day every day. An eight-and-a-half-minute history lesson, ample with literary delights and a catchy chorus, this song really makes me think of a time when life was chirpier for people- the good old days and it mourns the passing of an era. The lyrics are so thought provoking, “when Lenin read a book on Marx…” John Lennon or Vladmir, the communist revolutionary? I suppose it could be either and the ambiguity fascinates me. My parents used to play this around the house, and I remember singing it in the bathroom at school with a friend aged 5, so it’s been in my life for a long time. I was obsessed and I still am. In fact, writing this, I’m reminded of Don McLean’s ‘Vincent’ and wish I’d written that too. Both songs are just so so beautiful, inspiring and meaningful.

The best concert I’ve been to- Jake Bugg, 2015/ Vengaboys 2016

This is such a difficult one- my favourite was when I went to see the Vengaboys last summer at a throwback festival with my sister and some friends. We made a conga-line of the Vengabus when they sang ‘We like to Party!’. I’ll never forget looking back and seeing around 200 people linking behind us, conga-ing to an 90s guilty pleasure. However, I know the Vengaboys is hardly a credible gig, so aside from them, my favourite concert was Jake Bugg, when I saw him in Nottingham. His vocals were absolutely incredible and the show wasn’t in your face; just him, a guitar and his band. I thought it was so great, that I saw him twice on that particular tour.

The song that makes me happy- Neil Diamond, ‘Sweet Caroline’

Sweet Caroline is probably the sound track to every holiday car journey we ever made when I was a child. I remember my Mum used to have a tape with this song on and my siblings and I would all join in on the chorus in the back of our apple-red Ford Escort, arms in the air. To this day, we still listen to this song on a car journey (even though we don’t travel together anymore) and reminisce about the good old days. In fact, my sister requested it recently on Simon Mayo’s Drive Time and he played it! You can guarantee that you’ll hear this at any Till family party.

The song that makes me want to dance- The Black Keys, ‘Lonely Boy’

I didn’t even have to think twice about this one- it’s one of those songs that has you dancing without even realising. Despite being released in 2011, I first heard this song on my ERASMUS year in Spain, 2016 and fell in love with it; it soon became our Saturday night anthem. Many a time have my boyfriend and I danced ‘The Carlton’ to this round our bedroom. It’s a callous song and the lyrics bear little meaning for me but oh, that rhythm… (love-eyes emoji)

Karaoke songs- Elvis ‘Suspicious Minds’, Dolly Parton ‘Islands in the Stream’

I’ve never been one to shy away from the lime-light so it probably comes as no surprise that I adore karaoke. My parents bought my older sister and I a karaoke machine for Christmas when we were younger and it’s probably my favourite present ever. We’d duet Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds” and swing our microphones like The King himself. Another one you’d hear us shrieking from upstairs was “Underneath Your Clothes” by Shakira (I genuinely convinced myself at one point that I was going to apply for “Stars in Their Eyes Kids” and perform that). But anyway, as technology developed, Singstar soon became our karaoke machine of choice and here’s where it gets super interesting… This is where we realised I can do a bad-ass tribute to Dolly Parton (my older sister is still insanely jealous of this, right, Beth?). So anyway, ‘Islands in the Stream”, “9-5” “Jolene”… you name it and I’m on it. You never know- if this writing career doesn’t take off, then I’m off to the rodeo.

Song that reminds me of home- The Stone Roses, ‘She Bangs the Drums’

Again, another song that turned into an anthem for my family and I. When I first turned eighteen (and until the pub got a bit shit), my siblings, friends and I would go to this place in Derby called ‘The Blessington Carriage’ at the end of a Saturday night and request this from the DJ. We’d chant our hearts out and dance in our drunken stupor. It’s a song I can sing with my Mum around the house too (after-all, she was the one who introduced me to The Stone Roses). Because I live away from home so much, sometimes I put this gem on Spotify to remember a time of physical unity and the memories I share with my siblings.

Least favourite song- Corinne Bailey Ray, ‘Put Your Records On’

I wouldn’t say that there’s a certain genre of music that I absolutely hate, rather a few songs here and there that I really cant stand. One example of this would be Corinne Bailey Ray’s “Put Your Records On”. I don’t know why, but I’ve never liked it since it’s first release; I skip it every time it appears on a Spotify playlist. I just find it so boring and dull. I wouldn’t particularly say I have a least favourite song, but it’s up there with my dislikes. (Along with Kate Nash’s ‘Foundations’ and anything Enter Shakiri.)

Ultimate desert island disc- Pink Floyd, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’

I only heard this album a few years ago and I fell in love upon first listen. The way the songs can play into one another and it sound like one extended piece is marvellous, yet each song is so different. Whenever I feel stressed or pent up, just listening to this album helps me to relax and understand my emotions better. When I listen, I’m at one with myself and it allows me time to really relax- I suppose my own kind of meditation. Brain Damage’s line ‘there’s someone in my head and it’s not me’ really resounded with me in recent months when I was suffering with depression and it made me realise that I’m not alone, and my feelings weren’t normal. I’d reference this line to people to explain how I felt. The album is a masterpiece and I don’t think I could ever bring myself to skip it on my playlist.

I’ve made a Spotify playlist which you can find here of all these tracks. Hope you enjoyed!
3 comments on "Ken Bruce Presents Tracks of My Years"
  1. The way you write is unbelievably beautiful. So descriptive. So perfect.

  2. Very disappointed to see that 'Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?' is not on the list! You are THE LEAD! THERE ARE NO TITLE SONGS!! :D

    1. Hahaha I am the star of the show! Look at me everyboddyyyy! Catch up soon, yeah girl? xx