All Time Top 40

Every few years, I’m invited by some equally discerning (the contract stipulates use of that exact word) music listeners to put together what I consider to be my forty favourite songs. Once compiled, we convene at a suitable hostelry and argue about our choices.

There are no hard and fast rules. Some of us prefer not to have more than one song by an artist. Others choose to spread the love equally across the pop decades, for the record, the 1950s to now. All that’s asked is that we be true to ourselves.

Don’t sprinkle your list with diamonds just to elicit approval from your peers. The list is less about how good the choice is and more about why the choice means something to you. In this Summer of mellow Brexit bitterness and division, we chose again for the first time in nearly a decade. This was my list. If all my TDK120s were washed away and I could save only one, this, for now, would be it.


1The RonettesBe My Baby1963Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes featuring Veronica
2Joni MitchellBlue1971Blue
3James TaylorSomething In The Way She Moves1976Greatest Hits
4The BeatlesThere’s A Place1963Please Please Me
5Marillion The Great Escape1994Brave
6The Mamas and The PapasTwelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)1968The Papas and The Mamas
7Sam CookeA Change Is Going To Come1964Ain’t That Good News
8Chris WhitleyPoison Girl1991Living With The Law
9The Lilac TimeI Won’t Die For You1999Looking For A Day In the Night
10Richard HawleyFor Your Lover, Give Some Time2009Truelove’s Gutter
1110ccFeel The Benefit (Parts 1, 2 and 3)1977Deceptive Bends
12Tori AmosTear In Your Hand1991Little Earthquakes
13Prefab SproutGoodbye Lucille #11985Steve McQueen
14Crowded HouseInto Temptation1988Temple Of Low Men
15BathersSomething Precious Has Been Destroyed1999Pandemonia
16John MartynMay You Never1996May You Never - The Very Best of John Martyn
17Emerson, Lake & PalmerFrom The Beginning1972Trilogy
18Jackson BrowneLate For The Sky1974Late For The Sky
19Nick DrakeRiver Man1969Five Leaves Left
20The JayhawksSettled Down Like Rain1992Hollywood Town Hall
21Talk TalkApril 5th1986The Colour Of Spring
22The SundaysMonochrome1997Static & Silence
23WheatDon’t I Hold You1999Hope and Adams
24Buddy HollyRave On1958Buddy Holly
25Otis Redding and Carla ThomasTramp1967King & Queen
26The SmithsStop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before1987Strangeways, Here We Come
27Kate BushThis Woman’s Work1989The Sensual World
28Gemma HayesBack Of My Hand2002Night On My Side
29MandalayThis Life1998Empathy
30Shawn ColvinAnother Plane Went Down2001Whole New You
31Fountains Of WayneTroubled Times1999Utopia Parkway
32Don HenleyNew York Minute1989The End Of The Innocence
33The Blue NileThe Downtown Lights1989Hats
34ABBAThe Winner Takes It All1980Super Trouper
35King CurtisMemphis Soul Stew1971Live at Fillmore West
36Billy BraggWaiting For The Great Leap Forward1988Workers Playtime
37The PearlfishersCherry Sky1997The Strange Underworld Of The Tall Poppies
38The Innocence MissionGentle The Rain At Home2010My Room In The Trees
39Miracle MileMawkish Mule2004Stories We Could Tell
40Howlin’ WolfSmokestack Lightning1956Moanin’ In The Moonlight