Huey Morgan: The Six Songs That Changed My Life

The Fun Lovin' Criminals front-man and 6Music DJ runs through six songs that made the star the man he is today...
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The Fun Lovin' Criminals front-man and 6Music DJ runs through six songs that made the star the man he is today...

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I have always believed that music cures the soul, I've been cured many times, lots of other folk turn to music in times of need or pain. For me, it's hard to just give you, dear reader, six songs that have changed my life. So, with respect to the editor, I'm gonna switch it up just a little and tell you about six instances in my life where a song has been there for me.

I guess the beginning is a good start. I was a student at junior high school, so about 12. It was a school assembly and by chance I was seated in the front row, there was a band about to play and I was sat right in front of a guitar amp. This is important to me because when the kid started playing, the song, the riff; it made me want to become a musician, specifically a guitar player. That song was, 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' by the Rolling Stones and I can still feel the feeling of empowerment that sound created. And I still listen to it like I was when I was a kid. And it still makes the hair on my body stand on end when I hear it.

The next time I can remember it was a song on one of my favourite albums, 'Rumours' that helped me, as a teenager, albeit, a heartbroken one, 'Go Your Own Way'. We all know the crazy circumstances the band were in when they wrote and recorded it and in some way that transcended it's jumbled emotion to me and helped me through a tough time.

When in Rome, that's the saying, right? Well, when I was a Marine I was stationed in the southern part of the United States. That's where my love for country and western music began. It was most likely that if you went to a bar, you would hear C/W music. Just like all genres of music, there is good and bad. Lucky for me, one of my bro's had an old cassette tape he carried with him and on it was a mix that his girl had made for him if he ever got homesick. It was all old stuff that he grew up on in Georgia, Willie and Hank ‘Got me thinkin', and then I heard 'Momma Tried' by Waylon Jennings and on the f##king spot I was converted. Amazing if you think that a year previous this guy here is going to Hip Hop street parties in Queens and Brooklyn, but that was the connection for me, words. The music is almost diametrically opposed, but they were words that told stories you identify with.

It was a school assembly and by chance I was seated in the front row, there was a band about to play and I was sat right in front of a guitar amp

As time passed and I went back to New York City, I found guitars and Hip Hop were being used together.

The Beastie Boys, without doubt, were a major influence on Fun Lovin' Criminals, and the song I remember changing my perspective on the future of good music was 'No Sleep Till Brooklyn'. Just a banging jam with solid M.C. skills and the legendary producer, Rick Rubin on rhythm guitar and Slayer's Kerry King on some wild shit solo guitar. It made me laugh and feel good about the future of 'progressive eclectic' music. Go and play that after you finish this and you will smile.

When bands are on the road, it's a free for all on the bus stereo. And ours was kinda different because we all like different stuff. I remember early on, on our first FLC trip to L.A. we had a big van for the gear; it had a tape deck and no CD player. So we go to Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard and mooch around. After about an hour we meet up at the cashier and we got maybe two cassettes each. I know you can't read a book by its cover, but I had found a compilation called Latin Oldies, Vol 2. and the cover was an illustration of an Aztec warrior on a mountain top, sword raised in triumph and a scantily clad woman draped over him. How you gonna resist that? Please.

On that comp was a great collection of music, still got it, primarily from the West Coast and Mexico. And the song that made me pull the van over and look at the cassette deck for 3 and half minutes was, 'The Town That I Live In', by McKinley Mitchell. His voice was like nothing I'd ever heard, a soul style with an almost desperate wail. I play it once in a while on my radio shows and it still moves me deeply.

This has been fun for me to think back and reminisce about these songs; some bring tears of sadness and some tears of joy at all the great friends I shared these moments with. And now that I'm a daddy, when music is played in my home there are another pair of ears to hear and feel. Early on my wife and I decided to play music that we loved and noticed what our son would enjoy, and believe it or not, my kid loves Thelonious Monk.

I have a playlist on my iPod that has all of his known recordings on it and I set it to shuffle and whenever, 'Blue Monk' comes on, my son looks at the speakers... Just like I did all those years ago.


Huey and the New Yorkers' new album Say It To My Face is relased on the 29th October.

Check out the band here www.hueyandthenewyorkers.com

Follow him on Twitter- @hueymorgan

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