His main character Rebus is a massive music fan but what does the author love? Van Morrison, The Beatles, Black Sabbath and the rest.
Off the top of my head. No rhyme or reason. Just a bunch of songs I could happily live with and which maybe meant something to me at some time in my life.
1. Soul Train - Swansway
This is just so darned catchy. I like a good cello riff.
2. German Film Star - The Passions
Loved this from the first time I heard it. An underrated band. Dream-fuelled stuff.
3. Silver Machine – Hawkwind
Probably want this played at my funeral. One of the first singles I ever bought, and I still play it.
4. Metropolis – Kraftwerk
This harks back to student bedsits and wishing it was the future.
5. Ankle Shackles – King Creosote
A bit more cello here. Knockout recent song from KC.
6. Cloudbusting – Kate Bush
Oh, go on then, another cello if you must. Hypnotic.
7. United – Throbbing Gristle
The mellow sound of TG. A real winner.
8. Next – Alex Harvey
This song counted as sex education when I was 14. Version on OGWT knocked me out of my chair.
9. Solid Air – John Martyn
If you need just one toke-heavy song about Nick Drake…
10. Snow in San Anselmo – Van Morrison
When I thought I was going off my nut on a beach in Scarborough, this reeled me in.
11. Step Right Up - Tom Waits
A song so brilliant, I wrote a story about it.
12. Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones
Just the perfect soundtrack to its times.
13. The Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young
Mostly for the live version he did on MTV’s Unplugged.
14. Death Is Not The End – Nick Cave
A song so good I named a novella after it. Then found out it was actually written by Dylan.
15. Dancing Barefoot – Patti Smith
A rare hit single for Ms Smith.
16. Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Made me wish I’d done better at French in school, so I could be as cool as my fellow Scot, David Byrne.
17. Atmosphere – Joy Division
I had a ticket to see them play Edinburgh. Then Ian Curtis killed himself and left this song behind.
18. I Travel – Simple Minds
Local heroes caught just prior to stadium success.
19. Exit Wounds – Jackie Leven
Troubadour and Celtic spirit. RIP Jackie.
20. A Case of Vinyl – Tim Burgess
Lovely stuff, with added crackle, from an ace solo album.
21. Tinseltown – Blue Nile
A love song to Glasgow, expansive and knowing.
22. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Laying Syd’s ghost to rest.
23. Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot
A great voice and telling lyricist, so underrated.
24. Heroes – David Bowie
Because I heard the story from Tony Visconti’s own mouth.
25. Perfect Day – Lou Reed
If you’ve ever had one, this captures how you probably felt.
26. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
Shows their debt to George Martin but also a wondrous piece of storytelling.
27. 5:15 – The Who
Standout few minutes from my favourite album of theirs.
28. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Heavy metal’s national anthem.
29. A Forest – The Cure
Soundtrack to a film you wish you’d seen.
30. Metal Guru – T Rex
It was always T Rex for me rather than Slade. Played this to death when I bought it.
31. Le Freak – Chic
Disco grabbed me for a short time in my school teens. Might still dance to this.
32. I Feel Love – Donna Summer
Oh, all right, I’d dance to this one, too…
33. Green Onions – Booker T
He was how old when he wrote it? At that age, I was still reading Commando comics.
34. Wipe Out – Surfaris
My sister had an album of rock n roll songs, this was the one I loved.
35. Miserlou – Dick Dale
Another great guitar instrumental.
36. Live and Let Die – Wings
Operatic and a rare, great James Bond theme.
37. The Saints Are Coming – The Skids
My local punk band; bounced around to this on many an occasion.
38. Connection – Montrose
Great cover of a not-great Stones song.
39. In A Broken Dream – Python Lee Jackson
Some of Rod Stewart’s finest work.
40. In A Broken Dream – Kathryn Williams
Lovely version, redefines the song.
41. Everybody’s Talking – Harry Nilsson
I love his voice and love the film (Midnight Cowboy).
42. Theme from The Persuaders – John Barry
Loved the TV show as a kid; terrific theme tune, too.
43. Willow’s Song – Isobel Campbell
Breathtaking arrangement of song from The Wicker Man.
44. The Ace of Spades – Motörhead
Lemmy at full-throttle. Bracing.
45. Dreamer – Supertramp
From criminally under-rated Crime of the Century album.
46. The Dog, The Dog, He’s At It Again – Caravan
Pervy prog sugar-coated and sweet.
47. All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople
So much better than Bowie’s original.
48. Medicine Show – BAD
Paving the way for Gorillaz.
49. No Time – The Saints
Garage doesn’t get more furious than this.
50. The Copper Top – Aidan Moffat/Bill Wells
Unutterably moving and humane blast against old mortality.