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Ian Rankin: 10 Crime Novels I Love


Ian Rankin: 50 Songs
I Love

by Ian Rankin
12 April 2013 7 Comments

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.


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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.



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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.

If you like it, Pass it on

image descriptionCOMMENTS

Allmodcons1965 1:45 pm, 14-Dec-2012

Not only a top writer,also knows his music some absolute gems on there,nice one Ian.

david cheeney 1:48 am, 5-Jan-2013

great writer, great taste in music. A few tracks that I haven't heard, but will definitely investigate!

Kevin pollard 9:17 pm, 12-Apr-2013

Thought bowie "gave"them (mot the hopple)the song when he heard they were going to break up

Graham Ward 1:44 am, 13-Apr-2013

Great selection - might have to do an iTunes playlist. But no Mogwai, Delgados or Arab Strap?

Alan Bevan 9:41 am, 13-Apr-2013

Absolutely uncanny , this could easily be my top 50. I'd guess lots of people would have some of these, but to find someone else with the same wide range of tracks in their collection makes me feel a little less strange.

Stan Dalglish 8:36 am, 14-Apr-2013

Anyone who has the Passions in the list and references The Wicker Man is boss in my book.

Drew 12:18 am, 24-Apr-2013

Good to see someone else who thinks Crime of the Century is criminally under-rated.

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