Miles Hunt: 50 Songs I Love

From Strummer to the Pistols with plenty of variety and anecdotes in-between...
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From Strummer to the Pistols with plenty of variety and anecdotes in-between...

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01. The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon

This is probably my favourite single release of all time. Since it’s 1985 release I have listened to it at least once in every week. You could wake me up in the middle of the night, from the most well deserved sleep, to play me this and I would still thank you.

02. The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

This was released just as I was discovering the joys of Birmingham’s alternative club scene in the mid 80’s. It’s a coming of age song for me.

03. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Johnny Appleseed

I told Joe that his ‘Global A-Go-Go’ album was up there with any of his greatest work, probably surpassing even ‘London Calling’. Being as full of grace as the man was, he replied by telling me that it was all the work of the band.

04. Perry Farrell – Song Yet To Be Sung

I spent the summer of 2001 in New Jersey, in a haze of marijuana. I listened to this song in my subterranean dwelling constantly. It took me on journeys of the mind I never thought possible. Perry was lying next to me sharing his secrets and the choir hung above us in the smoke. Perfect moments that only music can provide. Oh, and a disgraceful amount of pot.

05. The Clash – City Of The Dead

Almost impossible to pick a favourite Clash track, but this one being tucked away on a B-side always feels like long lost treasure when I hear it again.

06. Frank Turner – Long Live The Queen

My brother Russ emailed me a link to the video for this song shortly after he saw Frank play at the Beautiful Days festival a couple of years ago. I sat at my kitchen table around 7:30 in the morning, laptop in front of me, a fag in one hand and a pint of coffee in the other and cried openly at its utter beauty. It doesn’t happen too often at my age, when you think all the important songs you’re ever likely to know have already been collected, but this one will stay with me forever.

07. Chuck Ragan – The Boat

On first hearing this I thought, hang on, that sounds like me playing the acoustic guitar. But when this guy’s mighty vocal performance kicked in I knew I was mistaken. The lyrics might not exactly be my kinda thing, but with a voice like this, who cares what he’s saying?! Yet more proof, were it ever needed, that it doesn’t always require a Marshall stack to totally rock out.

08. Damien Dempsey – It’s All Good

Damien is a mighty force, his shows on his own turf of Dublin are of biblical proportions. To stand in the middle of his audience at a hometown show is an incredibly emotional experience. Two thousand people all singing the final lyrics to this song will be something I shall never forget, ‘Love yourself today….’.

09. Sinead O’Connor – Take Off Your Shoes

This is from Sinead’s most recent album, ‘How About I Be Me And You Be You’. I had the pleasure of hearing it in the studio that it was recorded before it was released. It was like hearing music from the future.

10. Labelle – Isn’t It A Shame

There are some recorded performances that make me wonder how it must’ve felt to sit in the studio control room to hear what was happening through the other side of the glass partition. While Kevin Rowland recorded the improvised vocal during the ‘take it down boys’ section of Dexy’s ‘There, There My Dear’ for example, or any of John Lydon’s vocal performances on ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, moments of rare human endeavour that must’ve been almost impossible to bare. This is another of those tracks for me, Patti Labelle’s lead vocal is extraordinary for sure, but behind her Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Cindy Birdsong are tearing up a vocal hurricane. Had I have been lucky enough to have been in the studio with Labelle the day this was recorded, I would have been an emotional wreck.

11. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Inbetweenies

Was there ever a more perfect combination of The Blockheads and Ian? The band is effortlessly gliding through this elegant funk/soul/jazz blend and Ian is never failing to hold my attention with his genius wordplay.

12. Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards

Howard Devoto is my all time favourite lyricist, his book of collected lyrics ’It Only Looks As If It Hurts’ has accompanied me on all my travels since it’s publication. I even got him to sign it a couple of years back. Musically they came from a place that no other band could even hint at.

13. Elvis Costello – Alison

A beautiful vocal performance and lyrics to die for.

14. That Petrol Emotion – It’s A Good Thing

When we first started The Wonder Stuff, all we aspired to be was to be a decent second to this band.

15. The Tubes – White Punks On Dope

Punk Rock Musical Theatre was never likely to take the world by storm, just as well then that The Tubes covered the potential of the whole genre in this one song. “I’d go crazy but my folks are so fucking rich!”.

16. Faith No More – Anne’s Song

There ain’t a sound that Faith No More made that I didn’t like, but this one is just so uncharacteristically cute for them.

17. John Cooper Clarke – Beasley Street

I know it’s an obvious one of JCC’s to choose, but one night I was listening to this in the company of my old friend Clint Mansell and when the track was over Clint commented “Fuck me, I bet he wore a few pencils out writing that one!”. That line and the song will forever be connected for me.

18. Ian McNabb - You Must Be Prepared To Dream

I had an idea to print out the lyrics to this song and frame them, then hang them on the wall next to my daughter’s bed, but my ex was having none of it. Lyrically and musically there is such a beautiful and rare optimism in this song.

19. Jackson Browne – These Days

The saddest of all songs.

20. The Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas

I was lying on the floor of a van, hung over, travelling through the vastness of the American Midwest the first time I heard this song. It lifted me so high I felt like running alongside the van.

21. TRB – Winter of ‘79

A brilliant lyric and Danny Kustow’s guitar solos are just blindin’.

22. Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution

As a kid growing up in Birmingham in the late 70’s there was such a pride among my friends that this band came from just the other side of town to where we lived. And I still think that David Hinds is the UK’s greatest male vocalist.

23. Echo & The Bunnymen – All My Colours/Zimbo

As a teenager I was dead set on being a drummer in a band and my greatest drumming influence was Pete de Frietas of The Bunnymen. He approached the drums like no one else I had ever heard and his abilities allowed the songwriters of the band to hang a beautiful atmosphere around his beats, just like this.

24. David Bowie – Heroes

Because the song is perfect and he is the greatest rock’n’roll star of all time.

25. The Cure – Inbetween Days

They just make it sound so effortless, the lyrics run into each other with exactly the same ease as the chords. To be drunk on the dance floor of Camden Palace with my old friend Rob ‘The Bass Thing’ Jones in the late 1980’s was the greatest place in the world to be to hear this song.

26. The Jam – Funeral Pyre

The day this single was released a kid from our school threw a party at his parents house while they were away on holiday. We must have played it a hundred times that night and for that reason, much like the cigarette ends that were crushed into the parent’s carpet, it is burned into my brain forever. Seeing Rick Buckler, The Jam’s drummer, play this live was beyond inspirational. Weller & Foxton weren’t bad either.

27. Rickie Lee Jones – We Belong Together

I am melted every time I hear this. The story, the voice, the drum entry, it’s got it all.

28. Prince – Raspberry Beret

I can’t recall the amount of times I have turned to this song when I’m in need of little pop inspiration. And it works every time.

29. Hank Thompson – Six Days On The Road

I was introduced to a cassette album called ’20 Trucking Greats’ on my first US tour, by our wonderful guitar tech’, Digby Cleaver. It kick started my love of Country and Blue Grass music and is solely responsible for sending The Wonder Stuff in that direction after the release of our first album. There are a hundred versions of the song out there, but Digby informed me Hank Thompson’s version was a favourite of Joe Strummer’s, he used to work for The Clash, so that’s the one I’m going with.

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30. Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

Apart from it being a brilliant song it is a great melody to write new lyrics too. I’ve done it plenty of times to hang them around new chords and arrangements. The trick is not to drop back into the original’s melodies.

31. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia

No party has a right to call itself a party if this doesn’t get played.

32. Indigo Girls – Closer To Fine

Memories of my first US tour with The Wonder Stuff. I must have driven the rest of the band and crew crazy with the repeated plays of this song on the tour bus. I ended up doing a cover of it that Amy Ray said she preferred to theirs. I can only guess that someone had driven her crazy too.

33. Jane’s Addiction – Jane Says

On the same tip as the last song, this again fills me full of memories of touring the USA. We had the pleasure of gigging with Jane’s Addiction a few times and they were always splendid company. There are a few versions they’ve released of this song and usually the version you first hear of a song always remains your favourite. Not so in the case of this song, any which way they wanna play it is all good with me.

34. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Johnny Was

Such beautiful sadness, the lyrics, the arrangement and the loss of such a wonderful soul. It’s been with me since I was a kid and it always will be.

35. She Makes War – Slow Puncture

Laura Kidd is the hardest working girl in rock, that I know of. This song is, quite simply, a beauty.

36. Jo Stafford – You Belong To Me

It is the love song that brings my brother, Russ, and I together. Many is the time our sickened friends have had to watch us slow dance to this one.

37. Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

I love a lyric that is written as a letter and no one has done it better than Mr. Cohen.

38. Joni Mitchell – Help Me

Anything by Joni fills me full of delight, but the connection between this and Prince’s ‘The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker’ always makes me smile. One cannot be played without hearing the other.

39. Amsterdam – Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?

It’s hard for me to imagine that songs still get written for the ages, this is one of them, a classic for all time.

40. EN – Serpentine City

As close to nepotism as I shall get in this collection of songs, but when Erica first emailed me the demo of this song I was genuinely blown away. The album isn’t, as yet, released and the video is still in production. Meanwhile here’s a link for people to check out her album.

41. Shudder To Think – X-French Tee Shirt

While the UK music scene was blighted with Brit Pop during the mid to late ‘90’s, these guys, as well as the next two songs, were my saviors. Whilst seemingly playing mathematically impossible rock’n’roll, they always kept me singing along.

42. dEUS – Hotel Lounge

I was presenting MTV Europe’s ‘120 Minutes’ when this record was released and I got to interview them a couple of times. I was an awful TV presenter and never got the hang of the job, but did I ever get to hear some amazing music!? dEUS are still one of my favourite bands of all time, you never know where they’re gonna take you next and for that I whole-heartedly thank them.

43. Girls Against Boys – I Don’t Got A Place

More evidence that Brit Pop did us no fuckin’ favours at all. GvsB’s were moving rock’n’roll forward and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. So many did.

44. The Pogues – Sally MacLennane

Thank The Maker for The Pogues!

45. Public Image Ltd. – Careering

My Mom & Dad bought me ‘Metal Box’ for Christmas 1979, I was thirteen years old. It was an education that no school could ever have provided me with. It’s not always about understanding, sometimes just not knowing what the fuck is going on is all it takes.

46. Ultravox – Hiroshima Mon Amour

More confusion for the young Hunt, ahhh… but the pleasures of discovery.

47. The Psychedelic Furs – Heaven

I was one of those kids that didn’t care that The Furs were getting poppier around the time they released this single, it’s just a damn fine song.

48. 10,000 Maniacs – What’s The Matter Here?

Another band that our guitar tech’, Digby Cleaver, turned me onto. I recall countless nights, riding the roads of North America and Europe on tour buses, listening to this song.

49. Carina Round – Backseat

I’ve been blown away by Carina Round’s music for nigh on fifteen years now. Her songwriting and live performances constantly floor me. Her latest album, ‘Tigermending’ is triumphant. It is impossible for me to listen to this song only once, it is also impossible for me to hear the song without my eyes welling with tears.

50. Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant

‘Never Mind The Bollocks…’ is the greatest rock’n’roll album ever made. There, I’ve said it.