Howard Marks: 50 Songs I Love

The "most sophisticated drug baron of all time" passed away this week. A few years back he talked us through his 50 favourite songs, from The Clash to Rihanna.
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1. Follow Me - Amanda Lear

Transexual (alleged but not proven) temptation (1979).

2. Wondrous Place - Billy Fury

Larry Parnes' favourite shag (1960).

3. A Day In The Life - Black Riot

Todd Terry kicks off the Brooklyn House export. I hadn't even taken E yet.

4. Down To Mexcio - Boca 45

Southern California before it got even more fucked.

5. Rubber Biscuit - Chips

Early Doo Wop head fuck. Better with purple hearts than with cocaine. Blues Brothers covered it.

6. Let's Dance - Chris Montez

Latino drum power pushing its percussion in 1962.

7. Bankrobber - The Clash

My favourite Clash song (1980). Very popular in Brixton in the early 1980s.

8. Do You Love Me? - Contours

Twisting and shouting thoughtfully planned frenzy in the early Motown era (1962).

9. I Feel Free - Cream

The first supergroup's mix of blues guitar and vocals, jazz drums and acid (1966).

10. Your Body - Cubanitos

Cuba's Reggaetons. They got it right. Necessary to accompany listening with rum and cigars.

11. Pretty Little Angel Eyes - Curtis Lee

Simplicity is the criterion of truth. Early Phil Spector production (1961).

12. Groove Is In The Heart - Deee-Lite

New York 1990 House. Excellent lyrics from A Tribe Called Quest.

13. I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue - Dells

Believed to be the longest held note ever recorded in the charts dominance (1969).

14. Rubber Band Man - Detroit Spinners

Motor City's slow lane flexibility.

15. Rebel Rouser - Duane Eddy

1950's guitar power. Eddy's favourite city in the world is Sheffield.

16. Something Else - Eddie Cochran

Strongest Rock n Roll voice ever. I saw his last concert, the day before he died, in Cardiff.

17. Didn't It Rain - Exciting Voices

It poured tears and raindrops. Unhinged doo-wop.

18. She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals

Love the snare drum poppin (1989).

19. Absurd - Fluke

Messy head. Works with any drug. Makes you take drugs if you are straight.

20. We Have All The Time In The World - Fun Lovin' Criminals

Just a lovely song.

21. Real Wild Child - Ivan

Best and very early version of the later Iggy Pop hit by one of Buddy Holly's crickets.

22. Restless - Johnny Kid and the Pirates

Without the pirates, there would have been no Who and no Led Zeppelin. Incredibly influential.

23. Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me - Johnny Otis Show

The simple symbiosis of mother daughter relationships.

24. Open Up - Leftfield

Johnny Rotten waited long enough for this.

25. Mocking Bird - Little Eva & Big Dee Irwin

He was massive. She was small. They worked in harmony.


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26. Alone Again Or - Love

Arthur Lee's brilliance. He did the same set for over 30 years and called it Forever Changes.

27. Danny - Marty Wilde

Written for Elvis as the original title track for King Creole (based on Harold Robbins' "A Stone for Danny Fischer).

28. Total Control - Motels

Slow feminine power gradually gaining supremacy.

29. Do You Love Me? - Nick Cave

Dark threatening interrogation.

30. Hold Me - PJ Proby

First track ever to use a double-voice, PJ (whom I once managed) slipped it out between doing demos for Elvis and splitting his trousers.

31. In A Broken Dream - Popes

Best version by far of the Python Lee Jackson (Rod Stewart) hit.

32. Stop Your Sobbing - Pretenders

When girls made us cry.

33. You Don't Know What You've Got - Ral Donner

Released in the early 1960s. No one could distinguish his voice from Elvis'. Rumours abounded.

34. Carol - Ray & The Darchacs

Sadness to the point of ridicule. Massicve doo-wop hit.

35. Rude Boy (Chew Fu Vitamin S Fix) - Rihanna

Ok it's dubstep, but easily the best mix ever of this tune.

36. Sun Arise - Rolf Harris

Works with the dawn after just about anything other than sleep.

37. The Book - Salt City Orchestra

Hacienda highlight. For God and all you would be writers.

38. You Don't Like I Know - Sam & Dave

1960s soul, well remembered up north.

39. Killer - Seal

Adamski and Seal (the great vocalists first) (1990)

40. You Can Never Go Home Any More - Shangri-Las

Produced by George "Shadow" Morton, the Shangri-Las remain unbeatable for melodramatic representations of death, loneliness and abandonment.

41. Take A Heart - Sorrows

Drums like 1960s heartbeats. Induces fibrillation.

42. Runaway Train - Soul Asylum

Identification for kids lost in the early 1990s

43. Valerie - Starlites

Doo wop goes professional.

44. Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf

Always worlks, but watch those burns.

45. Here's Where The Story Ends - Sundays

The first Indie track I took seriously.

46. It's OK - Sunglows

Stoic macho doo-wop.

47. Pump Up The Jam - Technotronic

First European house track to break into US market (1990)

48. Rez - Underworld

The first time I saw Underworld live. Love this one. Slippy born lager too over.

49. Merry Go Round - Wild Man Fischer

Failing to reinvent oneself after an acid trip. Zappa's discovery of the talent of a busker.

50. Shes' Not There - Zombies

Very early Rod Argent. Great build up.