Chris Lee's Desert Island Discs

Submitted by huw on Wed, 11/08/2023 - 18:24
Chris Lee

After identifying what I thought were a fairly random eight tracks for my desert island, I then saw some emerging themes. All are associated with particular memories – times and places that just hearing the pieces evoke. The lyrics are nearly always important but the quality of the singer’s voice less so – I’ve chosen some for the sheer power of the live performance. I realise there’s a predominance of male (piano-playing) performers and very little is classical. Overall, my selection is about relationships, love, loneliness and growing old – all the sorts of things that can make me cry.

In approximate chronological order by the memory it evokes…

All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople - takes me back to Liverpool Stadium (which doubled as a wrestling venue) with my neighbour and best friend, who sadly died aged 52. We were around 15 and this was teenage freedom! The band’s one-hit-wonder was this track, written for them by David Bowie.

The long and winding road, The Beatles – the last song they recorded together. Happy romantic memories of a long drive to Bordeaux by car, stopping off en route to visit my ‘first true love’

Naomi, Ralph McTell - I love the simply sung sentiment behind the song. Brings back happy memories of working on a beach in the south of France for four months after leaving school.

The River by Bruce Springsteen - I could have chosen any one of many songs from ‘The Boss’. I love his storytelling and this track reminds me of happy days with my best friend.

Nessun Dorma, Puccini  – I think my first real introduction to this piece was in the film The Killing Fields – six years before it became the Italia 90 world cup theme and long after it was written! Yes – it’s been overdone, but it still send tingles down my spine.

White Wine in the Sun Tim MinchinI think this guy is a genius to be able to combine such humour and meaning into this one song. A truly original song about Christmas

Hello in There, Bette Midler – I think the raw emotion in this performance is just amazing

Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis, Vaughan Williams - One of my wife’s favourite classical pieces

The luckiest, Ben Folds – My wife and I decided we should go to a music festival before we were 60. We were 59 and we’re still going nearly a decade later. This takes me back to a lazy sunny Sunday morning at Latitude Festival with us listening to this song.