Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World: OK, OK, not actually something I listened to or bought, but it was #1 in the UK the day I was born, and therefore a good starting point. (drown_not_wave, if you're looking for the corresponding detail for yours, it was the Simon Park Orchestra with Eye Level, the theme from Van der Valk. Sorry. ;))
Jimmy Osmond, Long Haired Lover From Liverpool: Apparently I thought Little Jimmy Osmond was the bee's knees when I was about four. Well, I guess it would be fair to say that tastes change a little in thirty-plus years...
David Essex, Gonna Make You A Star: I think this was the first record I asked my Mum to buy me. I thought he looked kind of cool and romantic, though he hasn't really aged as well as he might have done (still has nice blue eyes, though).
Richard Sanderson, Reality: This song, though in English, was featured in a French film "La Boum" around the time I visited France on an exchange trip in 1980, and was played a lot at the parties thrown during the trip. Smoochy slow dance thing, though I don't recall any dancing actually taking place that I was involved in.
See Amid The Winter's Snow: It's a carol. For reasons I don't remember this much later, one of the teachers at my middle school had some kind of connection to Radio London, and they recorded our choir singing some carols for broadcast one Christmas. I dare say my mother still has the tape. Verse 3 was my solo, and bloody painful it is to listen to now ;)
Tenpole Tudor, Swords Of A Thousand Men/Ultravox, Vienna: These were two of the first three records I bought with my own money on the occasion of getting a record player for my birthday. (Yes, a record player, not a CD player. I may not be quite as old as caddyman, who might, for all I know, have possessed '78s...). The other one of the three was the theme from the TV series Lloyd George, called Chi Mai, which I haven't heard in forever.
Schubert, Unfinished Symphony: I belonged to my local youth orchestra for many years and they used to run a summer course at a boarding school in deepest Surrey (yes, yes, I can hear you all now: "there was this one time, at band camp..."). The first year I went was the summer between middle school and high school, and Schubert's Unfinished was the main piece we played. It's still one of my favourites.
JoBoxers, Boxer Beat/Madness, Tomorrow's Just Another Day: The first proper gig I ever went to, at the Hammersmith Odeon (or whatever it's called now); the one-hit wonders JoBoxers supporting the rather better Madness. From memory this would have been 1982 or 1983... probably '83, as Christmas '84 marked the peak of my concert-going youth.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Two Tribes: Back in the days when I read Record Mirror like it mattered, I stayed up to watch the premiere of the video for this song late on Channel 4, presented by Paula Yates. 'Relax' had been played to death over much of the preceding year; it had been in the charts for some silly number of weeks. Oh yeah, and if you turn the 12" version up very loudly, the air-raid siren from which it begins can cause your mother to almost have a heart attack if she happens to be in the next room at the time. Just saying.
Iron Maiden, The Trooper: My favourite O-level revision music when things were going particularly badly; also see Number Of The Beast. For some reason, my copy of the latter is on pink vinyl. I can't remember if there was a good reason for this.
Leonard Cohen, Everybody Knows: My German penpal Sabine and her older sister Gaby were quite into Leonard Cohen, though I think I found this song originally via the film Pump Up The Volume (still one of my favourites, for my sins). Ah, cynicism on the hoof: "everybody knows you've been discreet but there were so many people you just had to meet without your clothes, and everybody knows".
A-Ha, Take On Me: A-Ha recorded their first album in recording studios close to the high school I was attending at the time. I phoned up the studios and blagged a tour, telling them I was studying at Kingston Poly (as it was at the time) and had some more-or-less valid excuse for wanting to see round it. Unfortunately they'd finished recording a week or two previously. Oh well. I did at least manage to get along to a signing session at HMV on Oxford Street; sold the signed copy of Hunting High And Low for fairly serious money when we moved a couple of years back. In my Saturday job (my parents' shop, which sold photos and posters of film, TV and music stars), I wore a badge for a while which said "I Kissed Morten Harket" (absolutely true). It was a wonderful way of causing fellow teenage girls to turn green.
Paul Young, Wherever I Lay My Hat/Nik Kershaw, The Riddle: I can't remember how many gigs I went to around Christmas '84 but I think it approached, if not entered, double figures. Howard Jones, Paul Young and Nik Kershaw were all touring, and I saw all of them at least twice, I think.
David Bowie, Time: I borrowed my dad's copies of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and didn't give them back for, er, quite a few years. The lyrics to Time of course include the lines "he flexes like a whore, falls wanking to the floor" which seemed quite risqué at the time. OK, OK, so I didn't listen to Eminem growing up. Shoot me.
Status Quo, Rockin' All Over The World/U2, Bad/Queen, Radio GaGa: some of the defining bits of Live Aid, which is going to be TWENTY GODDAMN YEARS AGO next summer, and where the hell has all the intervening time gone? I went with my mother. She danced on the seats.
Howard Jones, Things Can Only Get Better: The one and only time I ever bunked off school (and by that time I was in the sixth form so the chances are good that nobody actually cared anyhow) was to go with some friends to be in the audience for the concert-style video for this song. It wasn't a very exciting experience, and you do get tremendously sick of hearing the same bits of song. No, you can't see me in the video, though if memory serves you can see one of the people I went with.
Simple Minds, Don't You Forget About Me: I loved the film The Breakfast Club -- still do -- and this was the theme song (as of course you all know). Summer '85.
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, I Wonder If I Take You Home: The summer between school and Oxford, my dad had a half-shop in Carnaby Street, which I basically ran for him. Unfortunately, the front half of the shop, rather than the back half where we were, had control of the tape deck. They had approximately two tapes, one of which was about an hour of Live Aid (and not, as I recall, a particularly outstanding hour), and one of which contained this song. By the end of the summer I was ready to kill something the next time I heard it.
Wet Wet Wet, Wishing I Was Lucky: For some reason this is indelibly associated with my first year in Oxford. I think it was just because I was listening to a lot of Radio 1 and it seemed to be on most of the time.
Japan, Quiet Life: first heard the morning after a party in Oxford in my first year, when one of my friends very kindly lent me his bed (and, damn him, slept on the floor).
Status Quo, In The Army Now: rotwang and I went to see Quo in Birmingham in the summer after our second year in Oxford. There was a dreadfully drunken guy standing next to us who couldn't get the slightly odd rhythm of In The Army Now right, no matter what; for those of you who don't know the song (and how lucky you are), the chorus bit runs "you're in the Army now - wo-wo-wo - you're in the Army <pause> now". He couldn't hit the pause for love or money. And then we got stuck in Birmingham overnight...
Guns 'n' Roses, Paradise City: Third year in Oxford. Appetite For Destruction seemed to be pretty much permanently on the turntable.
Rolling Stones, You Can't Always Get What You Want: At the same Rolling Stones gig that drown_not_wave mentions attending with our mother, I was there with someone else... it might well have been rotwang (apologies, dear, if so). It happened to coincide with a night that England were playing Germany in either the World Cup or the European Cup, and we went out on penalties. There was a longish instrumental break which coincided neatly with the penalty shootout -- someone up in the VIP/TV box in Wembley Stadium was writing the score on large bits of paper and holding them up to the window -- and this is what they played when they came back.
Kate Bush, Wuthering Heights/Feargal Sharkey, A Good Heart: a low note and a high note from the days of roleplaying karaoke. A friend of mine used to write roleplaying sessions for his game which came with a soundtrack -- most usually using one particular artist's material, but occasionally he'd make the rest of us sing along to the chosen music, which usually meant using multiple artists. Worse still, he'd tape the results. Listening to a bunch of mostly-not-very-musical (and, more to the point, mostly male) geeks attempting to hit the high points of Kate Bush's range was... painful. A Good Heart was a bit better because there were only two of us attempting it and we could both more or less sing; there were even harmonies...
U2, Ultraviolet/Acrobat: I'm moderately surprised, writing this, that it's taken this long to get as far as a U2 song. Achtung Baby came out while I was doing my PhD. My gran had died shortly before this, and had left me a little bit of money; my parents suggested, since Gran had been a great traveller, that using the money to go places would be a nice idea. A fair chunk of it paid for the flights for our honeymoon, and some of the rest of it paid for a trip to the States to see U2 in concert. Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time (a statement that could be applied to many other trips over the years). "Don't let the bastards grind you down" is an excellent thought to hold to while writing a thesis.
KLF, 3 AM Eternal: Durham, 1991; a summer school that the authority funding my PhD ran in an attempt to get more science postgrads to consider a career outside academia. I guess it worked for me, though how much it was due to this particular occasion I wouldn't care to speculate. This was played at the club my group all went to the night before we had to do a big presentation. I suppose "being able to present on two hours' sleep and with a raging hangover" is a life skill, of sorts...
Orff, Carmina Burana: sung during the last year of my PhD. They were a bit short on blokes so the first tenor part was sung entirely by women -- I actually like the tenor part a lot more than the alto part, largely because you get to sing more of the drinking songs.
There seems to be a largish blank patch between about 1992 and 1998; I don't know if it was just that I wasn't listening to much music, or I was working too hard (hmm...), or that the available music was crap, or... fill in your own explanation. If I think of anything more from that era, I might post it later.
Verve, Bittersweet Symphony: California, February 1998. We thought we'd be able to pick up some tapes at
Don Henley, Boys Of Summer/U2, Where The Streets Have No Name: In August 1998 I bought a convertible. These two songs are absolutely perfect top-down summer motorway music (and the Sisters of Mercy's Vision Thing is great for turning up loud if you're not expecting to go back to the place you're travelling through any time soon)
William Orbit, Barber's Adagio For Strings: this was getting played a lot while our new office was being decorated in early 2000. Unfortunately there is a limit to how enthusiastically you can dance while holding a paintbrush (well, there is if you don't want everything in a ten-foot radius covered in paint, anyhow).
U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind: 7th February 2001, Astoria, London. U2 doing a warmup gig for their forthcoming tour. Tickets available via (among a very few other channels) a competition on the u2.com website (the website itself was suffering all-but-meltdown, there were so many people entering the competition). To my shock and delight (and rotwang can testify to the shock; he was in the next room when I got the email, and was still almost deafened by the scream), I won tickets. Took a mate of mine from school days along, also a very long-time U2 fan; wound up in the front row, staring up Adam Clayton's nose (I knew there had to be a downside). Yeah. It doesn't get better than that.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, By The Way: heavy rotation on Xfm in the days when we had that on in the office. caffeine_fairy, I apologise for the attempts to sing along with it.
Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody: admittedly this has featured heavily for many, many years (including a very fine Queen gig at Wembley in, er, '86 or so?) but the occasion that springs to mind is an open-air showing of Wayne's World on Clapham Common last year. Watch as several thousand drunken people headbang in unison!
Peter Gabriel, Here Comes The Flood: Not so much a soundtrack item as a placeholder; I've already told rotwang that this is what's to be played at my funeral.