Waterfront, by Simple Minds
One of the most recognisable bass lines of all time. Indeed, it’s one single bass note of D all the way through this absolute anthem of a song that is based on the rebirth of the band’s home city – Glasgow. I could have chosen a number of songs from what I think is one of the most important bands of my lifetime.
A band that got me into music more than any other and one that has shed its skin several times when it comes to their genre of music. I remember going to take my brother to uni back in the early 80’s and his flatmate had a gigantic Simple Minds poster in his room. He also had a great wedge haircut and a lovely Matinique sweater too – I was hooked. The kool katz will say that they eventually sold out to stadium rock but they simply did it bigger and better than anyone else. This was taken from their sixth album (Sparkle InThe Rain), a hugely underrated album, and the fact it is, is to show just what an influential group they (still) are and also their back catalogue of absolutely brilliant songs.
It’s A Sin, by Pet Shop Boys
When I look back upon my life
It's always with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame
For my money, the best pop band of my lifetime. Again, a back catalogue to die for – and for me they’ve always been a more mainstream version of New Order, but one with far more influences. And that is a gigantic compliment. I honestly didn’t know what PSB tune to choose here – when you factor in I’ve left out the likes of Suburbia, Domino Dancing, West End Girls, Opportunities, Left To My Own Devices, and also the song that means the most to them – Being Boring – it shows you the sheer brilliance of what they’ve produced.
A monster of a song that resembles a runaway pop-synth-dance train, it’s based on Neil Tennant’s time at a catholic school up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. And the song gets even better when it's factored in that it resulted in the band suing Jonathan King and donating the money to charity. A live staple, it was part of PSB’s set at Glastonbury that blew every other band away that weekend.
Everything She Wants, by Wham!
Released as a double A side with Last Christmas – a big mistake in my eyes, as it’s one of the greatest pop songs of the 80’s and beyond and didn’t get the attention it really did deserve. You’ll already know my thoughts on George Michael, the bloke is a songwriting genius, and this was possibly one of his first forays into the more serious sides of popular music. With darker lyrics than “fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone”, this helped to build Wham!’s reputation amongst those of a more mature vintage than they were accustomed to. A song that the great man loved so much, he continued playing it through his solo tours.
Enjoy The Silence, by Depeche Mode
One of the very best live bands, this was the second single released from the brilliant Violator album and broke the mould by being actually being a fitting winner of a Brit award. Released in 1990, their layers of synths were augmented by cutting guitars, house beats, and melodies that you simply can’t shake away. This a darkly seductive love song that is the band’s finest moment, and they’ve had shedloads of them. Live, this song is simply a monster.
Dancing Queen, by ABBA
Has to be in, and has to be pretty high up, too. Brilliant for folk like me at weddings and clubs where their partners sod off running to the dancefloor as soon as the stylus hits the groove - giving me four minutes or so of blissful peace. They’ve released umpteen songs that could have been included, but when I think of ABBA, I think of this first and foremost.