Yes, without a hint of sarcasm or general piss-taking - this isn't ITV2 or E4, you know - I am proud to present a collection of songs full of genuine magical musical moments that can never fail to inspire, or at least bring on a big affectionate grin. It's a playlist that I like to call Now...I'm The Grandad. As with all good compilations, it's not available in any shops. But it should be.
Throughout this list I've included the song title, artist, an album that contains the track and a reason for its inclusion. Sometimes though, the lyrics just speak for themselves. Enjoy, and feel free to skip at any time. But I don't think you'll want to.
Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do) (Wham!/Fantastic/1983)
"I'm a soul boy/I'm a dole boy"
Junior's Wailing (Live) (Status Quo/Live!/1977)
"Is there anybody out there who wants to rock? Is there anybody out there who wants to roll? And is there anybody out there who wants to BOOGIE?! Tonight - LIVE - from the Apollo - Glasgow. We have the number one rock 'n' roll band in the land. Will you welcome - the magnificent - Status - QUO!" Jackie Lynton introduces the band before Francis Rossi greets the crowd with the most chilled-out "how are you, alright?" ever released on record, then gets straight down to business.
Time For Truth (The Jam/In The City/1977)
"Whatever happened to the great empire?/You bastards have turned it into manure"
Jump (Van Halen/1984/1984)
For many years, it has been impossible for me to watch the video for Jump without thinking that David Lee Roth looks like Steve McDonald from Coronation Street in a wig. This, plus the fact that it's Mark Webster's walk-on music and therefore conjures up memories of the Lakeside Darts, makes it an essential track.
Here I Go Again (Whitesnake/Saints & Sinners/1982)
Similarly, I've never been able to watch the video for this without thinking that David Coverdale looks like Frank Skinner in a wig.
Walls Come Tumbling Down (The Style Council/Our Favourite Shop/1985)
"And dangle jobs like the donkey's carrot"
Steppin' Out (Joe Jackson/Night And Day/1982)
5:15 (The Who/Quadrophenia/1973)
These two tracks go together because I can never hear one without thinking of the other. I used to have terrible insomnia when I was younger. In the days before you could switch on UK Gold at three in the morning and watch an episode of Keeping Up Appearances, I had few choices available to me while waiting for the morning light to arrive. Basically, I could either flick through an issue of Your Sinclair or switch on the radio. Unfortunately, even the radio stations weren't necessarily on a twenty-four service back then, but Radio 1 did at least provide some warm-up music before switching on properly at 5.30am, and this was a definite improvement on listening to Gyles Brandreth's Radio 2 trivia quiz. Amongst others, the songs played were abridged instrumental versions of Steppin' Out and 5:15. Laugh if you like, but I've only recently twigged the significance between the title of the latter and the time of the morning it was played. Ever since, the two songs have an added eerie, middle-of-the-night feel usually only experienced when watching Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer in Into The Night, the Ironside Hallowe'en special or the punk rock episode of Quincy.
Here Comes The Weekend (The Jam/This Is The Modern World/1977)
"If they tell you that you've got two days to live/then don't complain 'cos it's one more than you'd get in Zaire"
Charge (The Divine Comedy/Casanova/1996)
When we started dating, L and I found ourselves having sex to The Divine Comedy's Casanova album. I'm still not entirely sure how it happened, but there was obviously something about Neil Hannon's voice that got us right in the mood. Anyway, to cut a long, embarrassing story very short, the crucial moment arrived just as Neil yelled "Charge!" towards the end of the song and we've never been able to listen to it in quite the same way ever since.
The Girl Is Mine (Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney/Thriller/1982)
For the way in which Paul McCartney casually decides to call Michael Jackson "Mike", in that awkward, matey, thumbs-aloft manner that Macca has made his own over the years. Suddenly, Jackson isn't a pop superstar, he's a plumber from down the road who has just popped round to Paul's to give him a quote on that overflowing toilet cistern and to clear up that little misunderstanding about who'll be shagging the girl they both like. It's my boss at Redlands News all over again - so desperate to be down with the council estate kids that he started calling M "Steve", despite the fact that his name was, well, M.
Water (The Who/Who's Next (Re-Issue)/1971)
"And I'm sure there ain't one of us here who'd say "no" to somebody's daughter"
Good Thing Going (Sid Owen/Good Thing Going (single)/2000)
Sid "Ricky Butcher" Owen's criminally under-rated reggae cover version of Good Thing Going is one of the greatest soap-star-turned-pop-star moments in history. Even better than Stefan Dennis' Don't It Make You Feel Good and Life On The Street by Deuce & Sherrie Hewson put together. When Sid returned to Eastenders last year, there was a scene which involved Ricky telling Tiffany and Whitney that he was good friends with "the boys" from East 17. Seriously, I almost soiled myself at the prospect of him bursting into song and bogling around Albert Square. It never happened though, which was a shame.
Perfect 10 (The Beautiful South/Quench/1998)
"If he's extra large/That's me/Then I'm in charge"
Summer Nights (John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John/Grease OST/1978)
John Travolta's completely exaggerated "OH!" towards the end of this duet is so amazing and inspiring that I once disrupted a twentieth-anniversary screening of Grease by doing it on his behalf before he had the opportunity. The audience just presumed that Cardiff's Capital Odeon had installed a new 3D sound system and cheered loudly. It was a good day.
Rabbit (Chas & Dave/Greatest Hits/2005)
"Rabbit, Rabbit, Yap Yap, Jabber Jabber, Bunny, RABBIT!"
I Believe (Robson & Jerome/Robson & Jerome/1995)
Isn't Robson Green brilliant? He's an extreme fisherman, the king of ITV Christmas specials and has the best middle name ever (Golightly). However, his greatest achievement must surely be the triumphant way he delivers the "or touch a leaf" line in I Believe. It's done with such enthusiasm that you actually believe he's just walked outside and touched a leaf for the first time - "my God, a leaf!" Just don't get him started on new-born babies crying, glowing candles, drops of rain or, indeed, fish - you'll be there all day.
Bully Boy (Shed Seven/A Maximum High/1996)
Particularly the bit on the Shed Seven video compilation Stuffed, when the guy from the Bully Boy video comes running up to the screen shouting, "do you want some? I'm handy!"
The Living Years (Mike & The Mechanics/The Living Years/1988)
A great song made even better by the memory of Rolf Harris bursting into tears on TV-AM because it reminded him of his father. Mike Morris didn't know what to do with himself. It was a moving moment. They don't make songs like that anymore. Or breakfast television.
I Feel Love (Donna Summer/I Remember Yesterday/1977)
Baba O'Riley (The Who/Who's Next/1971)
Regular readers will know that I'm something of a sensitive soul, which may go some way to explaining why these two songs absolutely freak me out. It's something about the frequencies used in the electronic introductions I think, but whatever it is, I'm getting scared just thinking about them. Unfortunately, they're both great songs so it's not as if I can just erase them from my memory. Best follow them up with something impossibly cheerful, I think.
I Could Be So Good For You (Dennis Waterman/I Could Be So Good For You (single)/1980)
Ah, that's better.
Mince Showercap (Part 1) (Idlewild/A Film For The Future (single)/1998)
"Stop! Stop! I've got a recipe for hummus!"
Dyslexic Heart (Paul Westerberg/Singles OST/1992)
Picture the scene: It's 1993, I'm 13 and I've got a crush on an 18-year-old, Eddie Vedder-obsessed redhead. And I love redheads. Knowing that Pearl Jam appeared in the movie Singles and in need of a conversation starter, I marched up to the Penarth branch of Woolworths (R.I.P) and handed over fifteen quid for a just-released VHS copy of the film. It wasn't until I got outside that I realised the movie had a "15" certificate and - ha! - the sales assistant hadn't even asked for ID. Yes sir (or ma'am), I truly felt like a man! It didn't matter that the redhead still wasn't aware of my existence, I just went home and fell in love with the film (and Bridget Fonda) instead.
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (George Michael & Elton John/Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael/1998)
"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John!" Not only a great introduction, it also brings back memories of that episode of The Lookalikes Agency when Ray the Elton John lookalike battled his way through some really thick smoke to get to the stage.
Glamorous (Fergie/The Dutchess/2006)
I don't care if Fergie is actually saying "reminiscing about the days when I had a Mustang," it'll always be "moustache" to me.
You've Lost That Loving Feeling (Live On Pebble Mill At One) (Paul Shane/Unreleased, but recorded off the telly by holding a cassette recorder up to the speaker/1996)
Alright (Cast/All Change/1995)
I got a lot of stick for liking Cast back in the day, but say what you like, John Power provided me with some great memories. He nodded at me when they supported The Beautiful South in Huddersfield, for God's sake. Nodded! However, it's Alright that brings back the nostalgia, thanks to a performance of the song at - I think - Glastonbury 1996 when John followed up the line "tell me what we came here for" with a brilliantly timed, heavily scouse-accented and completely deadpan, "Glaston-bury." I always add that little bit in my head whenever I hear it. See also: Rick Witter's ad-libbed grunt whenever Shed Seven did Chasing Rainbows live, or a moan of - possibly - pleasure from Martin Rossitter whenever Gene did Olympian. It's the little things that matter, isn't it?
Haunted By You (Live) (Gene/To See The Lights/1996)
"I feel like a returning football manager with the cup. Thank you."
Be The One (The Ting Tings/We Started Nothing/2008)
For the adorable way in which Katie White says "hey!" halfway through.
You Are My World (The Communards/Communards/1985)
The note that Jimmy Somerville hits, and maintains, towards the end of this song is absolutely incredible. Even by Jimmy's standards, it's amazingly high and long. And yes, I'm still talking about his singing.
You Surround Me (Erasure/Wild!/1989)
From one extreme to the other, Andy Bell's opening lyrics are so unexpectedly deep, it feels like he's trying to penetrate your skull. Play this side by side with The Communards and you'll feel thoroughly violated. In a good way.
Kimbaley (My Ma-Mama Say) (The London Boys/The Twelve Commandments Of Dance/1988)
I was a camp little boy, wasn't I? These days, you only hear African rhythms if you're watching Wild At Heart and Du Plessis has just fallen down a hole. Back in the eighties, The London Boys took those drums and infused them into a Eurodisco beat. I bloody loved that song, and the accompanying, brilliantly-titled album. R.I.P boys.
Margate (Chas & Dave/Greatest Hits/2005)
Apart from the fact that this song always reminds me of Only Fools & Horses and The Jolly Boys Outing, it's got a great bit of harmony in the chorus that is so nostalgic, it makes you want to pack a bucket and spade, hire a bus and head down to Margate. And I've never even been there! That's the power of Chas & Dave.
Deeply Dippy (Right Said Fred/Up/1992)
Notice how I tried to break up the campness with a manly, East End knees-up. It didn't work, did it? I love this song, particularly when the horns kick in and Richard Fairbrass does the "see those legs, man" ad-lib. I'm a sucker for a good ad-lib. That came out wrong, didn't it?
Girl On The Phone (The Jam/Setting Sons/1979)
"She knows where I get my trousers/where I get my socks/my leg measurement and the size of my cock"
Cheaper To Keep Her (The Blues Brothers/Blues Brothers 2000/1998)
I'm no Bobby Davro when it comes to impressions, but L says that when I sing the "if you decide to roam" bit of this song, it's like Dan Aykroyd is in the room. Or Morrissey. Either way, it's a result.
Ask (Live) (The Smiths/Rank/1988)
Speaking of Morrissey, he makes a lot of strange noises throughout the live Rank album. However, it's his introduction to Ask - what can only be described as an orgasmic grunt/yelp - that sits near the top of my personal list of Morrissey moments. It's only rivalled by his reply to a heckler at his Liverpool concert in 1999: "you wouldn't say that to Sir Harry Secombe!"
Dancing In The Street (Mick Jagger & David Bowie/Dancing In The Street (single)/1985)
One of the first singles I ever owned, along with Madonna's True Blue, I thought the video for this was the coolest thing ever made. I was only five, but I could fully appreciate the sight of two men standing back to back outside a deserted warehouse. I always wanted Bowie's white raincoat from the video. I never got it. The same thing happened with the white shoes that Shakin' Stevens wore on the cover on his 1984 Greatest Hits. Looking back, it was probably for the best.
Place Your Hands (Reef/Glow/1997)
Picture the scene: It's 1997, Friday night. I'm drunk on a packed bus from Cardiff to Penarth. In Grangetown, M starts singing Place Your Hands. For the next twenty minutes, I help him out with the "alright, now!" bits. For some reason I do this in a Jamaican accent. When we got off the bus at the Cefn Mably pub, the other passengers applauded. I've never been entirely sure whether this was out of enjoyment or relief, but at least it's better than the time I started taking my shirt off while singing You Sexy Thing after watching The Full Monty.
Informer (Snow/Twelve Inches Of Snow/1993)
"People dem say you come from Jamaica/but me born an' raised in the ghetto/me born in the one in Toronto"
AIDS Warning (Apache Indian/No Reservations/1993)
Seeing Mr. Apache performing this on the back of a jeep during the Apache Goes Indian series was one of the highlights of my teenage years. Certainly, it's up there with K7 performing Come Baby Come on The Word. It was like a cross between that bit in Good Morning Vietnam where Forest Whitaker drives Robin Williams around the town, and Status Quo's video for The Wanderer. Magical.
For the high-pitched squeak Duffy emits near the end of the track, which sounds like somebody has come up from behind and surprised her. Like Shaggy said, "it wasn't me."
The Boys Are Back In Town (Thin Lizzy/Jailbreak/1976)
For the way it reminds me of Oasis' Be Here Now tour in 1997 and, therefore, my first proper date with L. When the band walked on accompanied by the Thin Lizzy classic, the entire arena went ballistic. When they played Cigarettes & Alcohol and the crowd started jumping, you knew what Dan Aykroyd was talking about in Blues Brothers 2000 when he said; "you can never equal the rush you get when the band hits that groove." Except Blues Brothers 2000 hadn't been made in 1997. Oh well, you get the point.
Let's Get It On Tonight (MC Momo/Metropolis Street Racer OST/2000)
For a song written solely for inclusion on a video game soundtrack, it's a fine piece of craftsmanship. A Fresh Prince-style rap with the immortal lines; "the only thing that I could think about was expansion" and "that feels good/please continue"
I Wanna Sex You Up (Color Me Badd/CMD/1991)
Picture the scene: It's Christmas Day, I'm 11 and I'm watching Top Of The Pops. As Color Me Badd perform, my mother shouts from the kitchen; "oooh, you like this one! Why don't you perform it for your Auntie D?!" I accidentally stepped on the cat, it jumped up and dug its claws into my thigh, I knocked a cabinet over and nobody said a word during the turkey dinner. Not since I played the theme tune from Highway To Heaven on a Casio keyboard had I achieved such a reaction.
Come On Eileen (Dexys Midnight Runners/Too-Rye-Ay/1982)
How can you not include Dexys in a playlist? This will always remind me of my cousin N's wedding. Picture the scene: It's 1996, Penarth Conservative Club. I'm 16 and getting drunk in front of my mother for the first time. As I enter the gents - without my mother, I hasten to add - I hear my Uncle T responding to somebody's praise of the party: "yeah mate, too true, too FUCKING true!" I'm in so much shock at his candid reply, I ignore Auntie D telling me that she has requested some Quo and start having a conversation about the poetry of William Blake with my cousin T. The increasing tempo at the end of Come On Eileen did not help my state of mind.
Try A Little Tenderness (Otis Redding/Dictionary Of Soul/1966)
For the live version during the Stax-Volt tour of Europe in 1967 which saw Otis Redding return to the stage five times for increasingly energetic encores of this one song. It's worth the price of the DVD alone.
One Step Beyond (Madness/One Step Beyond.../1979)
You haven't lived until you've witnessed Darryl Fitton, Tony O'Shea and Brian "Pecker" Woods doing the nutty boys dance at the end of a darts championship. If I could only see one moving image for the rest of my life, that would be it. Failing that, it would have to be something involving Suranne Jones' breasts. Preferably to a Madness soundtrack. As Paul Weller once said, "yes, I think I would like that."
Carnation (The Jam/The Gift/1982)
For the best bassline that Bruce Foxton has ever played.
Ol' Rag Blues (Status Quo/Back To Back/1983)
Well, I had to finish with the Quo, didn't I? I could probably write an entire blog cataloguing the manly moments in Alan Lancaster's life, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the video for Ol' Rag Blues. Manly Al just looks so happy to be there, surrounded by sweaty men assembling scaffolding and two busty beauties. Wham, Bam, I am a man! And with that said, we've come full circle.
Don't you feel better about the world now?