Sam Jones picks his favourite tracks for the TT Playlist:
Sam Jones – @samuellejones
“I tend to play it safe with music. If I like a song or a band, I’ll listen them to death. Every now and then I’ll whack on a Spotify playlist and hope that it doesn’t annoy me enough to turn it off after 3 songs. So here is my contribution to the TT playlist, a bizarre concotion of songs from the last 60 years.”
Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual (1965)
I’m Welsh, if the name Jones wasn’t too much of a give away, so I have to start with a Welsh legend. My first ever concert was Sir Tom live in Las Vegas, which was a pretty special way to start. Since then, this toe tapping, finger clicking hit has always been my go to karaoke song. And let’s be honest, I absolutely nail it.
Otis Redding – (Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay (1967)
A classic that I always come back too. The American Soul Singer’s last hit before he tragically perished, is still a classic that holds up today. You’ll find yourself humming it to yourself without even realising.
Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (1969)
Gimme Shelter is one of the greatest songs of all time. I have struggled to find a song with such incredible back vocals as Merry Clayton’s, and when her voice cracks about 3 minutes in it never fails to give me goosebumps. An absolute masterpiece.
Billy Ocean – Love Really Hurts Without You (1974)
The British R&B’s second biggest hit is a song that really makes you get up and jump around. The kind of song which you put on loud while cooking and dance around the kitchen with a spatula in your hand. Assuming you’re alone that is (just me then?).
Duran Duran – The Reflex (1984)
I’m a bit of an 80’s nut, so I’ve tried to limit the amount of them in the playlist. There are a number of Simon LeBon written songs I could have chosen from, but The Reflex takes my pick for its classic 80’s ness. Great electronic keyboard? Check. Crazy hair styles? Check. Nonsensical lyrics? Absolute check.
Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind (1987)
I’ve always been a massive fan of the legendary British duo. In fact, the first album I ever bought was Yes by the Pet Shop Boys, which is great. But their pop remix of Elvis’s classic takes the biscuit for me. A proper sing along tune that shows the best of Neil Tennant’s famous voice.
Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life (1996)
You must have known I was going to sneak another Welsh artist into this playlist, musn’t you? Design for Life remains an incredibly poweful song, especially considering it was written as a way of saving the band from despair after the disappearance of Richey Edwards in 1995. Great lyrics with undertones of class struggle make this as relevant today as it was then.
Stereophonics – A Thousand Trees (1997)
The last Welshie, I promise. The Phonics have has some fantastic songs down the years (including As Long as we Beat the English), but A Thousand Trees is my favourite. Despite the upbeat melody and seemingly happy lyrics, the song describes the story of a teacher being accused of inappropriate behaviour. What is it with Welsh bands and heavy lyrics?!?
The Killers – Read my Mind (2006)
Read my Mind is a song I had forgotten about until it appeared in a playlist somewhere. I love the lyrics, I love the tune and I love the video. The Killer have had some hits, but Read My Mind seems to always be forgotten about.
Paramore – Ignorance (2009)
I’m fairly conformist and mainstream in my music tastes, so Paramore is my bit of rebellion (even though its really not). The Nashville rockers are another band that have been around for ever, and have released some great songs. But the fast paced lyrics and music of Ignorance always gets me air guitaring.
Bastille – Laura Palmer (2013)
I love Bastille, always have. I lost count of how many times I played Pompeii on repeat when it first came out. But I have always really liked the song Laura Palmer. Named after the the homecoming queen in the series Twin Peaks, its a classic pop song. I’m assuming there are a number of references to the series in the song. Not sure though, I’ve never seen it.
Passenger – Anywhere (2016)
The British folk singer is more known for his beautiful and haunting folk songs, but his more upbeat Anywhere is one of my favourites. Another foot tapper that you’ll find yourself singing along too. I’ve seen him live, and planning to again in September (Covid-19 permitting of course).
VHS Collection – Sign (2017)
This is a song which appeared in a Spotify Discover Playlist, and immediately added it to my favourites. The New York trio specialise in retro-sounding music and Sign is no different. Lovely lyrics and some great synth keyboard make this a treat.
Against the Current – Strangers Again (2018)
Against the Current are the only band I have ever seen live twice. And I would go to see them again in heartbeat. The lesser known American pop trio have been around for a few years, but have produced some top top song. Their latest album, New Eyes, is probably my favourite of all time and Strangers Again is the pick of the bunch. Well worth a listen.