Top 10 songs or tunes

September 9, 2009

National Radio’s Afternoons asks listeners to come up with the best song ever written.

That’s a difficult choice to make when there are so many variables – a song or tune might be best at one time or place but beaten by another at another.

However, since we’ve had the top 10 quintessential Kiwi songs and the top 10 Beatles songs, I thought it was time for the top 10 songs from anywhere by anyone, and why:

1. The 23rd Psalm.

I remember it from Sunday school, High School. I also associate it with the big events in my life: our wedding (because me farmer like the rural connotations, at which the minister suggested we could sing We Plough the Fields and Scatter . . . ); the funerals of my mother in law, father, and both our sons and at my mother’s we sang The King of Love  which is based on the 23rd Psalm.

2. Pokarekare Ana. 

We may not know all the words, but it’s the song by which Kiwis recognise each other all over the world.

3. Pachelbel’s Canon.

I don’t remember when I first heard it but it’s been played at lots of celebrations I’ve attended. The last of these was the wedding of our nephew in Argentina when his mother, sister and cousin played it on violins as the bride entered the church.

4. Killing Me Softly.

We were skiing on Coronet Peak and had paused where the chairlift passed close to the trail. A skier reached out and waved his mitten close to my friend’s face. She immediately started singing Strumming my face with his fingers. . . ”

5. Handel’s Largo from Xerxes.

Another tune associated with celebrations, although it was several years after I first heard it that I learned it came with words.

6. The Skye Boat Song.

Partly because of my Scottish genes and partly because it was on the CD the surgeon chose when our first son was delivered.

7. Danny Boy

Our son was Dan and we sang this at his funeral. But I first came across the tune when I was in a Bible Class choir and we sang The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended  to it.

8. Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary.

Another one associated with celebrations and we chose it for the recessional at our wedding.

9. The Great Pretender.

Any list of songs has to have a soppy one.

10. Hine E Hine

With or without the Good Night Kiwi.

11. Rock Around The Clock

A list has to have a good dance tune too.

12. When You Walk Through A Storm;  Do you Hear the People Sing;  Time to Say Goodbye;  First Time Ever; Nessun Dorma; Red, Red Wine; All My Loving, Let It Be, . . .  who said I had to stop at 10?


Freddie Mercury – The Great Pretender

September 5, 2009

It’s Freddie Mercury’s birthday.

He is probably best known for his work with Queen, but my favourite is The Platters’ song The Great Pretender.

It was often played on the radio when I was taking my children to and from Dunedin Hospital. A couple of lines really resonated with me:  . . . pretending that I’m doing well/My need is such I pretend too much/I’m lonely but no one can tell . . .

It helped to hear someone express something of what I was feeling then. When I hear it now I remember a little bit of how it felt. But rather than feeling maudlin I’m comforted by the knowledge that bad times pass and it is possible to be happy again.


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