This article is part of our ongoing series 'Lockdown Listening' in which our writers share what they've been listening to during the London Coronavirus lockdown(s).
To listen to our writers' songs, follow and listen to our Spotify playlist.
So, below is a brief selection of charts that have got me through the lockdowns.
1. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
As the clock struck 2020, like everyone else I was filled with hope and wonder at what a new decade would bring. Little did I know at the time that ‘my year’ was going to turn out quite how it did. Luckily before the lockdown had started I was getting back into the old favourites which accompanied me through my early years. As an avid Bari Sax player there are few tracks that make me dust off the old horn and get back to it. This track is definitely one of them. This track, along with the whole album is more than worth a listen.
2. Charles Mingus – Moanin’
Okay, so continuing on with the Bari Sax kick this track needs little explanation as to why it stuck with me. From the very beginning to the end the roaring Bari sax line draws me in, and I just can’t stop listening.
3. Stephen Sondheim – Company 2018
As the lockdown was progressing, I started to miss live performances more and more. As I was trawling through my Spotify for my musical fix, I stumbled across the 2018 staging of Sondheim’s Company. The gender flipped phenomenon that swept the globe (before covid) was equally as stirring two years later. The hights of ‘Being Alive’ to the cynicism of ‘The Ladies Who Lunch’ and ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’.
Ladies Who Lunch
4. Cass Elliot – Dream a Little Dream of Me
While working on one of my final essays and considering what does it mean to be ‘a songbird’, I was brought back to Cass Elliot. Shining star of the 60s rock group ‘The Mamas and Papas’, Elliot died in her mid 30s while on tour in London. Oddly in the same room at the same age as the Who’s Keith Moon. Elliot’s enchanting timbre provided welcome relief from the dreary days of lockdown .
5. Carpenters – Carpenters with the Royal Philharmonic
This isn’t even a guilty pleasure; the Carpenters are iconic. Following from Cass Elliot, Karen Carpenter’s voice lifted even the darkest day through the first lockdown. This album released decades following Karen Carpenter’s death but reimagines the classic songs with the lush full orchestral accompaniment. If you want my advice, listen to this album and allow Karen Carpenter to move you.
6. Anelog – Y Môr
As I was home through all of the first lockdown and the months following, I was using and engaging with Welsh more than I ever had! Similarly, the push to get the Welsh independence anthem ‘Yma O Hyd’ to the top of the iTunes charts earlier in the year opened the door to Welsh language music. Although, I wiled away many of the warm ‘inter-lockdown’ summer days listening to BBC Radio Cymru a few tracks stood out to me. Y Môr (‘The Sea’ yn Saesneg) is a great place to begin listening to Welsh language music – you may even be hungry for me; if so there will be plenty more coming around the 1st of March.
There were other honourable mentions that didn’t make this short list, such as the wonderful ‘Holly Dolly Christmas’ by Dolly Parton which saw me through the Christmas Lockdown. Also, my long-term love, my musical wife – Fleetwood mac has seen me through everything the virus has thrown at me.
Hope you all enjoy listening to my life through lockdown, if you like what you hear and want more then be sure to check out my pieces coming in the next few weeks!!
Jonathan Davies, February 2021
Other articles in the 'Lockdown Listening' series:
Go to this Spotify playlist to listen to all the songs mentioned throughout the series!