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Playlist kudos

Peter Barron | 10:40 UK time, Friday, 12 October 2007

It's said that Roy Plomley, the founder of Desert Island Discs, could always tell when a guest's choices were genuine and when they'd been prepared by a PR to play well with the public.

alanjohnson.jpgI've heard a few deeply suspect selections from very senior politicians down the years, but I'm pretty certain Alan Johnson, Health Secretary and rock star wannabe, was speaking from the heart on the latest show. And good choices too (see below for details). Not just any old Beatles song, but And Your Bird Can Sing, surely their finest moment. Elvis Costello and David Bowie too. But was that dash of Mahler really in his top eight, or with an eye to the classical vote?

Most intriguing though, was discussion of his own recording career - an unreleased disc called Hard Life by a group called The Area. He claims no longer to have a copy, but surely someone out there has it? If so we'd love to hear it and would be pleased to post it on our new Big Fat Newsnight Politics Page .

Alan Johnson's choices

1. And Your Bird Can sing.
Performer The Beatles
Composer Lennon/McCartney
CD Title Revolver
Track 9
Rec No CDP7464412

2. You Little Fool
Performer Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Composer Elvis Costello
CD Title Imperial Bedroom
Track 14
Rec No CD36

3. Friday On My Mind
Performer Easy Beats
Composer Vanda/Young
CD Title Friday On My Mind:24 60’s Classics
Track Cd2 trk 6
Rec No OG3208

4. Drive in Saturday
Performer David Bowie
Composer David Bowie
CD Title Aladdin Sane
Track 3
Label EMI
Rec No CDP7947682

5.A Man Needs a Maid
Performer Neil Young and the London Symphony Orchestra
Composer Neil Young
CD Title Harvest
Track 3
Rec No 7599272392

6.Adagietto from Symphony No 5 in C Sharp Minor
Performer The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Frank Shipway
Composer Mahler
CD Title Mahler
Track 4
Rec No 04494

7 Cityscape Skybaby
Performer Super Furry Animals
Composer Super Furry Animals
CD Title Phantom Power
Track 10
Label EPIC
Rec No 5123752

8.Beneath The Sun
Performer Halima
Composer Frava/Daunt/Johnson
CD Title Beneath the Sun
Track 5
Rec No CHAMP CD1035

Record: And your Bird Can Sing
Book: The Complete Pepys diaries
Luxury: A digital radio


  • 1.
  • At 11:55 AM on 12 Oct 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Surely of more interest is his point about the university networking of the 'middle-class mafia' [my words, not his..] work to exclude talented people from getting on ? This stratification of society seems a peculiarly English disease, and we will surely one day look back on it as a quaint throwback to the Victorian age, rather like rickets, nits and TB ? Or maybe not ?


When Gordon gave Postman Alan the poison chalice of "Health" did he tell him it was really "Sickness" - something to do with the chalice not being cleaned properly?

  • 3.
  • At 05:21 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Scofield wrote:

As an avid supporter of the BBC especially its news output I am appalled at the idea of advertisements on the website for those who access these services from outside the Uk

I pay a license fee in the uk and should be able to access these services free from advertising.
Suggestion: some form of logon/authentication for those who have already paid

In addition there maybe those who would pay to access this service by paying the equivalent of a radio license
suggestion: a paid for service

Outside of these groups it may then be neccessay to have advertising.

Have either of these ideas been canvassed?

I suspect that Mahler would be in his top eight. The music critic of the Sunday Times (1960s) famously compared Lennon and McCartney compositions with Gustav Mahler's use of Aeolian cadences. So, from a harmonic point of view, Lennon is closer to Mahler than you would imagine. (pun intended :)).

  • 5.
  • At 08:38 PM on 18 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Calhoun wrote:

Alan Johnson rock star????

Am I bovvered???

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