Which one song would you pass on to the next generation?

Radio 4's Inheritance Tracks works on a very simple premise: over the course of a short interview guests are asked which single song was handed down to them and which one they'd like to pass on to the generation after them.

Many wonderful people have revealed their choices - from the six below to a whole host of non-musical people like poet Simon Armitage, Mary Berry, comedian Stewart Lee and screwball American film director John Waters - and their songs always come complete with highly personal stories about their pasts and wishes for the future.

It got us thinking: what would we pick? What would you? Here are a few suggestions, and there are plenty more episodes to download here.

1. Patti Smith

The mother of punk musician and writer Patti Smith was a nightclub singer during the Second World War. She loved high-energy swing and jazz music, and introduced her daughter to Artie Shaw's Nightmare, an excellent, Bond theme-like track. Explaining why she picks Neil Young's After The Gold Rush to pass on, Patti says, "Neil brings to us imagination, vision, sorrow, even self-destruction, then hope - all in one little song."

Track Patti inherited:

Track Patti bestows to future generations:

2. Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis's dad - a big record collector - had a thing for soulful female singers and the one track that stuck with Leona that he played when she was younger was Roberta Flack's stunning 1972 version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, which Leona covered on her debut album. As for the song she'd pass on, Leona chooses a Bob Marley classic about, she says, "Forgetting about colour, race, where you're from, what you earn."

Track Leona inherited:

Track Leona bestows to future generations:

3. Jeff Lynne

The man who put the edge in Edgbaston, ELO's Jeff Lynne, hated the sound of If I Loved You from the musical Carousel when he was growing up, but he became fascinated by the song and recorded a version in 2012. Twenty-four years before that, Lynne formed a supergroup, Traveling Wilburys, that included the great Roy Orbison in the line-up. Lynne picks Roy's anthemic Only The Lonely, a song he's loved since he was a teenager, to pass on.

Track Jeff inherited:

Track Jeff bestows to future generations:

4. Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie Imbruglia's dad was quite the in-car singer when Natalie was a kid. He'd belt out songs while driving, and one of his favourite groups was The Carpenters. Natalie soon fell in love with the band, especially Karen Carpenter's voice. Later, fellow Aussie Nick Cave became an influence. She'd hand down his 1997 track, Into My Arms, explaining, "It's expressing the deepest love you can have for another person."

Track Natalie inherited:

Track Natalie bestows to future generations:

5. Belinda Carlisle

Perhaps you wouldn't expect Californian 80s pop icon Belinda Carlisle to pick The Drugs Don't Work by The Verve as her track to pass on, but she has her reasons. Belinda struggled with addiction issues for many years, and she can relate to the song, especially Richard Ashcroft's voice, which she thinks is among the best in rock 'n' roll. Like Jeff Lynne, the song Belinda inherited from her parents, True Love, is from a musical, High Society.

Track Belinda inherited:

Track Belinda bestows to future generations:

6. Natalie Cole

The death of Natalie Cole on 31 December last year makes her episode of Inheritance Tracks all the more poignant. She selects a Charlie Chaplin song that her father, Nat King Cole, made famous as the track she was passed on and You Gotta Be by British RnB artist Des'ree to hand down. "If she never did another thing, she did a great job with this song," Natalie says. "It's kind of like a recipe for getting through life."

Track Natalie inherited:

Track Natalie bestows to future generations:

Related links

Added item image
"
"
Added, go to My Music to see full list.
More from