“Music was incredibly important to me in my teenage years. Obviously, I listened to it before then, and I listened to it after, but it was those teenage angst years where everything seemed so difficult and heart breaking that showed me how music could really sum up an emotion or a time. It really opened my ears and my heart to what music could mean to people.
I no longer have time to listen to it in the same enveloping way, three children will do that to a woman, but these are ten of the tracks that have meant a great deal to me over the course of my life.”
You can click on the song titles to play them in Spotify, or click here to listen to the whole list.
My first serious boyfriend and I were huge Erasure fans. We got together at about the time ‘A Little Respect’ came out. We bought the record and played it to death. It was the soundtrack of our summer, but it is this, earlier song that epitomises the feelings I had for him at the time. It came as no surprise however, a few years later when he announced that he was gay.
This song sums up for me the relationship I had with my first love (not the same as my first serious boyfriend). Our relationship was intense and full of drama. I was going away to university. He was going into the navy. He wanted me to be a navy wife. I said no. Our relationship lasted until the end of my first term at university and then imploded over the New Year when we met up again for the first time in four months. I realised I loved him but I could not live with him the way he wanted me to. We split up at my instigation. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It took me years to get over him. I still can’t listen to this without getting a catch in the back of my throat.
This song is all about an unrequited love I had in my third year at university. I thought I would die of a broken heart when he confessed that he didn’t feel about me the way I felt about him. We remained friends until after graduation when our lives took us different ways. I hoped he would change his mind about me. He didn’t.
After a disastrous engagement and nearly marriage to a man I allowed to drain me of all self confidence and hope, I found myself again and fell into a relationship with the man who would become my first husband. The hedonism and excitement of the mad year we spent together before getting married is summed up in this song, which we had played at our wedding.
After a series of miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy that nearly killed me, I finally succeeded in having my daughter Matilda. We were so thankful for her being in our lives we had a huge party and naming ceremony, and at the end of the service we danced and sang to Praise You by Fat Boy Slim. A friend also sang ‘Moving on Up’ by Primal Scream, which was amazing, but it is Praise You that always fills me with love for her when I hear it.
My second daughter, Tallulah, was born shortly before I split up with her father. Her first year on the planet was a deeply traumatic time in my life, but Tallulah was and is a fierce and tenacious little soul who rode the storm beautifully. When she was about 18 months old her favourite song was Crazy in Love by Beyonce. Tallulah insisted it was called Crazy Rhino and these are the words she would sing to it. This song sums up everything I love most about Tallulah. The world bends to her will, not the other way around.
When I was divorcing my first husband I met a man who would go on to be my second (and hopefully last) husband. When things were very bad and I needed to escape he took me on holiday to Colorado so that I could clear my head. We were driving through the Rockies one night and this song came on the radio. It always reminds me of our first, tentative months together.
During the dark days of my divorce I had to go for a meeting with my ex husband. It was a soul grindingly awful experience, and I came away feeling like I was the worst person in the universe and why would anyone ever bother to love me or want me? My partner, who is now my husband, came and picked me up. He sat me in his car, stuck this song on and said: ‘I want you to listen to this song because it is how I feel about you.’ It was one of the best gifts I have ever been given.
By the time I met the man I am now married to, I already had two children. He had none of his own, but took my two on without any hesitation and has been the perfect father to them ever since. He did not want any more children with me. We talked about it and agreed I would have my tubes tied. The night before I was going in to have the surgery he turned to me in bed and said: ‘Please don’t have it done. I’ve changed my mind, and I want you to have our baby.’ About nine months later our son, Oscar was born. It was one of the happiest days of my life. This song always used to soothe him when he was fractious and it sums up how I felt about him when he was born.
My husband proposed to me on the threshold of the first house we owned together, getting down on bended knee and asking me to share the rest of my life with him. It was totally traditional and totally unexpected and I melted like butter in the sun. Three months later we got married in Las Vegas, bling stylie, with our children surrounding us. It was perfect. This was one of the songs they played in the chapel as we were getting married. It always makes me cry, in a good way.
Love Songs strand in which people share the ten tracks that sum up their love life. Would you like to share your list? Click here for more details.