Great British Songbook

Five Reasons Ray Davies Deserves All of the Songwriter’s Awards

British music fans have a lot to thank America for, specifically in the case of Ray Davies of the Kinks.

The Great British Songbook #11: ‘Real Love’

If you imagine the Great British Songbook as a collection of of precious jewels scattered on a kitchen floor, which need to be gathered up and, y’know, put in a jewellery box or a safe or something, the songs of the Beatles will …

The Great British Songbook #10: ‘The Lovecats’

I went to school in the ’80s. It was a time of polarisation, of tribalism, of ganging up and lashing out.

The Great British Songbook #9: ‘Teardrop’

It starts with a simple thought of arresting clarity, especially coming from a singer whose recorded career had largely been spent singing in a made-up language. Elizabeth Fraser, of the Cocteau Twins, coos a delicate “love, love …

The Great British Songbook #8: ‘Common People’

I don’t know much about the personal circumstances into which William Shatner was born. I’m not aware if he was raised on a dirt-poor farm or carried around by servants in a penthouse suite at the top of the only invisible …

The Great British Songbook #7: ‘Fool’s Gold’

Songwriters are not the only musicians to see their work appreciated and appropriated by other musicians. What about the groovemakers? The funketeers?

The Great British Songbook #6: Shakespeare Goes Pop

A slight deviation from our usual format this week. We won’t be examining American cover versions of British songs, not when we have a proud and patriotic duty to perform.

The Great British Songbook #5: ‘Rent’

Whenever a hoary old rock star decides to cover a bunch of old Cole Porter tunes, in evening dress with the bow tie undone, there’s an element of self-gentrification going on. “I’m not just the bloke who sang the song …

The Great British Songbook #4: ‘Thriller’

What? Why the shocked face?

The Great British Songbook #3: ‘Rehab’

Some songs are classics from the first moment, the first line. They arrive, mess with your mind, demand your full attention and leave insisting that you play them again right away.