Music life in lockdown week 40 – the final edition

Since I started working from home back in March, I had no idea that by Christmas I would still be writing this.

This is the final entry for the Music life in lockdown review series.  I have really enjoyed going through my collection and listening to lots of music from over the years especially listening to some CDs that I haven’t played in ages.

One thing lockdown has taught me was to take the time, slow down and digest everything.  I have no longer been in a rush to do things. I could work and listen to music at a leisurely pace which has been good for my morale and even my mental health too.

This entry is for the Christmas edition as I was on the last of the working week before Christmas.  I don’t do Christmas music as such.  I am a bit of a humbug that way but there is the odd Christmas song I don’t mind.   When you hear it all the time on ads or in shops it does put you off it.

Anyway, for the last three days I decided to be a bit festive without playing Christmas songs.  That doesn’t make much sense does it?  I had a CD that I got with Uncut magazine a few years ago and it was called John Peel’s festive 15.  The CD compilation was a collection of cuts that made the legendary DJs festive 50 poll that he done every year.

The idea of the Festive Fifty is that it is an annual chart featuring the previous year’s best tracks, as voted for by listeners. Legendary BBC broadcaster John Peel presented the first ever Festive Fifty on Radio 1 back in 1976 and continued to do so until his death in 2004. Radio 1’s One Music show hosted the poll in 2005, before Peel’s former production team asked Dandelion Radio to become the new home of the official Festive Fifty from 2006 onwards.

Listeners vote for their three favourite tracks of the year at this website for a few weeks leading up to December 1st, with the results being broadcast as part of the schedule during Christmas and New Year.

So with three days to listen to music I had to turn to Spotify rather than going through lists to pick out individual songs voted over the years. For once I found that Spotify was quite good for this and I browed to find some great music to listen to. This does not mean from here on I will be embracing streaming services!

Over the three-day period of Monday 21 to Wednesday 23 December it was time to go through the festive 50s over the years after listening to the Uncut CD which was a fantastic listen to start off with.

On Spotify I found the following Festive 50s so went for mainly the 1980s and 1990s.

John Peel’s All Time Festive 50 only had 46 songs.  Possibly some issues that there would be some songs not available on Spotify.  This playlist includes Peel’s favourites, The Undertones Teenage Kicks, along with the likes of Joy Division, Sex Pistols, The Clash, New Order, The Smiths, Pulp, Nirvana, Dead Kennedys, My Bloody Valentine, The Fall (another Peel favourite) and Pixies.  Plenty there that I liked.

The Festive 50 for 1980 featured mostly punk, post punk and new wave with the likes of Sex Pistols, Joy Division, The Clash, The Jam, The Undertones, Dead Kennedys, The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers, Public Image Ltd, The Ruts, The Cure, The Fall, Adam and The Ants, The Specials, Killing Joke, SpizzEnergi (their song Where’s Captain Kirk? was on the Uncut CD) and Gang of Four.  That collection had ten more tracks than the usual top 50.

John Peel Festive 50 for 1985 did have all 50 songs on Spotify with the playlist featuring The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Fall, The Cult, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, The Pogues, The Wedding Present, The Wooden Tops (they were also on the Uncut CD), Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, That Petrol Emotion, The Cure, Billy Bragg and Husker Du, Sisters of Mercy which made this collection a very alternative 80s soundtrack and was excellent.

My favourite era is the 90s and I listened to a few festive 50s from 1992 and 1994.  The Festive 50 for 1992 playlist was heavily influenced by the new sounds coming from the USA with Ministry, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Babes in Toyland, Sugar, Buffalo Tom as well as UK and Irish bands like The Wedding Present, Suede, The Jesus and Mary Chain,  The Fall, Therapy?, The Frank and Walters, The Boo Radleys and Ride.  1992 was indeed a great year.

The Festive 50 for 1994 also was heavily balanced out with US and UK acts – Inspiral Carpets, Veruca Salt, Elastica, Portishead, Supergrass, Ash, Pulp, Pavement, The Wedding Present, Sebadoh, Hole, Shellac, Madder Rose, Sleeper, Mazzy Star, Nirvana and Beck to name but a few. I’m heavily biased towards the 90s and there are some great songs amongst that lot.

And that brings Music life in lockdown to a close.  It has been an insane 10 months of readjusting to life working from home and building a soundtrack that has carried me throughout the rest of the year.

I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts on what I have been listening to with others and I hope you have enjoyed reading about them as much I was enjoyed listening to my CD collection the way it should be!

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