Universal music and Time Out magazine have got together to create a compilation album of songs inspired by London. When I heard that, I had a think about London inspired songs and only managed to come up with a handful of songs, yet this CD contains 20 of them by well known artists including Roxy Music, The Kinks, Pet shop boys, David Bowie, Gerry Raffery and many more
There are a few obvious omissions from the songs included here - The Clash's classic song, London Calling being top of the list - especially since a poll in Time Out voted it as the best London song. Having said that, its's a testament to how many artists have been inspired to write songs about London that such a well known song can be missed out and yet they've still managed to find 20 great songs about London without scraping the barrel and packing the album with songs from obscure artists - almost all the bands and artists featured on the album are household names, and I suspect the few I don't know are well known in their own genres of music.
There are some truly great songs in this compilation - Gerry Rafferty's "Baker street" being one of my favourite songs, Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" being another classic song as are The Kinks - "Waterloo sunset" and Ralph McTell - "Streets of London" to name a few. More modern artists include Duffy with "Warwick avenue" as well as Pulp and Jamie Cullum.
With a few of the artists included there are several songs that they've done that would be suitable for the album so its nice to see the obvious choices are sometimes avoided in favour of an alternative choice. For example, The Jam's "Strange town" is included whilst the better known song "Down in the tube station at midnight" is left out.
There's a good mix of musical genres here as well as a nice mix of well known and lesser known songs, but what they all have in common is quality - this is a very good compilation packed with some seriously good music. One of the nice parts about a compilation like this is that it's a way to discover great songs by artists that you weren't aware of before, or just songs you hadn't heard before.
Let's hope this album does well enough for them to do a London: volume 2 - London has such a rich musical heritage that I'm sure there are plenty of top class songs that could go on a second volume.
The digipak also features a 24 page booklet created by Time Out and a Time Out pull out map detailing musical landmarks of the West End and Camden - a nice addition to a great album.
"London" is out on 28th November and is well worth buying - especially with Christmas approaching.
1. Roxy Music – Do The Strand
2. Jamie Cullum – London Skies
3. The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
4. Squeeze – Piccadilly
5. Kirsty MacColl – Soho Square
6. Pet Shop Boys – London
7. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
8. Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl
9. Eddy Grant – Electric Avenue
10. Pulp – Bar Italia
11. Duffy – Warwick Avenue
12. The Jam – Strange Town
13. Ralph McTell – Streets of London
14. Small Faces – Itchycoo Park
15. Bert Jansch, John Renbourn – Soho
16. David Bowie – The London Boys
17. Caetano Veloso – London London
18. The Pogues – A Rainy Night In Soho
19. John Martyn, Beverley Martyn – Primrose Hill
20. Saint Etienne – London Belongs To Me