Great songs in the key of my life ... by Allan Crow

Allan Crow
Allan Crow

IF it was up to me (and the bosses coughed for a PRS licence), we’d have music playing while we worked at FFP Towers .

I’m not talking about switching on the radio for its endless cheesy pop nonsense. I’d rather staple my eyelids to the strip lights above my desk than be forced to endure their shallow playlists played on a loop until someone remembers to changes the hard drive.

Nope, I’m talking real music - noisy, passionate, intelligent, articulate, moving, angry ... superbly crafted songs by great bands and solo performers.

Reaching consensus on what to play is easy -I’m the boss, so I choose! It’s my baw! (and it’s also illegal to diss or mock the boss’ music choice even if he does leave ELO ‘s greatest hits in his car CD by accident ...!)

As I type, I’m listening to Lady Antebellum, and am about to dip into a pile of CDs which includes stuff from Heather Peace, Gaslight Anthem, Mary Chapin Carpenter and David Gilmour.

Make of that wee snapshot what you will . The only common denominator is it’s stuff I like ... and yes, it’s all stored alphabetically and in order of album release. It’s a bloke thing ... it’s our Feng Shui!

My car is currently on Springsteen mode after last week’s belting Hampden gig and in anticipation of an even more epic gig in London this Sunday, and by the time I walk the coastal path I shall be i-podded up and the miles will fall away as I march to my own wee jukebox. I may sing along or, worse, whistle.

A world without music would be a dreadful place. Mind you, a world with music supplied solely by commercial radio would simply be unbearable.

I tweeted recently how Forth1 play Bruno bleedin’ Mars every single morning without fail.

Now, I like the wee fella - his live show last year was one of the most wonderful I have seen as he and his dynamic band conjured up the spirit of James Brown - but playing the same three songs on a loop is just dumb.

Choosing music by focus groups sums up everything that is shallow about our cheesy Radio Anywhere stations - no soul, no identity and no interest in anything beyond the top ten.

Give me an acoustic singer in a pub like Betty Nicols, serve me a pint and I’ll be happy for hours.

Let me into a live gig, big or small, and I’ll happily emerge into the night with my ears buzzing and my feet tapping.

Just make sure it’s got a beat and a heart.

And the real joy of music is this - if you like it, it’s good no matter what anyone else says. Captain Beefheart or Captain Sensible - you fill your boots!

Growing up, I shook the walls of my house with nothing but heavy rock - Iron Maiden, Saxon, Purple, Gillan, Rainbow, Whitesnake and, er, the Glen Miller Orchestra (I played trombone at school in case you’re wondering!) - so much so the cry ‘‘turn that down!’’ was a nightly request from my mum trying to watch Corrie.

The vinyl has long since gone, but some of those bands remain on my playlist to this day, sitting rather strangely next to singer-songwriters as haunting as Sarah McLachlan.

Even in my (ahem) late 40s, I could still waste entire weeks creating compilation tapes (tapes! I’m showing my age now!) for my own amusement.

Yes I know it isn’t very productive, but it’d be fun.

Nick Hornby wrote Hi-Fidelity’ which revolved around lists - top ten break-up songs, top ten Saturday night party songs etc - and I’m pretty sure every bloke went ‘‘yup, done that’’ if only in their own heads.

That’s when you drill down to the music that really matters most to you - songs which spark memories of people, places or events, loss and laughter, and the soundtrack of life - your life - can’t be made into a CD or available on download because it’s unique to you.

Maybe it’s time to introduce the office to my deep love of all things Springsteen ...