Five songs that will never leave my iPhone

Fed up of hearing the same old songs as I worked out at the gym, I had a clear out of my iPhone the other day. I was ruthless, getting rid of old favourites who’d outplayed their usefulness, but there were some which I couldn’t get rid of. It’s not that they’re my favourites – I don’t even listen to them half the time – but they beat as strongly in my heart as the day I first heard them. So if you’re ready, pop pickers, here are the Five Songs I Can Never Remove From My iPhone.

Joe Jackson - It's Different For Girls

Joe Jackson – It’s Different for Girls

I was in love with The Stranglers and Gary Numan when I went to hospital to get my tonsils removed. With only my beloved radio-casette player to keep me entertained, Radio 1 was my constant companion and this song seemed to be on all the time. Ten years on, Joe Jackson was a favourite of an early boyfriend. He made me a compilation tape which introduced me to Jackson’s jazz sound. Stepping Out is still my all-time favourite Jackson song, but this one reminds me of eating mashed potatoes in hospital as a little girl and then snogging in a Mini by St Mary’s Lighthouse in Tynemouth as a young woman. The boyfriend cheated on me, but when I hear these first few bars, I still smile.

Larry Adler - Rhapsody in Blue

Larry Adler – Rhapsody In Blue

The sexiest version of one of the sexiest compositions ever. It sends shivers down my spine even now. But that’s not the reason I love it. The Rhapsody will always remind me of my mam, who grew up in the era of the big bands and instilled a love of this music in me. This is a double-whammy – it also reminds me of Adler’s work on the soundtrack of Genevieve and I’m instantly back to our small flat in Byker, on a Saturday afternoon, with my mam baking in the kitchen and Kenneth More on the telly.

Chambao - Ahí Estás Tú (Video)

Chambao – Ahí Estás Tú

In 2005, we moved to Spain and this song was never off the TV as the backtrack to an advert for Andalucía. It reminds me of sunshine (even though we arrived in winter) and hope and I think of all the students I taught and the many fabulous people I met, especially the Andalucíans who played me more Chambao. It summons up everything that was good about Spain and a time when I was very, very happy and finally felt I could be myself. It sounds like a beautiful summer’s day and you’re on a terraza drinking a tinto de verano and eating olives and everything stressful can wait until mañana. Oh, Lord, excuse me while I go get a tissue…

The Proclaimers performs Sunshine on Leith | T in the Park - BBC

The Proclaimers – Sunshine on Leith

In Spain, they call the place where you feel most at home your pueblo. Well, Edinburgh is my pueblo. I moved there in the late Nineties and it was in this city that I flourished, meeting people who became lifelong friends, pushing my career further than I ever imagined and finally meeting my husband and having Scots as my family. Scots who were Hibs fans, which is how I ended up at Easter Road and growing to love Sunshine on Leith, which has become the fans’ anthem. I love it because, before the stadium was finished, from our seats you could look over Leith and the Firth of Forth and when their was sunshine on Leith, it was often a better view than what was happening on the pitch…

Fat Les - Vindaloo

Fat Les – Vindaloo

I can hear what you’re thinking, but hold on a minute and hear me out. In 1998, I was driving back from visiting my family in Newcastle to my home in Edinburgh, where I was working at the local papers. I was in love and planning my wedding and that weekend, I’d been visiting possible reception sites. The charts were playing on the car radio and Fat Les came on, the perfect soundtrack to my happiness, and I joined in, belting it out at the top of my lungs as I passed Bamburgh Castle, one of the most stunning views on the drive home. As I looked up into my rear-view mirror, I realised the man behind me was singing along to it too and it seemed as if we were united in a love for everything that was England. Corny, crap, I know, but that’s how it was. Ten years later, it came on my iPod as I waited for a friend at Madrid’s Plaza del Toros. I started crying. And that’s why it will always be on my iPhone.

What’s songs will never leave your collection? I’d love to know…

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