1. Nolan Strong and the Diablos – ‘Daddy Rockin’ Strong’ (1955)
Pre-dating ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ is this raunchy stroller written and performed by Detroit attraction Nolan Strong and the Diablos. Strong was a big influence on young Smokey Robinson and later doowop loving Lou Reed.
2. The Beach Boys – ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ (1964)
Brian Wilson, with Al Jardine, played the London Palladium this month and did the whole of Pet Sounds plus a load of other stuff including this, sung on the night by Al’s son Matt. Brian should give Matt Jardine more songs as this was exceptional. Famously one of Keith Moon’s favourite songs, he wasn’t so daft after all.
3. Judy Stone – ‘4,003,221 Tears From Now’ (1964)
Okay, this isn’t a great record – far too jaunty for someone with that amount of tears to shed - but gotta admire that precise prediction. Reached number 11 in Australia, fact fans.
4. Tawny Reed – “I Got A Feeling” (1965)
Tawny came outta South Wales aged 17 seeking fame and fortune in London. She was soon back singing in the Cardiff clubs but not before cutting this supercharged version of the Baby Washington’s Sue 45. Now featured on new comp, Scratch My Back: Pye Beat Girls.
5. Lulu – ‘People In Love’ (1970)
Got to hand it to Lulu for her New Routes album, her first for Atco. Recorded at the end of ’69 in Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with all the Swampers and plus Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin at the controls. Tremendous stuff.
6. Gilbert O’Sullivan – ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ (1972)
I remember this as a kid and didn’t think too much of it, it was just another song on the wireless, yet listening to it properly it’s real tear jerking stuff. Truly heart breaking. There can’t be many sadder songs. Brace yourself and have another listen.
7. Poco – ‘Brass Buttons’ (1973)
Nothing will beat the Gram Parsons version - Evan Dando has a good stab but does a straight copy – yet Poco alter it but still keep the beauty. Taken from the album Crazy Eyes, the title track also paying homage to Parsons.
8. Richie Havens – ‘Going Back To My Roots’ (1980)
The Lamont Dozier original was okay, Odyssey’s disco smash was shit, but this is fantastic. Not only does Havens sing it with sincerely and emotion but the opening couple of minutes of funky piano build the foundation of House music. One love.
9. Violent Femmes – ‘Good Feeling’ (1983)
‘Blister In The Sun’ has previously put me off going anywhere near Violent Femmes but this is more Velvet Underground and Nico and far less irritating.
10. Manic Street Preachers – ‘No Surface All Feeling’ (1996)
The Manics have been out commemorating the 20th anniversary of Everything Must Go and I’ve been celebrating 25 years of going to see them. Thing is, I did take a couple of years out when this was released due to the combination of not wanting to see them without Richey and not wanting to see them in super-sized megabowls with herds of newbie fans who didn’t know Richey Edwards from Glyn Edwards. So it was nice to see them at the Royal Albert Hall romp through the album – a stone cold classic – the other week. ‘No Surface All Feeling’ over the years pushing its way up the all-time great Manics songs.