BETH ORTON’S SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE

From Blondie to the genius of Terry Callier...

First Record You Can Remember

‘Denis’ – Blondie

“Does it have to be just one? There are so many, I don’t really remember which one comes first. I do remember having the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ single. And I also remember my brother coming home with ‘Denis’ by Blondie. We danced around to it for ages. Oh, and then there was ‘Carmen’ – the opera – which my mum bought for me because I loved it so much.”

Record That Reminds You Of School

‘I Feel Love’ – Donna Summer

‘I Feel Love’ reminds me of leaving school and going home and dancing around my bedroom to it over and over again. Then there was Madonna, when I was about 14 and went to school in London. I was really into ‘Like A Virgin’ and stuff. There were hundreds, really. Although it’s not that relevant I don’t suppose, since I didn’t go to school much anyway.”

Record You Fell In Love To

‘Solid Air’ – John Martyn

“I was at college with this boy – it was about the first time I smoked weed, as well, which might have something to do with it – but we used to listen to ‘Solid Air’ all the time. The sun would go down and the sun would come up and there we’d be, listening to John Martyn, snogging. It also reminds me of summer evenings running around in Cambridge, where he came from, on his motorbike. ‘Don’t Want To Know’ from that LP is the first song I ever sang with William. So I suppose that marks the beginning of my love affair with music. Which is very important as it’s the only thing I’ve ever really committed to in my life.”

Heartbreak Tune

‘All The King’s Horses’ – Aretha Franklin

‘All The King’s Horses’ could fit any heartbreak you wanted, really. Also ‘Damaged’ by Primal Scream. And anything by The The reminds me of all the heartbreaks I have had, will have, and should have had.”

Record That Evokes The Greatest Summer Of Your Life

‘Martha My Dear’ – The Beatles

‘Martha My Dear’ reminds me of the first summer I was ever really going out. Me and my friend would get ready to go out and get drunk, listening to the ‘White Album’. Which might not be the best party album, but it’s fucking good, so I don’t care. It really reminds me of that summer at her house, and how much fun we had. But every summer is a good summer, really. And every summer is tinged with sadness. I might not have had the best summer of my life yet.”

Record That Inspired You To Form A Band

‘The New Folk Sound Of Terry Callier’ – Terry Callier

“So many things inspired me. But I’d say the one that inspired me to get this particular band together and go on the road was Terry Callier. He uses two basses – and it’s very melodic and very beautiful. I could also say The Stone Roses‘ first album, because I loved the sound and the rhythm. Something between those two, I’d say.”

Record For A Night On The Tiles

Anything by RL Burnside

“I love the way that records by RL Burnside just build and build. I find it really exhilarating. I love the tension that’s captured and how it breaks into complete joyous abandon.”

Record Guaranteed To Clear The TourBus

Anything by Ellen Macawayne

“She does these mad, beautiful songs. She’s got an incredible voice. But when she goes a bit mad she gets a bit too screamy and shouty for some people’s taste.”

New Year’s Eve, 1999, What’s On The Hi-Fi? ‘Under The Influence Of Love’ – Barry White

‘Under The Influence Of Love’ is a good, uplifting tune, so it seems appropriate. It reminds me of the Heavenly Sunday Social, and having a good time.”

Record You Would Like Played At Your Funeral

‘Some Of Your Lovin” – Dusty Springfield

“It’s such a sweet kind of melancholy song. I don’t know why, but I just really fucking love it. I love it when it comes in, I love it when it fades out. All of it. I can just imagine my coffin going through the curtain to that one. And there’s another one, a really funny one. ‘Shooba Doo’, from this French TV programme called Raupatrouille, It’s a silly song, and I think it would make anyone laugh. Even at something like a funeral.”