Soundtrack Of My Life: Jon Ronson

Broadcaster, The Psychopath Test author, guy we’d all like to hang out with

The first song I can remember hearing

David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars?’

“My Auntie Mavis used to photograph people like The Rolling Stones. She’d send records from London and this one was probably the first I really remember.”–IqqusnNQ

The song that I can’t get out of my head


Stormzy – ‘Shut Up’

“My son gets me into a lot of music, but this just snaked into my head. I fucking love it. Stormzy is a national treasure.”

The first record I ever bought

Squeeze – ‘Cool For Cats’

“I got really into punk when I was about 10, and I saved up my pocket money and went to Distiller Records in Cardiff and got this one on beautiful pink vinyl.”

The first gig I went to


The Specials – Cardiff, 1979

“I pretended to faint so I could stand backstage and I got to watch them from the wings. I got lifted over the barrier, and [singer] Terry Hall asked if I was OK. I just asked if he was in The Specials!”

The song I can’t listen to anymore

Spandau Ballet – ‘True’

“When I reached 13, 14, new-romantic bands like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and ABC became all the rage, and I just hated it all. It was just lounge music to me. But the good thing is that it helped me discover Tom Waits, The Beatles – much better music.”

The song that I always do at Karaoke

Bobby Darin – ‘Mack The Knife’

“I’m very good at that – it just happens to fit into my very narrow range – but I haven’t done it in a while. I’m not that sociable.”

The song that reminds me of home

M.I.A. – ‘Galang’

“I live in New York now. For a while, when I was homesick I’d listen to Stormzy, M.I.A., The Specials or The Clash. All of those people that represent what’s great about British culture.”

The song that changed my life

Tom Waits – ‘Underground’

“This came to me when I was first imagining a life outside of Cardiff, so I’d often get into things that offered me insights to things far away. I’d never heard anything like it.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Randy Newman – ‘Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear’

“I like to think I’m a bit like Simon Smith: desperate to please. I used to want ‘Candle In The Wind’, though now I think that might be a bit facetious.”

Jon’s new podcast The Butterfly Effect is available now on Audible


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