The Musical Bucket List – Which Artists Do You Have To See Before You Die?

For some it’s swimming with dolphins or walking the Great Wall of China. And for other disturbed swathes of the population, it’s meeting Harry Styles, ruffling his glossy mane and bearing his first-born. For lots of us however, our Bucket Lists feature a fair few musical must-sees. What music fan doesn’t have the desperate urge to see our favourite world-class and cult artists before we – and let’s be frank, before they – die. See, some of these guys and gals ain’t as young as they used to be.

Last weekend I saw a performance from one of the last living progenitors of rock’n’roll, the mighty Little Richard. Without this curly-quiffed icon there would be no Elvis. No David Bowie. No Tina Turner. No Rolling Stones. No Prince. At 80 years old, the man is an icon through and through. And he’s also getting on a bit. As such, I headed to Las Vegas to see him perform in the middle of classic car show at a rockabilly festival, because you never know, it might be my last chance.

Sure, he may not have been at the peak of his powers – his voice certainly ain’t what it used to be and at one point he said how great it was to be playing Nashville – but to hear him rattling his way through ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’ and then indulging in some bizarre stage banter about spinach, ginger beer and pregnant dogs was outrageously special.

I’m already fortunate enough to have caught a bunch of supremely talented artists who are now playing their only shows at that great gig in the sky. Way back in 2001, a teenage me wiggled my way into the middle of the front row for a mind-blowing, hip-rattling show from James Brown – with capes and all – at the now defunct Ocean venue in Hackney. In the same year, at Finsbury Park’s free Rise Festival I heard rocksteady legend Desmond Dekker sing ‘Israelites’.

Shivers abounded when I saw Brit-folk legend John Martyn performing his 1973 classic ‘Solid Air’ at the Barbican, I definitely split my pint of snakebite over a grumpy goth whilst moshing to The Cramps’ greasy garage at The Astoria before the untimely death of Lux Interior and Eartha Kitt purring and high-kicking her way through The Pigalle Club only months before her death in 2008 will stay with me forever. As will seeing The E Street Band before sax man Clarence Clemons passed on, Amy Winehouse gracefully punching some guy in the front row at Glastonbury, and dancing like an utter idiot as John Peel DJed The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ at Fabric.

Next up on my Musical Bucket List? Tom Waits. Still kicking myself for missing his ‘Glitter and Doom’ tour five years ago, from now on in, wherever he plays and whenever he plays, I’m there. And I might not be a religious woman, but I’m also itching to take in a spine-tapper of a sermon from the Reverend Al Green at his Memphis church. Here’s the rest of the NME with their own Musical Bucket Lists…

Lucy Jones – Kate Bush
It’s never going to happen but I’m desperate to see that legend Kate Bush. She’s played live just a handful of times and her only tour took place in 1979. I’d pay around £500 to see ‘Running Up That Hill’ live. Probably more. The thought of it gives me butterflies.

Kevin Perry – NWA
If I had a festival and a few swimming pools full of cash, I wouldn’t be throwing them at The Smiths or Oasis. The reformation I want to see is Dr Dre getting the gang back together to bring the power of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ back to life. Sadly, the dearly departed Eazy-E is no longer with us – but if a hologram’s good enough for Tupac…

Tom Howard – Tom Waits
I just want to feel that gravelly voice of his grazing the inside of my brain.

Matthew Horton – Talking Heads
There are obstacles to this, of course – they split up in acrimony; Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison don’t like David Byrne anymore; he probably doesn’t like them either – but hope springs, right? I wasn’t of gig-going age when Talking Heads were doing their thing and I’ve felt a deep lack of jerky funk in my soul ever since. Still, The Stone Roses said “never again”, so never say never again. So to speak.

Priya Elan – David Bowie
It’s got to be Bowie but a specific Bowie. DB in all his Thin White Duke, sylph-like cocaine glory with Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick re-creating the wunder-funk of ‘Station To Station’. They’d be selling a peppers and milk drink at the bar too, obvs.

We want to know which artist you HAVE to see before you or they die? Let us know in the comments below