Soundtrack Of My Life: Jean Smart

Star of 'Hacks' and 'Babylon', catch her tangoing through Tesco

The first song I remember hearing

Dick Todd – ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’

“My mother used to sing around the house a lot. When I was really small I didn’t like her to do it so I would tug on her apron. I don’t know why. I liked this one though. It’s a beautiful, old song that she used to sing in the officer’s club when she was in the Navy during World War Two.”

The first album I bought


The Supremes – ‘Greatest Hits’

“I’m sure I must have bought some albums [before], but this sticks in the mind. I loved The Supremes and I played this in my college room all the time. I went to the University Of Washington in Seattle, where I grew up, from 1969 to 1974. Eventually, somebody swiped this album and I was heartbroken.”

The first concert I went to

Three Dog Night in Seattle, early 1970s

“I was 19. They were huge! But what was crazy was – and I’m really dating myself – their warmup act was Ike and Tina Turner. Yes! I remember watching this woman on stage. She had long, auburn hair and she had this amazing figure. She was wearing this very short, crocheted lime-green dress and she did not stop moving for an hour and a half. She was a force of nature.”

The song that reminds me of home


‘The Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomond’ (traditional Scottish song)

“I have my Scottish grandmother’s piano [in my house], and I have vivid, wonderful memories of sitting at that piano with her at her house. She came here from Scotland in the early 1900s and my father was born shortly thereafter. My grandmother would sing this song and play on the piano. [Sings] ‘You take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore you‘.”

The song I wish I’d written

The Turtles – ‘Happy Together’

“When I was in high school, I loved The Turtles and this song reminds me of one of my high school boyfriends. It’s so happy and romantic. It would’ve been fun to have written it.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Gayle Peevey – ‘I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas’

“It’s an old song that I used to think was sung by an adult trying to sound like a child, which made it even more annoying. But I found it was actually a 12-year-old girl who was a mini Ethel Merman or something. [Sings in a nasal voice] ‘I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, only a hippopotamus will do‘. And they play it every Christmas and it makes me insane.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels – ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’

“I don’t like people who don’t have the compulsion to get up and dance when this comes on. There’s something wrong with them. I’m not the first one on the dance floor at a wedding, but in private I’m all over the house. Occasionally in the supermarket, if they’re playing something great on the intercom, I have been known to come down the aisle…”

The song I want played at my funeral

Tchaikovsky – ‘The Waltz Of The Flowers’ from The Nutcracker

“I’ve told my kids they have to play this or I’ll come back and haunt them. To me, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. I wish more modern, young musicians would listen to certain classical pieces and think: ‘a human being sat down and wrote that’. What we’re capable of is so wonderful. I want that cranked up as loud as it can be at my funeral.”

‘Babylon’, starring Jean Smart, is in cinemas now

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