Soundtrack Of My Life: Zach Braff

Actor and 'Scrubs' fave, Coldplay devotee

The first song I remember hearing

John Denver – ‘Back Home Again’

“My mum loved John Denver… I think she liked that he was very homey. [Sings in John Denver style] ‘Heyyy, it’s good to be back home agaaaiinn’ I dunno, there’s this cosy, warm home vibe that he creates… But my dad would often play old musicals on vinyl. There was a musical called Pal Joey. I remember him playing that a lot.”

The first record I owned


Sheena Easton – ‘9 to 5’

“My father bought me a record player and he hadn’t the faintest idea what to buy for a little boy, so he bought me what he liked which was Sheena Easton! And I remember my two older brothers laughing at me because they were old enough to have their own music taste… I thought I was cool because I was just cranking Sheena Easton on my record player in my bedroom.”

The first gig I went to

Rush at Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1994

“I got so drunk, from forty-ounce beers from some shop that unbelievably sold them to one of us, that I left the concert early and just got on the train and went home. It was before cell phones so my parents couldn’t find me and they didn’t know what happened to me. I’d made this ridiculous, drunk decision as a teenager to be like ‘I’m going home’ and I missed the whole Rush concert. It was a very irresponsible, dangerous decision but I was just like ‘Nope’. I nope’d out of the Rush concert.”

The song I wish I’d written


Elton John – ‘Tiny Dancer’

“I just think it’s such a winner. It’s like one of those songs that everybody loves. It’s universally considered a frigging classic. I love Elton John so much.”

The song I do at karaoke

Billy Joel – ‘Vienna’

“For my birthday one year we had a karaoke band. It’s so much more fun [than standard karaoke] because if you’re not a professional you never get to sing with a band… I have a lot of friends in New York who are Broadway singers so they were mixed in with my non-professional friends and they were getting up there and just belting these songs out. My friends who weren’t in the business were like ‘not going, nope!’ but then they got hammered and they went for it.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

SZA – ‘Kill Bill’

“It’s just so hooky. I think it’s the number two song in the States. It’s just on non-stop. I don’t know much about SZA but that’s what we call an earworm. I’d love to see her live. You got tickets?”

The song that I can no longer listen to

Coldplay – ‘Don’t Panic’

“It’s the first track on [Braff’s 2004 directorial debut] Garden State – and I have such a sentimental attachment to that time of my life… It was a particular time in my life when I was quite depressed and man did that hit me at the right time. And so when I wrote Garden State I wanted to include it because to me it was the soundtrack of my life… Just because you’re successful, it doesn’t mean you’re not depressed. I was going through a rough time and was thrilled to have success but I was still a young man struggling with his own mental health problems and that album [Coldplay’s 2000 debut album ‘Parachutes’] just really spoke to me. It really was a very important album for me. So when I got Garden State made I said: ‘Well, I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford it but man it would be cool if this movie opened with ‘Don’t Panic’.”

The song that makes me want to dance

The Jackson 5 – ‘ABC’

“It gets me every time. I must have first heard it when I was a child. I don’t like to be the person that goes on the dance floor, but I do find that if the right Jackson 5 song plays, everybody has to get on the dance floor.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Sir Mix-A-Lot – ‘Baby Got Back’

“This song got me through a lot of hard times. I would like for it to, not only be played at my funeral, but for everyone to be forced to sing along and gently twerk. Not trousers down. Everyone can keep their trousers up, but the rabbi will say: ‘Please stand, and turn around, and now if you wouldn’t mind, it is the deceased’s request that you gently twerk next to your seats.’ Just a light bop. I don’t want any of the seniors hurting their backs.”

‘A Good Person’, written and directed by Zach Braff, is in cinemas now and on Sky Cinema from April 28

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