Soundtrack Of My Life: Mark Strong

The actor behind all of your favourite baddies

The first song I remember hearing

Lieutenant Pigeon – ‘Mouldy Old Dough’

“You’re going to think I’m insane, but in the ’70s this was all over the radio. It was a chugging, cheerful, old-school number played by a bunch of guys all dressed as pirates who looked like they were having a great time. “Mouldy old dough” is all that’s said throughout the whole thing, in this really growly voice. I wanted to be in a band like that, having the fun it looked like they were having.”

The song that made me want to be in a band


Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

“I was at school when punk happened, around 1977. My friends and I went out, all bought an instrument, formed a band and started making some noise. I remember seeing the Sex Pistols on Top of the Pops, and thinking it was the most dangerous thing ever. I think somebody threw a plastic Formica chair across the stage at some point. It was so opposite to everything that I had been taught as a young man about how you should behave and what the world was like. Johnny Rotten has always been a great front man. He’s got that fantastic sneering arrogance of looking like he’d rather be somewhere else.”

The first song I fell in love with

Ike & Tina Turner – ‘Whole Lotta Love’

“I fell in love with that riff – da-na-na-na-na. Then Ike & Tina Turner did a cover of it, and it is just the most amazing track. They take their time with the intro, use the guitar riff, and then you’ve got Tina‘s voice over the top of it. It’s one of the best covers I’ve ever heard.”

The first album I bought


Sex Pistols – ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’

“When I was about 14, I queued up to buy it at a record shop in Norwich when it came out – back then you had to literally queue in line because they only had a certain number of them. Once I got it, it was so precious, holding it in my hands.”

The first gig I went to

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1975

“I was about 11. They’ve got loads of tunes that became quite commercial, like ‘Mr Soft’ and ‘Make Me Smile’. Steve wore a bowler hat and heavy black kohl eye makeup, so he looked really interesting. I remember at that gig I bought two Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel scarves and tied one round each wrist and waved them around.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Robin S – ‘Show me love’

“Now this is a nod to my clubbing years. It’s an incredibly infectious dance tune, and I defy you not to tap your toes when you hear it.”

The song I wish I’d written

Talking Heads – ‘Once in a Lifetime’

“Not only is it a great tune, but it’s also psychologically fascinating because it’s about living your life in a way that you’re unaware of what’s going on around you. It’s quite profound to try and knock people out of their complacency in life – and really see what’s important. It’s about not just worrying about living in your “perfect house with your perfect wife,” as the lyrics go. Don’t waste your life thinking that everything that you’ve got is all you need, and look outside of that.”

The song I do at karaoke

Elton John – ‘Daniel’

“When I was a kid, I was given a book and it was called ‘The One Who Writes The Words For Elton John’ by Bernie Taupin, who wrote all of Elton’s lyrics. I used to play my Elton John cassettes and sing along with the lyrics from the book. I still know them all, so if I do end up at karaoke that’s what I pick out.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Run-DMC – ‘Peter Piper’

“This has a fantastic, crazy bell sound which suddenly kicks in, and it’s like the best use of bells I have ever heard on a track. I looked it up, and it’s actually a sample from a Bob James’ song, ‘Take Me To The Mardi Gras’, which I didn’t know until now.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Deee-Lite – ‘Groove Is In The Heart’

“This is an interesting one, isn’t? I wouldn’t want boring, classical music, or tunes that are designed to cater for the fact that it’s a sad event. I’d want people to leave tapping their toes and having a good time rather, so I’d choose ‘Groove is in the Heart’. It’s such a positive, fun tune.”

Mark Strong stars in season two of Temple, airing now on Sky Max and NOW

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