Keir Starmer picks Stormzy, Orange Juice and more on ‘Desert Island Discs’

A decidedly eclectic mix from the Labour leader

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has chosen a diverse selection of tracks for his appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Despite insisting no focus groups were involved in his choices, the leader of the opposition appeared to reach out to various wings of the Labour party membership with an eclectic mix – including Stormzy, who famously spoke out in support of Jeremy Corbyn at the last UK general election.

Starmer chose the Artists for Grenfell cover of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ featuring the grime star, saying the song was “a reminder about what politics is really about,” before adding that “my children love Stormzy and so it will remind me of my children.”


The list also included ‘Falling And Laughing’ by Scottish indie-pop band Orange Juice, which Starmer said “captures those early years at uni and beyond.”

Northern soul classic ‘Out on the Floor’ by Dobie Gray was chosen, he explained to host Lauren Laverne, because it reminded him of living “with a group of friends in a really grotty flat above a sauna or a massage parlour that kept interesting hours.”

Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in April 2020. Credit: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

On his inclusion of ‘Three Lions’ by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds, Starmer said: “In order to really appreciate this song you had to be in Wembley in the crowd – I was in the upper tier – for the semi-final of Euro 96 when we’re playing Germany and for the whole stadium to be jumping up and down, rocking to this.”

The Labour leader said his book choice would be “a detailed atlas, hopefully with shipping lanes in it, so I can get myself off this island” and that he would also take a football as his luxury item.


You can listen to Keir Starmer’s Desert Island Discs via the BBC website here. See his full selection below.

01. Dobie Gray – ‘Out On The Floor’
02. Beethoven – ‘The Pastoral Symphony No 6 (fifth movement)’
03. Jim Reeves – ‘Welcome To My World’
04. Orange Juice – ‘Falling And Laughing’
05. The Edwin Hawkins Singers – ‘Oh Happy Day’
06. Beethoven – ‘Piano Concerto No 5 (second movement)’
07. Baddiel, Skinner, and The Lightning Seeds – ‘Three Lions’
08. Artists For Grenfell – ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’

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