My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 6, “These are the days of our lives”, Queen

Bronze statue of Freddie Mercury without tourists.

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It was unlikely that I would be able to complete this little project without including Freddie Mercury somewhere along the line, so let’s get it over with now.
Although Bohemian Rhapsody would be the obvious choice as a track to take with me to a desert island (where nobody would be able to see me “perform”), Freddie holds more for me than just that one, iconic track.
Queen were just about my all-time favourite group, and the years of enjoying their music and always looking forward to their next offering, and whatever surprises that would entail, passed all too soon.
As Freddie’s story unfolded and he began to fade I remember the feelings of helplessness whenever he would be mentioned on the news, and the sense of foreboding that came across.
“These are the days of our lives” was Freddie’s final message to his adoring public.
As the lyrics move from “These are…” to “Those were…” Freddie is preparing us for what we all know but still cannot really believe.
The greatest showman it has ever been my pleasure to see was also the ultimate realist; someone who lived his life to the full, revelled in sharing his unbounded energy with us all through his performances, and took us with him to those last, tragic moments.
I still don’t believe it, even though one could see it in his eyes long before this track was released.
Thank you Freddie. Thank you for giving.
Sleep tight.
(This YouTube video uses clips from Queen Live at Wembley in 1986 behind the song.)

Previous tracks in the series:

Track 5 – Land of Hope and Glory

Track 4 – Qué Será

Track 3 – You can call me Al

Track 2 – We’ve only just begun

Track 1 – Saltwater Joys.

My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 5, “Land of Hope and Glory”

The Proms 2005. Most people sit, while Promena...

Image via Wikipedia

So I’m British and proud of my (imperfect) country.

For those of you who don’t know, each year the good old BBC (“Auntie”) stages and transmits a whole series of Promenade Concerts (The Proms) from the Royal Albert Hall in London.

This year the concerts run from 16th July through to 11th September.

A good range of orchestras and singers, some world famous, some less so, are chosen to perform a varied selection of music over the season.

The traditional highlight of every Proms season though is the “Last Night”.

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My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 4, “Qué Será” or (“Che sarà”)

What ?!

Yes it’s a strange mix this little collection of mine, and still no Motown, Elvis, 12,000 piece orchestra, or “Big Band”. Don’t worry, they’re coming, maybe…

But until then, José Montserrate Feliciano García, (José Feliciano to you and me) who I only actually discovered today, is blind.

Back in 1971 I went on my first ever foreign holiday, a package holiday in C’an Pastilla, Mallorca. My friend Harry Butt (are you out there Harry ?) was supposed to come with me, but he chickened out so I went on my own.

I had a great time even so and, as is always the case with summer holidays, there was one song being played everywhere you went. This particular year it was “Qué Será” by José Feliciano.

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My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 3, “You can call me Al”

I was intending to head off in some sort of chronological order at this point in the series, but I just haven’t been able to resist the urge to dump my favourite track from Paul Simon’s brilliant Graceland album on you.

Far and away one of the greatest albums of all time it has given me untold hours of pleasure listening to Paul’s clever use of African musical themes.

In a way I can almost see a full circle emerging here, because it was this album which awoke in so many people an interest in the music which, in turn, led to an interest in Africa and its people. That spurred extended distaste of the Apartheid movement which eventually led to its downfall and, from that, South Africa is now staging the football World Cup and, once again, the airwaves are filled with African music.

Go Paul !

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My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 2, “We’ve only just begun”

When I was growing up Sunday Lunch was part of our normal routine.

Dad would go to church while Mum did the cooking and we would have the radio on during lunch and list to Family Favourites.

It had originally been called “Forces Favourites” and I am fairly certain that I can remember it from as far back as that.

It was a program where service personnel stationed across the world could write in and request a certain record to be played for their loved ones at home and send them a message.
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My own personal version of Desert Island Discs, Track 1, “Saltwater Joys”

The elements conspired on me earlier today to rekindle some old memories and to bring a special kind of warmth to me that I hadn’t felt for many a long time.

As I mused over the quiet enjoyment of the moment and allowed my mind to follow its own path it bumped into an old fantasy, one which will never come true in the real sense but which I realised that I can live out through the pages of my blog.

I’m one of those people who dreams of, some day, being invited onto “Desert Island Discs“, a long running radio program on the good old BBC. The program has spawned numerous copycats over the years, all based around the theme of “pick some favourite music and tell us how it fits into your life“, and I realised long ago that I was never going to become famous enough to receive my own, personal invitation.

I can, however, reverse the situation and create my own version of the show here, and you are all invited.
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