Cover image of FT Life of a Song
(13)
Arts
Performing Arts

FT Life of a Song

Updated 5 days ago

Arts
Performing Arts
Read more

Each month FT music critics and contributors discuss the story of a song, from its origins and early recordings through cover versions good and bad. Formerly called FT Arts.

Read more

Each month FT music critics and contributors discuss the story of a song, from its origins and early recordings through cover versions good and bad. Formerly called FT Arts.

iTunes Ratings

13 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
0
1
0
0

Really? Not.

By Shankar Fan - Aug 21 2019
Read more
And The Beatles 1967 Sergeant Pepper album doesn’t beat out the 1968 album mentioned in this podcast as the first concept album? What are you thinking? This is just wrong wrong wrong. And I don’t like any of the tunes played either. Sorry! Not.

Love it!

By ALEX> - Oct 12 2017
Read more
This is a fantastic show! Really love it and the song histories they go through!

iTunes Ratings

13 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
0
1
0
0

Really? Not.

By Shankar Fan - Aug 21 2019
Read more
And The Beatles 1967 Sergeant Pepper album doesn’t beat out the 1968 album mentioned in this podcast as the first concept album? What are you thinking? This is just wrong wrong wrong. And I don’t like any of the tunes played either. Sorry! Not.

Love it!

By ALEX> - Oct 12 2017
Read more
This is a fantastic show! Really love it and the song histories they go through!

Listen to:

Cover image of FT Life of a Song

FT Life of a Song

Updated 5 days ago

Read more

Each month FT music critics and contributors discuss the story of a song, from its origins and early recordings through cover versions good and bad. Formerly called FT Arts.

The life of a song: When the Levee Breaks

Podcast cover
Read more
From recordings by Memphis Minnie and Led Zeppelin to sampling by Dr Dre, Eminem and Massive Attack, David Cheal traces the various incarnations of ‘When the Levee Breaks’. Credits: Columbia, Atlantic, The Chronic Interscope For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Feb 20 2015

5mins

Play

Real to reel

Podcast cover
Read more
Documentary films are breaking UK box office records and are, arguably, having more success than ever before. As "The Queen of Versailles", one of the hits of this year's Sundance Film Festival, heads for UK cinemas, Raphael Abraham discusses the new appetite for reality with critics Nigel Andrews and Leslie Felperin For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 23 2012

19mins

Play

The life of a song: Me and Mrs Jones

Podcast cover
Read more
From Billy Paul’s adulterous original in 1972 to Amy Winehouse's gender-bending twist on the song 30 years later, Ludovic Hunter-Tilney gets to grips with 'Me and Mrs Jones'. Credits:Philadelphia International, 143, Island For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 17 2015

6mins

Play

Florence and the machines: the British Library Sound Archive

Podcast cover
Read more
Peter Aspden visits the basement treasure-house where recordings of Florence Nightingale, 1940s electronica and other rarities are stored alongside some equally exotic audio technology For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 09 2015

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Mack the Knife

Podcast cover
Read more
How did a dirge-like song about a serial killer written by a Marxist playwright and a left-wing composer become a swinging jazz classic and global commercial success? David Cheal follows a trail not yet gone cold. Credits: Naxos; Decca Music Group Ltd; Not Now Music; Delta For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 15 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: This Land Is Your Land

Podcast cover
Read more
Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" has been used in the campaigns of George HW Bush, Obama and, most recently, Bernie Sanders. Richard Clayton investigates the colonial overtones and contested legacy of America's alternative national anthem.

Credit: Smithsonian Folkways Recording, Daptone Records, Delta, North Face and Jib Jab. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 15 2016

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Lady Marmalade

Podcast cover
Read more
"Lady Marmalade" began life as a sleazy soul anthem by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan before being funked up by Labelle, given an R&B twist by Sheila E and overlaid with cheesy rap for the film "Moulin Rouge". Ian McCann charts its evolution.
Credit: Epic, 20th Century Records, Fania, Warner Bros., Polydor Associated Labels For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 04 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Sunshine of Your Love

Podcast cover
Read more
An unforgettable track whose lyrics emerged from an all-night writing session, “Sunshine of Your Love” has been covered by Jimi Hendrix and Ella Fitzgerald. David Cheal seeks the source of the song’s primal brilliance. Credits: Legacy Recordings; Polydor Ltd; LRC Ltd; Groove Merchant Records For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 08 2016

5mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Auld Lang Syne

Podcast cover
Read more
A ballad as much about reunions as separations, Auld Lang Syne can signify everything from the year's end, to closing time in Japanese department stores. David Cheal explores the many incarnations of this sentimental Scottish song. Credit: Culburne Records; Lismor Recordings; Anti/Epitaph For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 23 2015

5mins

Play

The Life of a Song: In The Air Tonight

Podcast cover
Read more
The coolification of Phil Collins is among pop's most curious turnarounds. Richard Clayton explains what the song owes to gangsta rap, "gated reverb" - and a drumming gorilla. Credit: Rhino, Atlantic, Def Jam For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 29 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Stairway to Heaven

Podcast cover
Read more
David Honigmann follows Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway' from its origins in a Welsh cottage to 'Wayne's World', the White House and bedrooms everywhere For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 30 2016

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Hallelujah

Podcast cover
Read more
Leonard Cohen's most famous song nearly wasn't released after being rejected by his record label. It is now among the most covered songs, with notable contributions from Jeff Buckley, John Cale and Rufus Wainwright.

Credits: Sony Music, UMOD, Syco Music, Columbia, Nonesuch For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Nov 11 2016

8mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Everything I Own

Podcast cover
Read more
Before "Everything I Own" became a reggae classic, it was an ode to paternal love by Bread's David Gates. Ian McCann traces the history of one of the 1970's greatest romantic ballads. Credit: Rhino, Parlaphone UK, Sanctuary, Atlantic Records For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 06 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Fast Car

Podcast cover
Read more
Richard Clayton on how Tracy Chapman's searing ballad of low income life carried her to global acclaim.

Credits: Elektra, King Tubby's Music, Virgin EMI For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 25 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Surf's Up

Podcast cover
Read more
A pocket symphony, “Surf’s Up” was written by Brian Wilson at the peak of his creative brilliance. David Cheal discusses the Beach Boy who didn’t surf, and how he caught the wave of emerging 1960s counterculture. Credits: Capital Catalog, Smog Veil Records For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 22 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Grandma's Hands

Podcast cover
Read more
How did Bill Withers' little blues inspire a 1990s R&B hit and a Simon Cowell-produced football anthem? Ian McCann charts its history. Credit: Columbia, Legacy, Sony, Ministry of Sound, Syco

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 25 2016

6mins

Play

The Hits that Shook the World

Podcast cover
Read more
In a special episode to mark the publication of The Life of a Song book, FT pop critics Helen Brown, David Cheal and Ludovic Hunter-Tilney debate whether a song can really change the world. Hear the stories behind the hits, from Bowie's 'Starman' to Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)'. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 15 2017

36mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Like a Rolling Stone

Podcast cover
Read more
Peter Aspden deconstructs the creation of Bob Dylan's legendary song over the course of a single day in the studio.

This podcast was originally published in November 2015; it is republished in celebration of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature.

Credits: Columbia/Legacy For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 14 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: War

Podcast cover
Read more
Which song links a Haile Selassie UN speech with a Bob Marley vamp and the moment Sinead O’Connor was booed by 20,000 Bob Dylan fans? David Honigmann discusses “War”. Credit: Sony Legacy, 1992 Island Records, Rastafari Records, Keltia Musique For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Feb 12 2016

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Hotel California

Podcast cover
Read more
Peter Aspen looks at how The Eagles turned a few improvised chords into one of the most iconic, and enigmatic, rock songs of the 1970s. Credits: Rhino/Elektra, Parlophone UK, UMG Recordings, Elemental Records, Sony Music Entertainment

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 03 2017

6mins

Play

Sincerity or self-branding: what defines millennial music?

Podcast cover
Read more

From the unstoppable rise of hip-hop to the 'millennial whoop', what does today's new music sound like? And how has social media changed the relationship between artists and fans?


Harriet Fitch Little, India Ross and Griselda Murray Brown discuss Drake, Cardi B and DJ Khaled - in particular 'Wild Thoughts' ft. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller from 2017, which leans heavily on the melody and mood of Santana's 1999 hit 'Maria Maria', the coming-of-age soundtrack for the oldest cohort of millennials. 


Warning: this podcast contains a live 'millennial whoop'.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 20 2018

21mins

Play

Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights

Podcast cover
Read more

When "Wuthering Heights" was released 40 years ago this year, it became the first song written and performed by a woman to reach number one in the UK charts. What was the song's — and Bush's — special appeal? Why have there been more parodies than straight covers? And why is it so popular now, with re-enactments of the music video taking place around the world? FT music writers Jude Rogers, Helen Brown and David Cheal discuss the song and its afterlife.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 15 2018

26mins

Play

1968: The Year that Music Changed

Podcast cover
Read more

Set against a backdrop of protest and upheaval, the songs released in 1968 represent a turning point in music. FT pop writers David Cheal and Peter Aspden are joined by author Tot Taylor to debate the year's most important songs and artists, from Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Beatles and Pink Floyd to Joni Mitchell and Tim Buckley.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jan 23 2018

28mins

Play

The best Christmas music: a definitive guide

Podcast cover
Read more

What makes a good Christmas song? Should it be cheesy or serious? And why do millennials love them? 

FT pop writers discuss festive classics old and new - from carols to Mariah Carey, Greg Lake to Phil Spector, Sufjan Stevens to Run-DMC. Plus, which 2017's best Christmas song: Gwen Stefani's 'You Make it Feel Like Christmas' or Sia's 'Santa's Coming for Us'?

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Dec 19 2017

19mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Strange Fruit

Podcast cover
Read more

Billie Holiday’s 1939 'Strange Fruit' was called 'the first significant protest in words and music, the first unmuted cry against racism'. Other singers attempted it, from Nina Simone and Diana Ross to Jeff Buckley and Kanye West. But could any match the power of the impassioned original? FT pop writers David Cheal, Fiona Sturges and Helen Brown discuss the song's origins and afterlife.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Nov 17 2017

22mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Make You Feel My Love

Podcast cover
Read more

From Bob Dylan to Adele, the song that was first called 'a spare ballad undermined by greetingcard lyrics' is now a karaoke tearjerker. FT pop writers David Cheal and Helen Brown debate the origins, meanings and cover versions of 'Make You Feel My Love'.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Oct 19 2017

15mins

Play

The Hits that Shook the World

Podcast cover
Read more
In a special episode to mark the publication of The Life of a Song book, FT pop critics Helen Brown, David Cheal and Ludovic Hunter-Tilney debate whether a song can really change the world. Hear the stories behind the hits, from Bowie's 'Starman' to Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)'. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Sep 15 2017

36mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Wild Thing

Podcast cover
Read more
It achieved distinction in an era of elemental riffs, and journeyed effortlessly to and fro across the Atlantic. It also marked a turning point in the career of the greatest guitarist who ever lived: Jimi Hendrix. FT pop writers Peter Aspden and David Cheal discuss "Wild Thing" 50 years after Hendrix's groundbreaking performance at the Monterey Pop festival. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Aug 14 2017

17mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel

Podcast cover
Read more
The singer’s old label boss called the song ‘a morbid mess’, but it shot to number one in the US. Ahead of the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death in August, FT pop writers Peter Apsden and David Cheal discuss the song's origins, dark appeal and afterlife.

Credits: 104pro Media, Legacy Recordings, Entertain Me Ltd, Spectrum, Omnivore Recordings, Vengeance Records For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jul 18 2017

18mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Radiohead's No Surprises

Podcast cover
Read more
Twenty years after they headlined Glastonbury, Radiohead return to the British music festival. FT pop writers Ludovic Hunter-Tilney and David Cheal discuss the band's lullaby of despair 'No Surprises' from their 1997 album OK Computer.

Credits: Sire/Warner Bros, mudhutdigital.com, XL Recordings, Easy Star, SKIP Records
For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Jun 13 2017

20mins

Play

The Life of a Song: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

Podcast cover
Read more
David Honigmann looks at how a sleeping Keith Richards dreamt up a riff that would later develop into a number one hit for Rolling Stones and become one of the most recognisable rock anthems of all times. Credits: ABKCO Records Inc, Universal International Music B.V, Rhino Atlantic, Virgin Records Ltd.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 21 2017

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Podcast cover
Read more
David Cheal looks at how Bob Dylan took inspiration from an old Scottish border ballad while writing this era-defining apocalyptic vision of what he saw as the violent, ignorant and hypocritical socio-political landscape of 1960s America. Credits: Sony Music Entertainment Inc, A Wing & A Prayer Ltd, Vanguard Records, Virgin Records. Patti Smith Nobel ceremony recording courtesy of: Nobelprize.org. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 14 2017

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Je T'aime... Moi Non Plus

Podcast cover
Read more
Helen Brown looks at how Serge Gainsbourg's infamously salacious love song originally written for Brigitte Bardot would become a hit for the French composer and his English girlfriend Jane Birkin, despite facing widespread bans and condemnation. Credits: Mercury France, Mercury Music Group, Rarity Music, Parlophone UK, Barclay. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

May 07 2017

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: The Message

Podcast cover
Read more
Ian McCann takes a look at one of the greatest and most culturally influential rap songs by genre pioneers Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. A hit urban anthem, it almost wasn't recorded... Credits: Castle Communications, Warner Bros, Wagram Music, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Atlantic Records

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 30 2017

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: O Sole Mio

Podcast cover
Read more
Ian McCann looks at how a turn-of-the-century Neopolitan ballad was adapted into a hit for Elvis, before becoming an anthem for ice cream lovers and football fans alike. Credits: Bongiovanni, Delta, AP Music Ltd, Nuova Canaria, Randy's Group, Inc, Autarc Media GmbH

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 23 2017

7mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Tainted Love

Podcast cover
Read more
Sue Norris explores how a B-side by a little known American singer, Gloria Jones became a cult hit on the 1970s English northern soul scene, before being turned into one of the most recognizable pop songs of all time by Soft Cell. Credits: Universal Music TV, Universal Music Enterprises, Parlophone UK, Interscope Records, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Tacca Musique

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 23 2017

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Let It Go

Podcast cover
Read more
Helen Brown looks at how the most successful Disney song of all time became an unlikely favourite among prisoners and a "coming out anthem" for the LGBT community. Credits: Walt Disney Records, Black Crow Records
For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 16 2017

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Hotel California

Podcast cover
Read more
Peter Aspen looks at how The Eagles turned a few improvised chords into one of the most iconic, and enigmatic, rock songs of the 1970s. Credits: Rhino/Elektra, Parlophone UK, UMG Recordings, Elemental Records, Sony Music Entertainment

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Apr 03 2017

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: Midnight Train to Georgia

Podcast cover
Read more
Sue Norris on how Cissy Houston and Gladys Knight respectively transformed the sound, and meaning, of Jim Weatherly's country number. Credits: X5 Music Group, Jim Weatherly, Carinco AG, Capitol Records LLC.

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 26 2017

6mins

Play

The Life of a Song: 9 to 5

Podcast cover
Read more
Harriet Fitch Little on how Dolly Parton's anti-work anthem went from the movies to the White House to a muddy field in Glastonbury. Credits: Sony Music Entertainment, Capitol Steps, Pumpin' UK Records, Dolly Records, BBC/Glastonbury

For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Mar 19 2017

7mins

Play