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(93)

Rank #73 in Personal Journals category

Music
Society & Culture
Personal Journals

Soul Music

Updated about 17 hours ago

Rank #73 in Personal Journals category

Music
Society & Culture
Personal Journals
Read more

Series about pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact

Read more

Series about pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
6
3
0
2

This is Why Music Exists

By GregBrady99 - Dec 05 2019
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This podcast isn't about the hottest new groups and it doesn't tell you why you should be listening to a particular artist. Soul Music is storytelling by the artists and by regular people. We all have those special songs, the ones that were the soundtrack to our childhood, the ones we fell in and out of love to, the songs we turned to when a parent died, the song we blasted after getting our first job promotion. This podcast picks a song and then lets people tell their story about what that song meant in their life. The result moving, sad, touching, joyous, and beautiful.

Soul Music

By Sooch49 - Aug 18 2016
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Take another little piece of my heart!

iTunes Ratings

93 Ratings
Average Ratings
82
6
3
0
2

This is Why Music Exists

By GregBrady99 - Dec 05 2019
Read more
This podcast isn't about the hottest new groups and it doesn't tell you why you should be listening to a particular artist. Soul Music is storytelling by the artists and by regular people. We all have those special songs, the ones that were the soundtrack to our childhood, the ones we fell in and out of love to, the songs we turned to when a parent died, the song we blasted after getting our first job promotion. This podcast picks a song and then lets people tell their story about what that song meant in their life. The result moving, sad, touching, joyous, and beautiful.

Soul Music

By Sooch49 - Aug 18 2016
Read more
Take another little piece of my heart!

Listen to:

Cover image of Soul Music

Soul Music

Updated about 17 hours ago

Read more

Series about pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact

Hallelujah

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Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' took him years to write. It originally had as many as 80 verses. Recorded for his 'Various Positions' album, it was almost ignored when first released in 1984. Only Bob Dylan saw its true worth and would play it live. John Cale eventually recorded a version which was heard by an obscure musician called Jeff Buckley.

The song has been covered by hundreds of artists including Rufus Wainwright, K.D.Lang and Alexandra Burke.

We hear from those whose relationship with the song is deep and profound: singer Brandi Carlisle listened to it over and over again as a troubled teenager; it became a sound-track to James Talerico falling in love and Jim Kullander made a connection with the song after the death of his wife.

Apr 18 2015

27mins

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Mozart's Clarinet Quintet

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Mozart's Clarinet Quintet

Written in 1789, two years before Mozart's death, this first ever work for string quartet plus clarinet remains a firm favourite for music lovers around the world. In this programme Professor Paul Robertson describes how his wife played this piece to him whilst he lay in a coma. Clarinettist Peter Furniss tells of the solace the slow movement provided his mother as she lay dying. And Alex Smith explains the importance of this piece in his work to help children with autism, Asperger's, dyslexia and other childhood disorders.

Mar 01 2011

27mins

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Wichita Lineman

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Wichita Lineman, the ultimate country/pop crossover track, is the subject of this week's Soul Music.

David Crary is a lineman from Oklahoma. He describes his job - storm-chasing to mend fallen power-lines; travelling on 'dirt roads, gravel roads, paved roads... up in the farmlands of Illinois and Missouri... down south in the Swamplands... it ain't nothing to swerve in the middle of the road in your bucket-truck to miss an alligator '.

He recalls the first time he heard Wichita Lineman, travelling in the back of his family's Station Wagon, listening to the radio... thinking that being a lineman 'must be a cool job' if someone's written a song about it. Also a part-time musician, David has recorded his own version of the song which sums up his working life... on the road, working long hours, away from his wife and six kids.

Wichita Lineman was written by Jimmy Webb for the Country star Glen Campbell. It tells the story of a lonely lineman in the American midwest, travelling vast distances to mend power and telephone lines.

Released in 1968 it's an enduring classic, crossing the boundary between pop and country. It's been covered many times, but it's Glen Campbell's version which remains the best loved and most played.

Johnny Cash also recorded an extraordinary and very raw version. Peter Lewry, a lifelong Cash fan, describes how this recording came about, towards the end of Cash's career.

Meggean Ward's father was a lineman in Rhode Island... her memories of seeing him in green work trousers, a plaid shirt and black boots, wrapping his cracked hands in bandages every morning before setting off to climb telephone poles are interwoven forever with Wichita Lineman... as a child she always felt the song was written for her father, who else?

Glen Campbell also gave an interview for this programme. Shortly after the interview was recorded, Campbell went public about his diagnosis of Alzheimer's. His contribution to the programme is brief, and includes an acoustic performance of the song. It was a real privilege to record this, appropriately enough, down the line.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

Aug 23 2011

27mins

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Baker Street

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Gerry Rafferty's glorious and instantly recognisable hit, Baker Street is the subject of this week's Soul Music.

Rafferty died last year (on January 4th 2011) at the age of 63, leaving behind a widely respected musical legacy. The most popular of his tracks is, arguably, Baker Street:

His daughter Martha Rafferty recalls hearing her father develop the melody in the attic of their Glasgow home; the sound of him picking-out the tune on his acoustic guitar would drift through the push-up attic-door, filling the rest of the house with what would become his biggest hit. She describes the inspiration for the lyrics: a book called 'The Outsider' by Colin Wilson which Rafferty was reading at the time. It's about the sense of disconnection from the world that artists often feel. Martha regards Baker Street as the lyrical version of that book.

Other contributors include:

Musician and founder member of Stealer's Wheel, Rab Noakes. He describes how the legal wrangling which followed the break-up of Stealer's Wheel inspired the creation of Baker Street. "Winding your way down on Baker Street, light in your head and dead on your feet, well another crazy day, you'll drink the night away and forget about everything". Although Rafferty was living in Scotland at the time, he had to endure long meetings at his lawyers, and Baker Street was where he'd meet friends and drink, and sing, and talk the night away. The lyrics explore the conflicting thoughts and pressures Rafferty faced: he wanted to continue with his music, but - as Martha says - he had a young family to support and there was pressure to get a 'normal job'.

Singer-songwriter Betsy Cook whose former husband, the late Hugh Murphy, produced Baker Street, plays through the melody on her keyboard and describes what makes the song work musically. She also recalls the emotional impact of hearing it played at Hugh Murphy's funeral.

For poet, Ian McMillan, Baker Street provided the sound track to his student years; and busker Gavin Randle plays it often on Brighton pier with a backdrop of murmurating starlings, a setting sun, and passers-by dancing arm in arm.

Martha Rafferty's interview at the start of the programme is illustrated by an acoustic version of the track played especially for Soul Music by the guitarist Hugh Burns. He played on the original recording, and explains how he achieved the stirring guitar solo at the end of the record.

Also included in the programme is the original demo version of Baker Street, on which Gerry Rafferty plays the famous sax solo on guitar. It was released late last year on a Collector's Edition of the City to City album.

Producer: Karen Gregor (whose first decision when starting work on the programme was not to mention the Bob Holness/saxophone riff urban myth... so there is no word of it anywhere in the programme...!).

Jan 31 2012

28mins

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The Hallelujah Chorus

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Stirring, emotional and unmistakable: The Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah is the subject of this week's Soul Music.
The Alzheimer's Society runs a group called 'Singing for the Brain'. It's for people with dementia or Alzheimers and their carers who come together to sing in a group. As music is tied so closely to emotional memories, often lyrics and music remain firmly fixed in the brain, even though other memories have died away.

Julia Burton of the Alzheimer's Society recalls the power of the Hallelujah Chorus, as performed at a special event by Singing for the Brain groups in Wiltshire and Dorset.

Mrs Vera Fiton, whose late husband - Ted - had dementia talks about how important the weekly singing group was for both of them. Taking Ted from his care home to 'do the Hallelujah' was a weekly highlight, he enjoyed it so much, Vera recalls, that he'd still be singing in the taxi on the way home.

Carol Pemberton, of the Birmingham-based a capella quintet 'Black Voices', took part in the reopening concert of Birmingham Town Hall in 2007. The programme director suggested they sing The Messiah, but not as Handel intended, rather a daring interpretation arranged by Quincy Jones, called the 'Soulful Messiah'. It's a soul/gospel version which has to be heard to be believed! Carol describes performing it as one of the biggest highs of her career to date.

Jennifer Blakeley runs Alphabet Photography, a photo company based in Niagara Falls in Canada. She came up with the idea of staging a Flash Mob to promote her company. The Hallelujah Chorus had long been a favourite piece, and she - along with her local choir - set up a flash-mob in a local shopping mall. The result was emotional, extraordinary... and achieved so much more than the intended aim to boost her business. Passers by , not linked with the choir, joined in... others cried, emotions ran high. And the resulting You Tube video has now attracted over 37 million hits.

Paul Spicer, composer, conductor and organist, describes the historical backdrop to Handel's exhilarating composition.

Producer: Karen Gregor.

Feb 28 2012

27mins

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Rhapsody in Blue

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"I'm convinced it's the best thing ever written and recorded in the history of things written and recorded" - Moby.

Rhapsody in Blue was first heard exactly 90 years ago when it premiered on February 12, 1924, in New York's Aeolian Hall. Through its use at the opening of Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' it has become synonymous with the city that inspired its creation. But for people around the world, George Gershwin's "experiment in modern music" has become imbued with the most personal of memories.

LA based screen writer Charles Peacock reflects on how this piece has become entwined with his life and how, on an evening at the Hollywood Bowl this music "healed him". When Adela Galasiu was growing up in communist Romania, Rhapsody in Blue represented "life itself, as seen through the eyes of an optimist". For world speed champion Gina Campbell, the opening of that piece will forever remind her of the roar of the Bluebird's ignition as it flew through the "glass like stillness of the water" and brings back the memories of her father, the legendary Donald Campbell - it was played at his funeral when he was finally laid to rest decades after his fatal record attempt on Coniston Lake.

Featuring interviews with Professor of Music Howard Pollock and musician Moby.

Apr 01 2014

27mins

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Bach's St Matthew Passion

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Bach's St Matthew Passion was written in 1727 and was probably first performed as part of the Good Friday Service at Thomaskirche in Leipzig. This programme explores ways in which Bach's St Mattew Passion touches and changes people's lives. Guitarist Andrew Schulman describes what happened when he was played this music whilst he was in a coma. James Jacobs talks about the St Matthew Passion providing solace in difficult times during childhood. And singer Emma Kirkby, conductor Paul Spicer and musical historian Simon Heighes explore how the music works and what it's like to perform.

Producer: Rosie Boulton.

Oct 09 2012

27mins

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Brothers in Arms

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An exploration into the enduring appeal of the Dire Straits classic, Brothers in Arms.
Although thought to have been written by Mark Knopfler in response to the Falklands war in the mid 80's, it's a piece that people now associate with many other conflicts ; military, personal and social.
Dire Straits bass player, John Illsley explains why it remains such a special piece for the band, while Marines chaplain, Nigel Beardsley, recalls the important part it's played in the lives of so many soldiers in Iran and Afghanistan and why it's now often heard at military funerals.
The Irish playwright, Sam Millar describes why he based a very personal play around the song and Snuffy Walden, music director of the hit American TV show, The West Wing, talks about how the series writer, Aaron Sorkin insisted on it being used in its entirety during a crucial episode.
Prof Alan Moore of Surrey University explains how it's Knopfler's brilliant use of harmony that gives the song the sense of yearning that has made it into one of the most enduring pop songs of the last century.
Producer: Lucy Lunt.

Oct 08 2012

27mins

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Don't Leave Me This Way

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Don't Leave Me This Way was written in the early 1970s by songwriters Huff, Gamble and Gilbert who were the composers behind the famous black American Philadelphia Sound. It was first performed by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, featuring Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals, and later became a hit for Thelma Houston and the Communards. As the title suggests, the song is all about longing, yearning and loss. Remarkable stories in this edition of Soul Music reflect the pain expressed in this soul classic, including one told by Dr Dan Gottlieb, a quadriplegic therapist who befriended Teddy Pendergrass after he became paralysed in a car accident. Sharon Wachsler recalls dancing to the version made famous by The Communards in 1986 before a devastating illness left her housebound and reliant on her beloved service dog Gadget, who gave her a reason to keep going. When he died, the song was the only way she could express her grief over his loss. The Reverend Richard Coles, formerly of The Communards, talks about the significance of Don't Leave Me This Way as a dancefloor anthem for young gay men in the 1980s that was later to become associated with the AIDS epidemic that took so many of their lives.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Jul 25 2013

27mins

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Tainted Love

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Series about pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.

3/4. Tainted Love

Originally a Motown song written by Ed Cobb and recorded by Gloria Jones, Tainted Love became famous on the Northern Soul scene in the late 1970s. A classic version was later recorded by Soft Cell.

Jan 22 2008

27mins

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What a Wonderful World

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Louis Armstrong recorded this classic in 1967, amidst civil rights demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War. Was it naïve or a powerful anthem for peace?

Oct 14 2008

27mins

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Schubert's Winterreise

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Schubert's Winterreise

Written the year before Schubert's death aged just 31, these 24 songs based on poems by Wilhelm Müller describe a journey that takes us ever deeper into the frozen landscape of the soul. Singers Thomas Hampson, Mark Padmore, Alice Coote and David Pisaro describe the experience of immersing themselves in this music. And Bernard Keefe tells of the time he sang these songs in Hiroshima to survivors of the bomb.
Producer, Rosie Boulton.

Mar 22 2011

27mins

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Bach Cello Suite No 1 in G Major

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Bach's Cello Suite No I in G major is one of the most frequently performed and recognisable solo compositions ever written for cello. Yet it was virtually unknown for almost two hundred years until the Catalan cellist, Pablo Casals discovered an edition in a thrift shop in Barcelona. Casals became the first to record it and the suites are now cherished by musicians across the globe.

The world renowned cellist, Steven Isserlis describes his relationship with the piece and why it still surprises and excites him. Fellow cellists Richard Jenkinson and Jane Salmon talk about the challenge of playing it and we hear from the Dominic Martens, a member of the National Youth Orchestra and his teacher, Nick Jones as they explore the piece together.

Garden designer Julie Moir Messervy, describes how Yo-Yo Ma's recording inspired her to design The Toronto Music Garden and doctor Heidi Kimberly explains why she chose the piece for her wedding and why she believes the suite to have healing powers.

While historian and author, Eric Siblin, reveals the extraordinary history of the suites and why some still argue that they was written by Bach's second wife Anna Magdalena.

Producer Lucy Lunt.

Apr 21 2015

27mins

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Can't Take My Eyes Off You

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Few songs can claim to be - quite literally - as far reaching as the 1967 classic 'Can't Take My Eyes off You'. In this edition of Radio 4's 'Soul Music', we hear from former astronaut Christopher Ferguson who heard this song as an early morning wake-up call aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. And from mum of two Michelle Noakes who sang this classic piece to the baby she was told she may never be able to carry. We also hear from the honeymoon couple whose marriage proposal began with a hundred strong 'flash mob' performance of this track and from Frankie Valli himself, who reflects on one of the most moving performances he ever gave when he sang 'Can't Take My Eyes off You' to a crowd of recently returned Vietnam Veterans. DJ Mark Radcliff recalls the many artists since Valli that have covered this song (not least his mum as she sang along to the Andy Williams version) and composer Bob Gaudio tells us how this now universally famous piece of music began life in a room over looking Central Park with a melody originally penned for a children's nursery rhyme.

Producer: Nicola Humphries.

Dec 12 2013

27mins

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Crazy

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"It's the kind of music that makes you feel like you're just hurting so good"

People of different ages reflect on why the pop country classic 'Crazy' made famous by Patsy Cline brings out such strong emotions in them, including a young woman mourning the loss of a father's love after divorce, broadcaster Fiona Phillips on losing her father to Alzheimers and 87 year old Wayne Rethford who as a young man in 1961 met Patsy Cline and two years later happened upon the crash site where she died after her plane came down in a heavy storm in Tennessee.

"That music becomes embedded in your soul" he says.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Apr 08 2014

27mins

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Gymnopédie No 1

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From the seat of a concert hall piano, Pascal Rogé, one of the world's greatest interpreters of French piano music, leads us through a personal and musical journey of Erik Satie's Gymnopédies. You may not immediately know the title but in hearing just the first few notes you are most likely to know the music.

Erik Satie's Gymnopédies are a collection of short, atmospheric pieces of which Gymnopédie No.1 is perhaps the most popular. Music historian and author Mark Prendergast has studied Satie's work and reveals the complex character of the man who revolutionised the 19th century classical music of Europe. Melbourne based artist Colin Duncan reflects on the music's 'physical form which takes you into space and time' and for him inspired a body of work created in brail. Murder Mystery writer Cathy Ace remembers how this meditative music could shut out the noise of the city as she sped around London in her old brown mini, whilst Mathematician and author Ian Stewart explores the mathematics of this special piece and how music can touch our soul.

Dec 03 2013

27mins

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Mozart's Requiem

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How Mozart's Requiem, written when he was dying, has touched and changed people's lives.

Crime writer Val McDermid recalls how this music helped her after the loss of her father. Hypnotist Athanasios Komianos recounts how the piece took him to the darker side of the spirit world. And a friend of ballet dancer Edward Stierle, Lissette Salgado-Lucas, explains how Eddie turned his struggle with HIV into a ballet inspired by Mozart's music.

Basement Jaxx used the Requiem in their live shows and on their album Scars - Felix Buxton reveals his love for Mozart and the divine nature of the Requiem.

And Mozart expert Cliff Eisen takes us inside the composer's world: how the orchestra and choir conjure visions of funerals, beauty, hellfire and the confusion of death. He recounts how Mozart was commissioned to write the piece by a nobleman who may have intended to pass off the work as his own. The stern challenge faced by people trying to complete the piece are described by composer Michael Finnissy, who himself wrote a completion of the work.

The Requiem was performed at the funerals of many heroic figures - Beethoven, Napoleon and J F Kennedy, among others. Gordana Blazinovic remembers one extraordinary performance during the horrors of the Bosnian war - a show of defiance and grief from the ruins of Sarajevo City Hall.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

Apr 26 2016

27mins

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God Only Knows

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"God only knows what I'd be without you"

For artist Kim Lynch God Only Knows is a song that she has carried with her from the moment her father played it to her mother back in their 1960's London home and it's the song that resonated throughout her parents 65 years together.

Meanwhile in land locked Burundi, another couple are bought together from two very different cultures. Sharing the same hopes and prayers, they began their married life by blending a traditional wedding ceremony with the Californian song that spans decades - and continents - to touch souls wherever it's played.

And across the ocean, Erin Prewitt tells her love story and describes how tragic and unexpected circumstances meant she has had to learn to live out those iconic lyrics and discover what it means to be without the person you love.

With reflections from musician Al Kooper and author Barry Miles.

Produced By Nicola Humphries.

Apr 25 2018

27mins

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The Look of Love

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Series exploring famous pieces of music and their emotional appeal.

Hal David discusses writing The Look of Love with Burt Bacharach, for the soundtrack of the spoof 1967 James Bond film Casino Royale. This classic track, sung by Dusty Springfield, provided the musical backdrop for a love scene between Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress.

Dusty Springfield's former backing singer, Simon Bell, remembers being on stage at the Albert Hall when Dusty laughed her way through a performance of the song, and musician Jonathan Cohen describes how the samba rhythm underscoring Dusty's smooth vocals combine to make this an enduringly popular love song.

It has been covered many times by artists including Isaac Hayes, Gladys Knight and the French singer Mirielle Mathieu. This programme hears from people whose personal memories of love and loss are forever linked with The Look of Love.

Sep 08 2009

27mins

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La Boheme

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"La Boheme is a work of genius, for me it's the perfect opera. There's not a bar or a word or anything you'd want to alter. It just gets to you" - Opera Director John Copley CBE.

For the final programme in this series of Soul Music, we venture back into the Parisian winter of Puccini's beloved 'La Boheme' where legendary Opera Director John Copley CBE reflects on his 40 years of bringing this tale of friendship, love and loss to the stage of the Royal Opera House. Alongside his memories of sharing pasta with a young Pavarotti we hear the stories from those whose lives have been touched by - and often reflect - the essence of this most popular of operas.

From the romantic gesture of a probationary constable serenading his soon to be bus conductress wife in 1950's Torquay to the moment that a devoted husband passed away - La Boheme has touched the lives of opera lovers around the world.

Featuring interviews with author Mavis Cheek and opera devotees Ray Tabb and Nancy Rossi.

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

Dec 09 2014

27mins

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The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel

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The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel. People who connect directly with the lyrics and have a deep personal connection to the song discuss what this masterpiece means to them.

Seamus McDonagh is a former boxer. He describes the tumultuous time he had during and after his famous fight with Evander Holyfield in 1990. He also explains why he identifies closely with the lyrics of The Boxer.

Julie Nimoy is the daughter of Leonard Nimoy and co-producer of the film 'Remembering Leonard Nimoy' which tells the life story of this much loved actor, most famous for playing Mr Spock in Star Trek. The Boxer was his favourite song, and Julie describes exactly what it meant to him both throughout his life, and in its closing moments.

Gary Edward Jones is a singer-songwriter who for years rejected comparisons made of him to Paul Simon. Eventually, he embraced the likeness and his life changed after developing a show called 'Something About Simon - The Paul Simon Story'.

Dave Mason is an amateur guitarist who has found deep meaning in The Boxer; meaning that has changed and grown as he has.

Scroll down for photos, and to the 'Related Links' box to find out more about these interviewees.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Dec 11 2019

27mins

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Farewell to Stromness

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Personal stories about Farewell to Stromness, by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Written in 1980 as a protest against uranium mining in Orkney, the music has touched and changed people's lives. The Orkney landscape which inspired Max's music is described by his partner Tim Morrison. We hear from Rosalind Newton, for whom the music provided peace after the death of her grandmother. Conductor Christopher Warren-Green recalls his performance of the music at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. In Stromness we discover a community coming together to face the threat of uranium mining. Guitarist Sean Shibe and writer Ivan Hewett consider why this simple piece is so subtle and affective. And we hear from Jeana Leslie how the music, with its quiet melancholy inspired by folk music, has became traditional , and was a favourite for Peter Maxwell Davies to perform to visitors at his remote island home.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby

Jul 31 2019

28mins

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Wind of Change

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“I follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park… listening to the wind of change.”

The German rock band Scorpions’ lead singer Klaus Meine was inspired to write Wind of Change at a rock festival in Moscow in the summer of 1989. Politics were rapidly shifting in the Soviet Union at the time as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms. Recalling the peaceful yet revolutionary atmosphere at the concerts, Klaus said “there was a whole new generation of Russian kids that said the Cold War would be over soon - we could literally feel the world changing in front of our eyes”.

No one had any idea that the Berlin wall would come down only a few months later. Wind of Change was released in 1990, and has since become an unofficial anthem for the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany in 1991. The power ballad is one the best-selling singles in history, and popular all over the world.

Featuring interviews with lead singer of the Scorpions Klaus Meine, Russian rock musician Stas Namin, and true stories of what the song means to people who lived in the former USSR.

Producer: Sophie Anton

Jul 24 2019

28mins

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Streets of London by Ralph McTell

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50 years after it was first recorded, Ralph McTell and others discuss a song that was written for a heroin addict, became an anthem against homelessness, and transcended the folk genre to become an enduring classic.

Ralph McTell says he’s thought constantly about the “blip in my graph” that is Streets of London. People say to him “50 years. One hit. You think you’d have given up by now”. But, Ralph says, that’s not why he writes songs. And, of course, he’s written many. Many that he considers far better than Streets of London. But this remains his best known, best loved, and most played track. It was first recorded 50 years ago, in 1969, for his album Spiral Staircase although it wasn’t released as a single until 1974.

Taking part in Soul Music, alongside Ralph, with their stories and memories connected to Streets of London, are:

Jerry Playle, a music producer. His first ever public performance as a teenage guitarist was of Streets of London. The guitar part went well, but when he opened his mouth to sing, he realised - to his horror - that he couldn't...

Gwen Ever, a DJ. He became homeless in the 1980s. It’s the unlikely punk version of Streets of London by the Anti Nowhere League that reminds him of this time.

Maria Bentley-Dingwall, the daughter of Iris Bentley. Iris was the sister of Derek Bentley who was hanged for a murder he did not commit. Iris spent her life campaigning for his conviction to be quashed. Ralph McTell grew up knowing this story, became a friend of the family, wrote a song about the case, and sang Streets of London at Iris Bentley’s funeral.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Jul 17 2019

27mins

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Back to Black

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Amy Winehouse died in July 2011 aged just 27. Back to Black the title track of her second and final album is a torch song to tragic love, addiction and loss. People who loved her and her music talk about how she helped them cope with their own struggles.
Lesley Jamison is now a successful writer but at 27 she was an alcoholic. She stopped drinking the same year that Amy died. Lesley reflects on how her own life could have followed the same path had she gone further into the darkness or the black of drinking and self destruction. Daisy Buchanan tells her story of addictive love and how Back to Black helped her break free. Umaru Saidu was a vulnerable teenager with mental health issues who lost a dear childhood friend when he was 17. He later trained at the Amy's Yard programme and is grateful for the inspiration she gave him. As a young teenager Amy Charles too identified with the pain expressed in Back to Black and says it helped her deal with depression brought on by a spinal injury.
Donald Brackett is the author of Back to Black: Amy Winehouse's Only Masterpiece and believes performing the song may have become traumatic for her in the end as it forced her to relive the emotional pain. Elizabeth Kesses was visiting her terminally ill father at the same hospital where Amy Winehouse was being treated. She recalls seeing her there and hoping she would recover. Sadly it was not to be. But these stories reveal a legacy that goes beyond the music.

Producer: Maggie Ayre

Jul 10 2019

28mins

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Let the River Run

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The story of how a song from a classic 80’s movie became an inspirational anthem for a 21st Century generation.

Carly Simon’s ‘Let the River Run’ was originally conceived as the title track for the 1988 movie ‘Working Girl. It went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also went on to win the affection of people around the world.

Initially thought of as a ‘hymn for New York’, ‘Let the River Run’ encapsulates the spirit of striving for a better life. As Carly Simon puts it herself, “I wanted it to be large, I wanted it to be vast – it’s about bringing forth a common desire into the world”. In more recent years it has become an anthem for Woman's Rights Movements and global initiatives aimed at making a better life for all.

Featuring interviews with: Carly Simon, Ginny Suss (music producer and part of the team who organised the Women’s March on Washington), Ultra Marathon Runner Elisabet Barnes, Nina Ritzen and music from The Resistance Revival Chorus.

Produced by Nicola Humphries

Jan 23 2019

27mins

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Smile

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The music was written by Charlie Chaplin in 1935 for the film 'Modern Times', but the lyrics were only added thirty years later. Chris Philips tells the story of how his grandfather was inspired to write the words when he left his father at boarding school; Gemma Lowery talks about how her son Bradley loved the song; writer Bryony Rheam describes why she associates the song with her grandmother; Marine Lucas remembers flying to Michael Jackson's memorial on hearing the news of his death and author Bob Williams remembers after his father died, his mother sitting on the floor listening to the Nat King Cole version and crying when he came home from school.

Jan 17 2019

27mins

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Schubert’s B-Flat Piano Sonata D960

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The B-Flat Piano Sonata D960, which Schubert completed two months before his death, in 1828, is a vast and complex work. It’s the last of a triptych of piano sonatas that Schubert wrote, possibly in response to the death of his hero Beethoven the year before. Schubert had been a pallbearer at Beethoven’s funeral.

In this programme, pianists Imogen Cooper, Steven Osborne and James Lisney consider what it’s like to play this work. And Andrea Avery and Pamela Rose describe ways in which this sonata has marked and shaped their lives.

Producer: Rosie Boulton

Jan 09 2019

27mins

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Shine On You Crazy Diamond

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Shine On You Crazy Diamond discussed by voices including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.

Understood to have been written about Syd Barrett, their former band member, it’s both a tribute, and a call for him to ‘shine on’ despite suffering serious mental health issues.

In this edition of Soul Music, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd recalls the legendary day that Syd Barrett unexpectedly appeared in the studio where they were recording Wish You Were Here, the album bookended by Shine On. Nobody recognised Syd at first; once handsome and slender, he'd gained weight and shaved his head and eyebrows.

Another contributor to the programme, Anna Gascoigne, talks about the pain of losing her son, Jay. He was a gentle boy, a talented musician, who eventually succumbed to the multiple mental health problems he had battled for years. Shine On You Crazy Diamond, for Anna, speaks directly to her of Jay; he loved Pink Floyd and Shine On was played at his memorial service. Anna, herself, was driven to the brink of suicide by her son’s death. It was the support of her family – including her brother, Paul Gascoigne - that helped her to carry on.

Ed Steelefox, a DJ based in Worcester, describes a New Year’s Eve house-party of a few years ago: as the guests gradually fell asleep he chose to slip out the door leaving a non-stop playlist of different, live, versions of Shine On You Crazy Diamond to penetrate their dreams.

And Professor Allan Moore, a regular Soul Music contributor, takes to the grand piano to play and talk about what it is in the track that is so directly reminiscent of Syd Barrett.

NB: Details of organisations offering information and support are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 566 065. Please scroll further down this page to 'Related Links' for direct links to actionline, and for more information about Jay's story.

Producer: Karen Gregor

Dec 26 2018

27mins

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River

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A new series of Soul Music begins with stories of Joni Mitchell's 'River', from her iconic 1971 album Blue. A song about the breakdown of a relationship and of a longing to be elsewhere that has become a melancholy Christmas anthem.

It's coming on Christmas / They're cutting down trees / They're putting up reindeer / And singing songs of joy and peace / Oh I wish I had a river / I could skate away on....

Emotional true stories of what the song means to different people, including comedian Chris Forbes, who lost his father on Christmas Day; Isobel, who fell sick far from home and understands the longing to be elsewhere captured in the song; Laura, who heard the song while pregnant at Christmastime; writer Rob Crossan, who will forever associate the song with his first love; Canadian poet Lorna Crozier who describes the frozen rivers of her and Joni's Saskatchewan childhood; and from Joni Mitchell's biographer David Yaffe.

Includes a rare live recording of 'River' from a BBC Concert in 1970, hosted by John Peel. The other versions of the song are by (in order of appearance) Joni Mitchell (Blue, 1971), Scott Matthews (Live Session for BBC 6 Music, 2011), Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (Jingle All the Way, 2008) and the Belgian indie choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers (Live Session for BBC 6 Music, 2011).

Producer: Mair Bosworth

Dec 19 2018

27mins

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True Colors

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"Your true colors...are beautiful, like a rainbow..."

Billy Steinberg's lyrics were originally inspired by his mother but his song writing partner Tom Kelly recognised it's universal appeal and with a slight re-write, it became the song that Cyndi Lauper made famous the world over.

Growing up in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ken Kidd could never truly be himself. Watching Cyndi Lauper perform True Colors on MTV showed him that it was OK to be his authentic self. Years later he describes his pride at watching the Rainbow Flag being raised above the Stonewall National Monument as he and other LGBTQ campaigners sang that same song.

Lesley Pyne learnt to sing 'True Colors' with her local choir. It's a song that resonated with her more than she had ever expected. After six attempts at IVF, Lesley had had to come to terms with the knowledge that she wouldn't be able to have children. It wasn't easy. It has taken years of digging deep to work through the grief but now she helps others to find their true colours and firmly believes that they can be beautiful, like a rainbow.

And in 1999, Caroline Paige, a jet and helicopter navigator in the Royal Air Force, became the first ever openly serving transgender officer in the British military. She rose above the extraordinary challenges placed before her to show her 'True Colors' whilst serving her country on the front line in the war on terror.

Featuring songwriter Billy Steinberg and music from The Rock Choir

Produced by Nicola Humphries.

May 02 2018

27mins

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God Only Knows

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"God only knows what I'd be without you"

For artist Kim Lynch God Only Knows is a song that she has carried with her from the moment her father played it to her mother back in their 1960's London home and it's the song that resonated throughout her parents 65 years together.

Meanwhile in land locked Burundi, another couple are bought together from two very different cultures. Sharing the same hopes and prayers, they began their married life by blending a traditional wedding ceremony with the Californian song that spans decades - and continents - to touch souls wherever it's played.

And across the ocean, Erin Prewitt tells her love story and describes how tragic and unexpected circumstances meant she has had to learn to live out those iconic lyrics and discover what it means to be without the person you love.

With reflections from musician Al Kooper and author Barry Miles.

Produced By Nicola Humphries.

Apr 25 2018

27mins

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Prelude a l'Apres Midi d'un Faune by Debussy

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Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun speaks to artists of different kinds. Jamaican poet Ishion Hutchinson recalls hearing it through an open window in Kingston Jamaica and being mesmerised by its beauty, but not knowing what it was, setting off on a quest to find out and to write a poem that captured his feelings about the piece. Babak Kazemi was training to be a doctor in his home city of Tehran when he heard it for the first time. The piece changed his life and led him to abandon his medical studies in Iran to move to the UK to become a professional conductor and composer. Artist Fiona Robinson specialises in interpreting Debussy's works on paper. She explains how she has been moved to visualise the Prelude, while Debussy's biographer Paul Roberts credits it with having changed classical music forever.
Katya Jezzard-Puyraud recalls how the music lifted her out of a difficult time after the birth of her first son and how she uses it now to help people with anxiety and stress to relax.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Apr 18 2018

27mins

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A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum

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A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum: Why has this surreal track remained enduringly popular for over 50 years? Soul Music hears the stories and memories of those who love it.

Released in May 1967, A Whiter Shade of Pale was Procol Harum's first single. It went to No. 1 in the UK, and stayed there for six weeks.

Contributors:

Musicologist, Allan Moore, deconstructs the track and dismisses the almost universally accepted idea that it mimics Bach's Air on a G String.

Film-maker, Chris Rodley, remembers the impact it had on him when he heard it for the first time, in the dead of the night, on Radio Caroline.

Musician, James Pollard, explains how he created a wedding march for a friend using this track as inspiration.

Thriller writer, Nelson DeMille, describes his year in Vietnam as 'the year without music', but A Whiter Shade of Pale is the one song that reminds him of his time there.

Singer, Sarah Collins, suffered a brain tumour shortly after the birth of her second child. Making the decision to sing again was fundamental to her healing process. As her Dad, Phil, explains 'Whiter Shade' is his favourite song. He was very moved when she decided to record it for her YouTube channel.
Produced in Bristol by Karen Gregor.

Apr 11 2018

27mins

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Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

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Actor Clarke Peters narrates a special edition of Soul Music marking fifty years since the assassination of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King on April 4th 1968.

"If in doubt, pray and sing" an activist recalls how music was used as part of Dr King's non-violent resistance movement.

This edition of Soul Music tells the stories of the songs behind the Civil Rights Movement including the spirituals and freedom songs that were integral to the struggle. In the 19th century, music became a tool for protest and resistance among the enslaved peoples of the American South. The programme hears the stories behind some of the most popular anthems and Freedom Songs that were later used as part of the civil resistance movement that eventually led to voting rights and desegregation. From Swing Low Sweet Chariot and We Shall Overcome to Amazing Grace, Strange Fruit and A Change Is Gonna Come, witnesses to and participants in the Civil Rights Movement recall how songs were such a vital part of the story.

Producer: Maggie Ayre.

Apr 04 2018

41mins

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Cerys Matthews' Soul Music Mixtape - Part Two

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Cerys Matthews delves into the archives to put together a specially curated mixtape of her favourite stories from across 25 series of the BBC Radio 4's Soul Music.
Each episode of Soul Music takes a different piece of music - it might be a pop song, or a hymn, or a piece of classical music or world music - and looks at why it moves us and what it means to different people. Cerys's choices include Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, Bob Marley's Redemption Song, Puccini's La Boheme and Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.
Producer: Mair Bosworth.

Feb 12 2018

56mins

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Cerys Matthews' Soul Music Mixtape - Part Three

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Cerys Matthews delves into the archives to put together a specially curated mixtape of her favourite stories from across 25 series of the BBC Radio 4's Soul Music.
Each episode of Soul Music takes a different piece of music - it might be a pop song, or a hymn, or a piece of classical music or world music - and looks at why it moves us and what it means to different people. Cerys's choices include Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, Bob Marley's Redemption Song, Puccini's La Boheme and Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.
Producer: Mair Bosworth.

Feb 12 2018

57mins

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Cerys Matthews' Soul Music Mixtape - Part One

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Cerys Matthews delves into the archives to put together a specially curated mixtape of her favourite stories from across 25 series of the BBC Radio 4's Soul Music.
Each episode of Soul Music takes a different piece of music - it might be a pop song, or a hymn, or a piece of classical music or world music - and looks at why it moves us and what it means to different people. Cerys's choices include Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, Bob Marley's Redemption Song, Puccini's La Boheme and Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come.
Producer: Mair Bosworth.

Feb 12 2018

1hr 4mins

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Kraftwerk: Computer World

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How Kraftwerk's classic album Computer World has changed people's lives. On their first wedding anniversary, David Sanborn and Jennifer Huber remember their Kraftwerk themed celebrations. Ramona Gonzales from the band Nite Jewel recounts how a car crash and a chance encounter with Computer World changed the course of her life. And Andy McCluskey from Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark recalls the Kraftwerk concert that inspired his musical career.

Kraftwerk were forged in the shadow of World War Two, out of a desire to create a new, German music. Uwe Schütte from Aston University explains how Computer World embodies the politics of this time and points the way to a computerized future. Brian Carney recalls how the album's glamour and sheen changed his horizons in the industrial town of St Helens. And in South Central Los Angeles Greg Broussard, aka Egyptian Lover, shows how this album brought love into his life.

Life, love and an electronic future as experienced through the music of this pioneering German band.

Producer: Melvin Rickarby.

Jan 24 2018

27mins

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Boys Don't Cry

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Boys Don't Cry by The Cure is, on the surface, a tribute to teenage angst and a slice of pop perfection. Lol Tolhurst, the band's drummer, wrote the song with his band mates in Robert Smith's parents' house extension.
Poorna Bell saw the song's lyrics echo her husband's struggle with expressing his emotions, and describes the devastating impact which that can have.
Runner Derek Redmond recalls the moment he lost his 'game face' at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and Sara Pacella and Jeffrey Axt chart the changing fortunes of a giant Boys Don't Cry poster.
Producer Sally Heaven.

Jan 17 2018

27mins

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