Rank #1: Hallelujah
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.
Rank #2: God Only Knows
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.
Rank #3: How Great Thou Art
It subsequently become an Elvis Presley classic and as the country and western star , Connie Smith explains, it's the piece she always sings to close her show, the stirring lyrics and soaring melody having the ability to move and inspire audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
We also hear from George Beverly Shea, now a hundred and one but with clear memories of singing it at hundreds of Billy Graham crusades.
Rank #4: What a Wonderful World
Rank #5: Don't Leave Me This Way
Producer: Maggie Ayre.
Rank #6: Mozart's Requiem
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.
Rank #7: Wichita Lineman
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.
Rank #8: Rhapsody in Blue
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.
Rank #9: Boys Don't Cry
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.
Rank #10: Baker Street
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...!).
Rank #11: A Change Is Gonna Come, by Sam Cooke
Producer: Maggie Ayre.
Rank #12: You Are My Sunshine
Producer: Maggie Ayre
Music historian: Paul Kingsbury.
Rank #13: True Colors
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.
Rank #14: Beethoven's Violin Concerto
Producer: Rosie Boulton.
Rank #15: Bach's St Matthew Passion
Producer: Rosie Boulton.
Rank #16: A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
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.
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.
Rank #17: Tainted Love
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.
Rank #18: Rachmaninov, 2nd Piano Concerto
The concerto is also given historical and musical context in the programme by pianists Peter Donohoe and Howard Shelley.
Producer: Rosie Boulton.
Rank #19: The Hallelujah Chorus
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.
Rank #20: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
It accompanied Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on the regular Bombay to Basra route he sailed during his early days in the Merchant Navy.
Archaeologist and crime novelist, Dana Cameron, spent many a long day in a dark, lonely basement analysing artefacts from a merchant's house in Salem, Massachusetts. A CD player was often her only companion and Beethoven's 5th buoyed her through these arduous days working towards her PhD
And for conductor, Christopher Gayford, it was the piece which provided a breakthrough in his musical life. Recalling the time he spent rehearsing it with the Sheffield Youth Orchestra - for a tour in East Germany - he describes the build up to one of the most memorable performances of his career.
Producer: Karen Gregor.