Written by Zoe Lyons

Arts

7 Wonders: Zoe Lyons

Every other Friday, we’ll feature a carefully selected, seven-song Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure. Here, comedian Zoe Lyons puts some coin in the Standard Issue jukebox.

lovebox

Zoe at the Lovebox festival.

I have never really been into a particular genre of music. I like to think my music tastes are pretty broad. As a teenager, music was, typically, a massive part of life.

My folks bought me a bulky, glass-cabinet style stereo system and I spent hours in my room on my own listening to my records. I won’t lie, I was a tad odd. I guess I didn’t really fit in and some of my music choices were a bit out of the norm for a 13-year-old-girl.

Here are some of the songs to have seasoned my soul and peppered my life.

Gilbert Bécaud A Little Love and Understanding
The first song I can remember signing along to with the family in the car. My dad recently reminded me of it and sent me a link. I hit play and tears of joy pricked my eyes.

When I hear it, I am immediately whisked back in my mind to sitting in shorts on the hot PVC-covered seats. It is fabulously French, gloriously of its time and Gilbert has a voice that sounds like heaven.

Glen Campbell Wichita Lineman

We lived in America for a while when I was a kid. It was the 70s and, having grown up in rural Ireland, arriving in the States was like an explosion of colour, taste and smell. We had a massive car, with wooden panels down the side. The sky was blue and you could buy bubble gum balls as big as your head.

I loved our time there and feel a real connection with America. I particularly like the incredible landscapes. A lot of music reminds me our time there, but Wichita Lineman is brilliant. It is so evocative, I can feel the mountain breeze. It makes me want to put on a check shirt and go for a long drive in a big fuel-inefficient car with the window down.

Laurie Anderson O Superman

I remember the first time I heard this track like it was yesterday. I was 11, in the back of the car. Dad had the radio on and the DJ was talking about what a strange piece of music it was. More than eight minutes long, weirdly minimalist and, surprisingly, a hit. I fell in love with it instantly. It opened my eyes to possibility. I guess for the first time in my life I became aware of ‘art’. It was music, but not as I had known it. It was something else. It was other.

Grace Jones Slave to the Rhythm

To say I was obsessed with Grace Jones as a kid is an understatement. I had a massive poster of her over my bed, with her sharp, flat-top hair and cigarette hanging from her lips. I played my 12-inch of Slave to the Rhythm so much I nearly wore out the groves in the vinyl. I still think this track is brilliantly produced and play it often. As with Laurie, Grace was more than the music – she was performance personified. The hats, the outfits, the outlandish behaviour – she was, and still is, a total hero for me. I saw her at Lovebox when she plucked a man from the crowd and rode him like a horse up and down the stage. I love you Disgrace Jones.

Jane’s Addiction Stop

One of the best gigs I went to as a student was these guys. It was hot, it was loud, it was pretty full-on. I lost my mates and ended up in a moshpit with a group of bare-chested leather-clad rockers. I had a wonderful time! I went to see them again in London many years later and stayed at the back.

Frank Zappa Watermelon In Easter Hay

A mad genius. Some of his stuff is too out there for me, but there is no denying his incredible expansive talent. A pal at uni introduced me to this epic guitar solo. Quite simply, it’s amazing. I played it to my mum and she was so hooked she added it to her ‘music I want played when I die’ list.

Kate Bush Running Up That Hill

Oh, beautiful, beautiful Kate. What a voice. What a mind. There is no one like her. When tickets went on sale for her gigs at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, I got up super early, wore loose-fitting clothes to facilitate rapid keyboard action and punched away at the keys like a woman possessed to make sure I got the golden ticket. It was worth the effort. Before the Dawn was sublime – I was in rapture.

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Written by Zoe Lyons

Comedian, dog owner, skier, eater, drinker, procrastinator, bad spellor.