Spotify Playlist: Simon James’ Top 10 Picks

We’re collaborating with some UK artists to discover some of their most influential artists and delve into their musical upbringings! This time, it’s the turn of singer-songwriter Simon James to choose 10 of his favourites:

John Mayer – Queen of California 

I love John Mayer, I love the way he blends his influences of country, blues and jazz to create his own individual style. I particularly love this song, its one of those Sunday morning songs that cant help but make you feel good. Stick it on, grab a coffee and kick back.

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

Fleetwood Mac are my joint favourite band ever, i don’t think there’s a song I don’t like. I chose this because it takes me back to my youth when I was learning guitar, one of the first songs I learned on guitar when I was 7, again I love the fact they have their totally unique sound, not fitting into any prescribed box. And the harmonies rock!

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Tupelo

My absolute songwriting hero, the fact he’s come through so much with his addictions to now write the most beautifully crafted songs ever. He writes those songs that you think ‘God I wish I’d written that’ Tupelo is definitely one of them. Its like swimming in cream 🙂 so laid back. His lyrics are masterful, no wonder he won 2 grammies.

Jason Isbell – Stockholm

Another one by Jason Isbell, I saw him playing this on Letterman and was totally transfixed. Its about his journey from addiction to his ‘new life’ Just a brilliant, simple, beautiful song. His wife sings amazing backing on it too. I love this song to bits.

John Moreland – No Glory in Regret

John Moreland is another songwriting hero of mine. His lyrics are just incredible. “Cause I was standing on a dead end drive, With my pride, thumbing for a ride, And somehow I ended up next to you” Love it. His songs are so well crafted, going to places you don’t expect, when most songwriters would be happy he goes one further.

Don Henley – Boys Of Summer

Ah my guilty pleasure. I remember being 14 and this being the anthem of my youth. Ive always, always loved the eagles, and still do. Don Henley is another great lyricist and what a beautiful voice. This song is one of those that Ive played pretty much throughout my life. One of the best songs to come out of the early 80’s in my opinion!

Don Henley – Bramble Rose

Another by Don Henley, I LOVE this album and this song just hits me right in the heart. Not only is it good enough for him but good enough for Miranda Lambert and Mick Jagger to guest on. Simple, classic, beautiful.

Queen – Love Of My Life

Growing up I was a huge Queen fan, one of the only acts that can write in any genre of music and create incredible songs, but still somehow sound like Queen. I was lucky enough to see them live at their last concert with Freddie at Knebworth on the Kind of Magic tour. Simply bloody awesome. This is probably one of my all time favourite songs, when Freddie and Brian played this in front of 100,000 people it was hard not to be in tears. What a beautiful song.

John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads

Another one of my all time favourites, I learned this when I was about 10 years old. Ive played this song probably more than any other when doing covers. It’s a proper old classic but still works as well today as it always has done. I challenge anyone not to sing along… especially after a few beers 🙂

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen… an absolute master. This song has been done a million times and it always sounds great (well nearly always). This particular version is my favourite song of all time. It’s my funeral song. The lyrics are just mind blowing, it never fails to move me. It’s so incredibly sexual but all done in brilliant metaphors. The simplest of chord sequences, nothing complex, just a guy and a guitar and some brilliant lyrics. If you don’t like this song you have no soul.

“She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair, and from your lips you’re drooling Hallelujah…”