British Deputy Ambassador Patrick Davies’ Favourite Songs from Both Sides of the Pond

As David Bowie once said, “When I heard Little Richard, I mean, it just set my world on fire.” The US and the UK share many ties — but music transcends. It’s no wonder that 6 of the top 10 most-streamed songs on Spotify this week were by British or American artists. Here, our Deputy Ambassador shares a few of his classic picks from either side of the pond.


American Songs

  1. Becky Warren, “Call me Sometime”: Powerful song from a great new album (War Surplus) by a former member of British Embassy staff.

2. Billy Joel, “New York State of Mind”: A classic song from a huge talent. One of my “go to” karaoke numbers too!

3. Carole King, “So far Away”. Every Carole King song is timeless. This one is particularly apt for travelling diplomats.

4. The Killers, “Mr Brightside”. From their fantastic debut album. One of the Killers’ many examples of great American rock songs.

5. Nirvana, “Smells like Teen Spirit”. Iconic American alternative rock and a song that became an anthem for so many.

6. Norah Jones, “Don’t know Why”. A gifted musician with a wonderfully expressive voice. Perfect music to relax too.

7. Prince, “When Doves Cry”. A classic from the 1980s from a man who rewrote what music could be about.

8. R.E.M., “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight”. One of REM’s many hits that reminds me of my time at university in the beautiful city of Bath in the UK.

9. Maroon 5, “Sunday Morning”. Just one of the great tracks from Maroon 5’s debut album.

10. Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”. There’s just something about country music. This is a fine example.

British Songs

1. Bastille, “Pompeii”: The song that launched Bastille in the US. The embassy played a (very) small part too, by hosting them in 2013 for an acoustic set — one of my first public roles as Deputy Ambassador.

2. Izzy Bizu, “White Tiger”: A huge new British talent who played at the British Music Embassy in Washington in November 2016

3. Ed Sheeran, “Give me Love”: One of the most talented young singer songwriters to come out of the UK in the last few years. His gig at Merriweather Post Pavilion in a severe thunderstorm was a highlight of 2014.

4. The Beatles, “The Long and Winding Road”: The last song I played on my KSPB radio show while on a high school exchange in California in 1987.

5. Snow Patrol, “Chocolate”. Just one of the many great songs from one of my favourite British bands, from Northern Ireland.

6. Culture Club, “Do you Really want to Hurt Me”. An iconic song from a band that broke the mould when I was growing up.

7. Emile Sande, “Heaven”: Uplifting song from the Scottish singer who opened and closed the London Olympics in 2012.

8. Jamie Cullum, “Mixtape”: Uniquely talented British Jazz/pop crossover artist and UK music ambassador — a great friend of the embassy too.

9. Love and Rockets, “Saudade”: Moving instrumental from an British alternative rock band that I played repeatedly while in the US in 1987.

10. Oasis, “Wonderwall”. 1990s BritPop at its best. An enduring classic, and another of my “go to” karaoke songs.

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