Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Our tune: Celebrities pick their 'special' songs

Bryan Adams is a popular listening choice for local couples

After Sir Paul McCartney revealed he and first wife Linda had a soft spot for Procul Harem's romantic anthem, A Whiter Shade of Pale, we asked three local couples for their fave songs. By Kerry McKittrick

Journalist Emma Louise Johnston has worked for the BBC, ITN and GMTV. She married businessnan Jonathon Crawford six months ago and they live in Belfast. She says:

Johnny and I sort of came together in spite of music. He's very much into Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and swing music.

My taste is very eclectic - I'm into anything.

I could be dancing round the living room on a Friday night with mates to Hendrix one minute and then the next to something punk.

Jonathon and I actually met at a Fat Boy Slim concert in Kelly's in Portrush - he was playing Right Here, Right Now at the time.

I can remember really getting into music around the time of my GCSEs.

I had pretended to like U2 to impress my brother - and I do like them - but at the beginning of that summer I started listening to The Smiths and Morrissey.

I'd also just become friends with this girl who, like me, really liked the song The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.

She had this massive ghetto blaster and we sat up at Belfast Castle in the blazing sun.

I just remember that summer was when it all started, and I really started to discover music.

The first concert I went to was Nirvana.

Also on the bill were The Breeders and Teenage Fanclub.

As I left the house my brother scoffed at me for wearing new DM boots and a T-shirt of the band that I was going to see.

I had been so excited but he took the wind out of my sails as I went for the bus.

Picking the first song for our wedding was a nightmare.

I wanted Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart, but I didn't think it would look very good with lots of wedding guests pogo-ing on the dance floor.

In the end we chose It Had to Be You, by Harry Connick jnr.

The song at the end of the night was the one that we remember more. It was Dakota by the Stereophonics and all of our friends were up jumping around to it at the end of a great night.

If I had to pick a song that epitomises me and Jonathon, then it would be the cover of Depeche Mode's I Just Can't Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague.

It's loud, fun, has many different layers and is a bit of a calamity. Just like us."

Radio Ulster presenter Ralph McLean is married to fellow RU host Kerry. They have two children, Tara (2) and baby Daniel, three months. He says:

Kerry and I first met way back in the mists of time in the very building we now work in — the BBC's HQ at Belfast's Ormeau Avenue.

Kerry was working in the newsroom and I was working with John Bennett on BBC Radio Ulster.

We were friends but it wasn't until Kerry came back from a stint presenting with the BBC World Service in Africa that we got together.

We just clicked and it was like we'd always been together.

We married in 2006 and now we've got two lovely kids, Tara and Daniel.

We've always loved the same things, shared the same sense of humour and, very importantly, taste in music.

Music's always on in our house. The kids love it as much as we do!

The first song at our wedding was Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman.

The line 'And I need you more than want you and I want you for all time' is one of the most romantic lines ever written and means a lot to both of us.

Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter is another song that we both love. The lyrics are right on the button. People think The Man In Black is pretty dark but he was also great craic, and I think this is funny and really upbeat at the same time.

If we ever had to do a duet at a karaoke night I'd love to do this. It's a song we can sing to each other as well and have a laugh which is important!

I seem to remember listening to Ryan Adams When The Stars Turn Blue and Gillian Welch's beautiful Elvis Presley Blues when we first started going out so those songs still make me think of that time.

The birth of our daughter Tara changed our lives forever — I'd never experienced anything like it. I was an emotional wreck that day and when I left the maternity ward that night the very first song I heard when I turned on the car stereo was My Girl, the version by Otis Redding.

It instantly became her song and every time we hear the line 'I got sunshine on a cloudy day with my girl' we fill up.

We're very sentimental about things like that."

Maurice Jay, host of U105's breakfast show, has been married to Sam for three years. They live in Dundonald with 14-month-old son Evan. He says:

Our eyes met across a crowded disco, but the first time I asked Sam out she turned me down as she had a boyfriend. It was six months later that she accepted me. U2's Beautiful Day was at number one at the time.

Mind you, when I was DJing back then I was more likely to be playing something like Robbie William's Rock DJ or Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca.

The first song at our wedding was supposed to be Diana Ross' When You Tell Me That You Love Me but before our big day I mixed a load of silly songs — things like Mr and Mrs and Love and Marriage.

Then the first dance was to the Diana Ross and a Prince track called Adore that I had mixed together. When You Tell Me That You Love Me was her lovey dovey track and Adore was mine, so we mixed in the middle. I thought it was very appropriate that on our wedding day the number one was Bet You Look Good On The Dance floor by Arctic Monkeys.

We've always had different tastes in music. I like old school funk like Prince and a band called Parliament, or James Brown. For rock, I like the oldies like Whitesnake. Sam's tastes are a bit more pop — she's quite chart driven and likes The Killers and bands like that.

When Evan was born, Grace Kelly by Mika was number one. I liked that it was so bouncy and not taking things so seriously. I remember thinking that I hoped Evan would have similar traits. Judging by his character these days that seems to be the case.

Music has been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember.

When I was five or six, I used to play DJ with two old Dansette record players. I would time how long it took each record to fall down and do links in-between them. And I've been doing that ever since."

How your song can say the sweetest things

Sometime in the middle of 1986, Paul Hewson forgot his wife Ali's birthday. To be fair, Paul, or Bono as he is more commonly known, was in the middle of recording an album called The Joshua Tree, which would catapult the band U2 into international critical acclaim.

To make it up to Ali, Bono wrote a song called The Sweetest Thing, and gifted her the rights and any proceeds from the song. Although featured as a B-side, the song wasn't released as a single until 1998, and was accompanied by a video featuring the phrase 'I'm sorry' and various other apologies. With its release, the whole world knew how Bono apologised for forgetting his wife's birthday. In return, Ali has donated all proceeds from the song to her favourite charity, Chernobyl Children's Project International.

Everyone has their own private soundtrack. Hearing a song from yesteryear can transport a person back to their first day at school, their wedding day, or more sombre occasions such as funerals or the end of a relationship.

Eric Clapton paid the ultimate compliment to Pattie Boyd, the then wife of George Harrison, by writing two classic love songs about her. Layla and Wonderful Tonight have stood the test of time since the 1970s, long after the relationship had failed.

When singer Tom Higginson, frontman of the American band Plain White T met steeplechase runner Delilah DiCresenzon, he tried to win her over by telling her he'd written a song about her. When she asked him to sing it to her, he couldn't deliver, and she headed for the hills. Thus, when Hey There Delilah was written, Delilah was nowhere to be found.

One of the most romantic — or cheesy, depending on your point of view — songs of all time was Chris de Burgh's Lady in Red, written for his wife Diane. More controversially, his song Blonde Hair, Blue Jeans was said to have been written for the family's nanny Maresa Morgan, with whom he had an affair.

And Neil Diamond admitted he wrote Sweet Caroline for President Kennedy's daughter Caroline.

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