FT Arts

FT Arts

United Kingdom

Each week the arts podcast brings you interviews and studio discussions on the latest arts stories and cultural trends, with contributions from the FT’s roster of critics and commentators

Episodes

The Life of a Song: Not Fade Away  

Buddy Holly's 1958 London performance of the song inspired the young Mick Jagger to form his own band. Credits: Universal, Not Now Music

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The Life of a Song: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free  

It's been the theme tune for the BBC's review series 'Film' since 1971, but Nina Simone's cover turned it into a civil rights anthem. Credits: Universal, Eagle Records, Rhino Atlantic, Decca

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The Life of a Song: Over the Rainbow  

Gene Wilder died Listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s cover, but it was Judy Garland who brought “Over the Rainbow” to fame. Credits: Spectra Records, Warner Bros, Blackbird, Documents 2

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The Life of a Song: Hallelujah  

Leonard Cohen's most famous song nearly wasn't released after being rejected by his record label. It is now among the most covered songs, with notable contributions from Jeff Buckley, John Cale and Rufus Wainwright. Credits: Sony Music, UMOD, Syco Music, Columbia, Nonesuch

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The Life of a Song: Yesterday  

“Yesterday” came to Paul McCartney in a dream one night in 1963. It’s now among the most covered songs in history, with efforts from the likes of Elvis, Marianne Faithful and Marvin Gaye. Credits: EMI, TNA Records, RCA Legacy, Universal Music

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The Life of a Song: 'Ike's Rap II'  

Snippets of Isaac Hayes' classic were used by trip-hop pioneers Portishead and Tricky. Richard Clayton tells the life of a sample. Credits: Decca, Universal Music, Virgin EMI

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The Life of a Song: Smoke on the Water  

The origin of Deep Purple's 1971 hit is almost as famous as its instantly recognisable guitar riff. Credits: Parlophone UK, Thompson Music P/L

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The Life of a Song: Wade in the Water  

Originally sung by slaves, the spiritual became a jazz and blues hit in the 1960s, with a cover by the British blues-rock musician Graham Bond. Credits: Repertoire Records, Isis, Edition Ahorn, UMC

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The Life of a Song: Because the Night  

Fiona Sturges follows Patti Smith's lustful 1970s song of youthful abandon. Credits: Arista, Columbia, Coqueiro Verde Records, Stun Volume

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The Life of a Song: Fast Car  

Richard Clayton on how Tracy Chapman's searing ballad of low income life carried her to global acclaim. Credits: Elektra, King Tubby's Music, Virgin EMI

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The Life of a Song: Rasputin  

Boney M's unlikely disco ballad was a hit on both sides of the iron curtain but was banned by Soviet authorities. Harriet Fitch-Little explores its indestructible appeal. Credits: Ariola Express, Century Media, Super Cassettes Industries, MCI

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The Life of a Song: Born in the USA  

Bruce Springsteen's bleak ballad of American life has been promoted by politicians from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. David Honnigman examines the song's fraught relationship with power. Credit: Columbia

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The Life of a Song: Me and Bobby McGee  

Janis Joplin achieved a posthumous No.1 hit with a rueful tale of love and loss, written by her old flame, Kris Kristofferson, which in turn helped launch him to stardom. Richard Clayton follows the song's bittersweet success. Credits: Columbia/Legacy, UMC, Top Town Records, Rhino/Warner Bros, Play Digital, Ricordi

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The Life of a Song: God Bless the Child  

Billy Holiday's secular hymn was born out of a blazing family row and its swaying melody went on to become a jazz standard, with versions by Tony Bennett and Sonny Rollins. Mike Hobart follows its history. Credits: Jazz Moon, Saga, Columbia/Legacy, Island, Geffen Gold Mine

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The Life of a Song: Running Up That Hill  

Kate Bush retreated to a farmhouse to craft her richly layered song of love and insecurity. It reaffirmed her place as a pre-eminent songwriter and went on to feature in the London Olympics closing ceremony. Richard Clayton follows its history. Credits: Noble & Brite, Beams, Frontiers Records, Elevator Lady, Italians Do It Better, Obsolete Media Objects

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The Life of a Song: My Favourite Things  

Before Julie Andrews' famous film performance, John Coltrane had turned this Broadway number into an off-kilter jazz classic. Mike Hobart charts its history. Credits: RCA, FourMatt, Hallmark, EMI, Decca, Universal.

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The Life of a Song: La Vie en Rose  

Rising above personal tragedy, Edith Piaf wrote a defining classic for post war France. Helen Brown follows its path, as read by Anna Metcalfe. Credits: The Restoration Project, Marianne Melodie, Universal Music Group International, Thousand Mile Inc, Naïve

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The Life of a Song: Let's Stick Together  

It took Wilbert Harrison a long time to get traction with his ode to fidelity, but it became a hit for him, Canned Heat and later Bryan Ferry. Richard Clayton traces its progress. Credits: The Restoration Project, Marianne Melodie, Universal Music Group International, Thousand Mile Inc, Naïve

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The Life of a Song: Mr Tambourine Man  

Bob Dylan’s cryptic number is one of the signature songs of the 1960s, signalling a shift in his career. It helped launch The Byrds to stardom and was pivotal in the development of indie rock. Richard Clayton follows its history. Credits: Columbia, Legacy, Spectrum, Naxos

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The Life of a Song: Amazing Grace  

The grand hymn of redemption took a long path to its current stature in American spirituality, from John Newton’s original lyric to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Ian McCann follows its turbulent history. Credits: Rhino Atlantic, Marathon, Ameritz Music, Bandleader Recordings, UMC

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