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: Red Red Wine  

Ian McCann charts the transformation of UB40’s number one hit, from Neil Diamond’s country ballad to iconic reggae ditty. Credits: Virgin Records, Universal Music International Ltda, Sanctuary, Capitol Records, Authentic Jamaican Music, K-Licious Music

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The Life of a Song: The Chain  

The song that defined Fleetwood Mac's high water mark went on to be covered by country-folk and hip-hop artists Credits: Rhino/Warner Bros, Charly Digital, Universal Music International Ltda, S4DK

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The Life of a Song: Stairway to Heaven  

David Honigmann follows Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway' from its origins in a Welsh cottage to 'Wayne's World', the White House and bedrooms everywhere

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The Life of a Song: '1999'  

Prince wrote his song about partying in the face of nuclear threat during the cold war but it gets heavy rotation to this day

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The Life of a Song: Good King Wenceslas  

This 1853 Christmas Carol, set to the melody of a 13th-century Nordic Hymn, has since fallen into the hands of Joan Baez, Tom Jones and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple.

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The Life of a Song: I Believe in Father Christmas  

Greg Lake died this week, and this track remains an enduring Christmas classic. Credit: Syco Music, Universal, Decca, Symphonia

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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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