Sounds from the Gowns

ADAM TYNAN asks DR. DAVID BAINBRIDGE about the songs he loves, the songs he hates and the song that just might get you into Cambridge.

all i want another day chic david bainbridge Disco donna summer entrance test first love george harrison guilty pleasure had a cigar Hell hero Joni Mitchell last dance led zeppelin musical hell my sweet lord Pink Floyd ritual torture roy harper sounds from the gowns stevie wonder

First Love

What was the first song you remember falling in love with?

This would have to be ‘My Sweet Lord’ by George Harrison. I was so young when I first played this that I don’t even remember what age I was. I remember having a little battery-powered record player that only fitted vinyl 45’s, and playing this over and over again. It’s a pretty repetitive song anyway, so it must have been darn irritating for my parents. Anyway, I’m still a huge George fan, so I’m glad this was my first record.

Musical Hell

Is there a song you find abhorrent?  Imagine a track being used on repeat as a ritual torture method and you get the idea.

Definitely ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ by Stevie Wonder, but more out of sadness and regret than hatred. Up until about 1982, Stevie Wonder was a genius of titanic proportions – his confidence, talent and ability to communicate with music made him one of the twentieth century greats. However, I guess everyone goes off the boil eventually, and this piece of trite crap showed that the end had come. Oh, and lots of people liked it, too, which makes it worse.

Guilty Pleasure

You love it. But you’d rather everyone didn’t know about it.

Ah, late seventies disco – what great music, what bad clothes. I’d love to pick something by Chic, but they’re far too cool for this category. So it would have to be ‘Last Dance’ by Donna Summer – preferably an excessively long 12-inch remix. She had the most amazing voice, the most amazing producers, and it’s all so wonderfully dated and embarrassing. Play it in the car on a sunny day, but keep the windows closed.

My Hero

Is there a specific artist that you champion above all others? Or perhaps there’s a song you associate with a particular person in your life?

Why do so few people know about Roy Harper? I have no idea. From the late sixties to the present day, he’s been writing and recording some of the best music out there. He sang on Floyd’s ‘Have A Cigar’ and had a Zep song named after him, but his own catalogue is just astounding. My pick would have to be ‘Another Day’, from 1970. As you’ve notice, most of my favourite songs spring from around 1970 – and I thought that even when I was a teenager in the 80’s.

The Cambridge Entrance Test

For this final category imagine that instead of traditional Cambridge entrance requirements (interviews, results, personal statements etc),  each candidate sends in a CD containing one track. What song would win, without fail, a hallowed place in your department?

Just to enhance my reputation of being up with the times, I’d say ‘All I Want’ by Joni Mitchell. It’s the joyous, youthful, exuberant burst at the start of the only perfect album ever made. It reminds you what being happy can be like, and I also always link it to the nine great songs still to come. Everyone should be listening to this at seventeen. Daily. Just accept it. I’m right.