Songs That Define Our Teenage Years

Top tracks picked from our Subculture playlists

Thursday 23rd November 2017

Picked from our playlists of recent months, ten songs that define teenage life, selected by the likes of Don Letts, Gary Crowley, Carl Barât and Mark E. Smith.

'Natty Dread' by Bob Marley and The Wailers
Taken from the album of the same name, 'Natty Dread' was the first that was released as Bob Marley and the Wailers (as opposed to The Wailers). Songs such as 'Natty Dread' signalled Marley's growing increasing interest and devotion to Rastafarianism.
Selected by Don Letts. Listen to Don Letts' playlist in full here.

'Gangsters' by The Specials
A legendary song that needs little introduction to readers of Fred Perry Subculture, and one that shows up again and again in people's playlists. 'Gangsters' owes its inspiration to a brush the band had with the French Police following a misunderstanding with an unscrupulous hotel manager while performing in France. Lynval Golding reportedly stated '"They use the law to commit crime' Everything in Gangsters was about that trip, and it was a brilliant trip in the end because it gave us our first hit record - can't complain about that."
Selected by Gary Crowley. Listen to Gary Crowley's playlist in full here.

'Killing In The Name' by Rage Against The Machine
Explosive and expletive. An anthemic song of '90s American youth rebellion. Released in 1992 the track proved itself very versatile in the download era in 2009 when an online campaign urged people to buy the song in the run-up to Christmas to keep Simon Cowell's X Factor tune out of the Christmas number one spot. It worked. Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello described the campaign as a "wonderful dose of anarchy" and donated his resulting royalties to charity. 
Selected by Carl Barât. Listen to Carl Barât's playlist in full here.

'Rockit' by Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock began his musical journey with The Miles Davis Quintet in the late 1960s before being introduced to the synthesiser and becoming one of the leading exponents in the fusion of jazz and electronic music. 1983's 'Rockit' is regarded by many as the first Jazz hip-hop song and became a huge song in the breakdancing community worldwide.
Selected by Baxter Dury. Listen to Baxter Dury's playlist in full here.

'I Heard Her Call My Name' - The Velvet Underground
Taken from 'White Light/White Heat' after Warhol and Nico had parted company with The Velvet Underground 'I Heard Her Call My Name' demonstrates the harsh distortion and atonal treatment of the direction that Velvet Underground took with the 1967/68 album. Unsurprisingly it is cited by a generation of punks on both sides of the Atlantic as a touchstone moment in alternative approaches to rock music and its position in the counterculture.
Selected by Mark E Smith. Listen To Mark E Smith's playlist in full here.

'She’s Lost Control' - Joy Division
Ian Curtis' haunting lyrics famously drew on his fears facing his own epilepsy following the death of a fellow sufferer during a seizure. The writing and recording of the song formed a key element in the Ian Curtis biopic 'Control'.
Selected by Shaun Ryder. Listen to Shaun Ryder's Playlist in full here.

'I Got A Right' by Iggy & The Stooges
Taken from 1973' 'Raw Power', with its minimal repetitive lyrics and heavy speeding riffs, a song that formed a template for anti-establishment hardcore punk songs that came after. 
"Anytime I want I got a right to move, No matter what they say, Anytime I want I got a right to move, No matter what they say,
I got a right, I got a right to move, Anytime I want, anytime, I got a right, I got a right to move, Anytime I want"

Selected by Thurston Moore. Listen to Thurston Moore's playlist in full here

'Damaged' by Black Flag
Following on from the Stooges track above, Black Flag's Rollins era anthem of American hardcore punk that is difficult to argue with, constructed of solid distortion and impenetrable riffs. 
Selected by Brendan Benson. Listen to Brendan Benson's full playlist here. 

'I Love Music' by The O'Jays
One of those tracks that sit on the cusp of soul and disco, released in 1975 'I Love Music' is considered one of the most successful disco tracks of all time spending eight weeks at the top of the US disco chart.
Selected by Jah Wobble. Listen to Jah Wobble's list in full here.

'A Forest' by The Cure
The Cure always have, and probably always will appeal to the introspective nature of many teenagers. With its layer upon layer of atmospheric flanging 'A Forest' was not The Cure's first song by a few years, but it was the first to chart in the UK. A milestone in the rise of British post-punk 'A Forest' predates the band's more Gothic direction of the mid-1980s.
Selected by Goat Girl. Listen to Goat Girl's playlist in full here

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