I'm sure when we all first saw the topic we wondered exactly how to play this one. Soundtrack songs seemed obvious early calls but our trusty Landlord asked us to dig a bit deeper. He wanted songs which were incidental to episodes in our lives. Obviously TV and film are highly evocative for many, so it's no surprise that a few favourites sneaked into the lists. But just as important for me were the personal associations which we make with songs. I've learned a lot about some of you this week, and so it's been no easy task deciding whose memories to include and which songs to pick.
The first half of the playlist features the more universal associations, and what better way to kick off than a couple of iconic BBC pieces. Grinderswitch's Pickin' the Blues is forever engrained into reader Megadom's memory as the theme to John Peel's radio shows. A longstanding supporter of new artists, it feels fitting that this headlines this week's lists.
In what was almost a one-two for Megadom, we follow up with the Devil's Gallop. Dick Barton's version for me remains the most iconic version and for conjures images of peril, hazard and pursuing danger. The ukulele version certainly has its merits, but for me this is the definitive version.
The approaching menace continues with a fantastic coupling of mid-19th century music and late-20th century cinematography. Even those who haven't seen Apocalypse Now will have picked up it's association with Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. So parodied and spoofed has that scene been that it's almost easy to forget the impact it had in context. Adapting Conrad's literature and coming just a few years after the fall of Saigon, the statement it makes upon the US's war in Vietnam is potent.
Are Ruk Ja Re Bande (or just Bandeh, as Ravi points out) is another piece critical of 20th-century violence. A beautiful song, it would be easy to forget that it was a response to hundreds of deaths and more than a thousand injuries in a single city in a single day in India. Having been written for a film called Black Friday it's inclusion is to remind us that incidental music can mean something profound in its own right, as well as in context.
Tom Waits not only provided much of the soundtrack to Down By Law but starred in it too. Jockey Full of Bourbon's lyrics are indicative of a man whose life is in confusion, and never seems to go his way. Disjointed, it seems the perfect accompaniment to a film in which Tom's DJ character goes to jail while completely innocent.
If it seems unlikely that a hitman would take on a job at the same time, and in the same town, as his 10-year high school reunion – well, that's because it is. But it's still an excuse to listen to some Clash. Rudie Can't Fail finds itself in the soundtrack to Grosse Point Blank, and thanks to ParaMhor, the Marconium too.
Uneasy Listening says this song expanded her knowledge of punk music through its use in After Hours and so the song holds a special memory for her. Manic, short and energetic Pay To Cum seems to reflect perfectly the surreal events in the film and accompanies the protagonist being manhandled in a club.
Which leads nicely to philipphilip99's story of being escorted out of the club. Kiss Me is always going to remind of the time he fell from a balcony – and yet still managed to impress the girls. And thanks to his vivid nomination, I'll struggle to get the image out of my head too.
Bethnoir's dance venue of choice was a ballet room which she always arrived at early. The emptiness became entwined in her mind and know is inextricably linked to a rather lovely piece of music from an old favourite video game. Labyrinth of Time may well be the first piece of stock music in the Marconium. It's a worthy addition being as Bethnoir adds a contemplative piece and the only incidental music from a video game in the list.
From one trivia tidbit to another, All Saint's Black Coffee is now the fifth song in the Marconium with that title. Far more importantly however is the fact that it is the piece of music which Uncleben relied upon to get his young son to sleep. A charming nomination for a lovely song, it's exactly what I wanted when I requested personal anecdotes.
I'm not usually a fan of U2, but sometimes a nomination's enthusiasm, earnestness and honesty goes a long way to changing perceptions. Drowning Man means an awful lot to Maki. It may have been illicitly gained, but for a prolonged period it represented the one link between Maki and the woman he loved. Fortunately circumstances conspired in his favour and the songs message can be vindicated.
Following full circle to a BBC theme, the Grandstand theme may be iconic for many millions, but for Beltway Bandit its associations go way beyond the TV show and instead speak to deeper memories of his family. Happy memories of food, fun and laughter are conjured by the theme and so it makes a happy end to our list this week.
Accompanying A-list Playlist
Grinderswitch – Pickin' the Blues
Geoff Love & his Orchestra/Charles Williams – Devil's Galop (Dick Barton theme)
Richard Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries
Indian Ocean – Are Ruk Ja Re Bande [Bandeh]
Tom Waits – Jockey Full of Bourbon
The Clash – Rudie Can't Fail
Bad Brains – Pay to Cum
Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy – Kiss Me
[Stock music] - Labyrinth of Time (no. 06 0f 14)
All Saints – Black Coffee
U2 – Drowning Man
Keith Mansfield – Grandstand
Background to the Foreground B-list Playlist
Richard Strauss – Sunrise from Also sprach Zarathustra
Booker T and the MGs – Soul Limbo
The Lightning Seeds – Life of Riley
Chuck Berry – Almost Grown
Urge Overkill – Girl, You'll be a Woman Soon
Frank Sinatra – As Time Goes By
Serge Gainsbourg – Sous le Soleil Exactement
The Move – Feel Too Good
The National – Rains of Castamere
Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning
Richard Thompson – I Live in Trafalgar Square
Peter Moore – Asteroid
Vera Lynn – We'll Meet Again
Guru's wildcard pick:
While I have earlier memories of going to the cinema (I remember been most unhappy as a child to be told my uncle was taking me to see George of the Jungle), the strongest memory for me was seeing the Lord of the Rings films. The Two Towers in particular stuck in my mind – I'd had a massive headache through most of the first one. As such the Rohan theme from Lord of the Rings has stuck with me and always evokes the beauty of those films. They sparked a deep love affair with the fantasy genre which has lasted to this day.
Howard Shore – Rohan theme
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: What's going on now? Incidental music and songs … The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained in About/FAQs ...
Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.