Today (May 18) the Ivor Novello Awards will make the industry pause for a moment to really focus on the art of songwriting. That's exactly what the new issue of Music Week is all about, and part of it was involved the immortal question: What is the best song ever written? Our staff have already answered the question, but we decided to put it to top names in the biz, too. We’ve published some of them in part 1 and part 2, but here’s what other people had to say...
Prince – Nothing Compares 2 U
Picked by: Andy Copping (president of UK touring, Live Nation UK)
“I would probably say Nothing Compares 2 U by Prince. He wrote it and Sinéad O’Connor did an amazing job of it. I could guarantee that if I heard that song right now it would make me cry. Her version of it made it more emotive, but he wrote those words.”
Bob Marley - One Love
Picked by: MistaJam (BBC Radio 1/1Xtra presenter)
“Anybody that finds it easy to answer this question is a fucking liar. Bob Marley, One Love. It crosses race boundaries, gender boundaries, generation boundaries. I’ve played it for freshers’ sets and everybody knows every word. It’s a real message of unity and hope and it’s something we really need at any given point in time, especially with what’s happening in the world at the moment.”
George Jones - Where Grass Won’t Grow
Picked by: Jade Jackson (artist)
“I don’t know if there’s a better song than Where Grass Won’t Grow. It always gets me. My dad played it my whole life, so I heard it all the time. The first line is, The dirt was clay and was the colour of the blood in me. It’s just perfect.”
Carole King – Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Picked by: Ted Cockle (president, Virgin EMI)
“She’s stayed with me longer than anything else. Whatever other music I’ve gone in and out of, Carole King’s Tapestry has been the only constant in an ever-evolving musical palette.”
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
Picked by: Mike Kerr (Royal Blood)
“When I was about 10, I convinced my mum to let me buy The Best Of The Beach Boys when we were in Sainsbury’s. I saw the CD, I didn’t know anything about them and I just remember it blowing my mind. It’s a very nostalgic song for me and it’s still as magical now.”
Bruce Springsteen, Born In The U.S.A.
Picked by: Miles Leonard (chairman, Parlophone Records)
“This song has Bruce singing with such disdain and passion. It is such a heartfelt performance. It’s a song that’s more often than not been misconstrued as a pro-American song, but it was never penned as that. It is a song about young Americans who were sent out to Vietnam and either never returned or, if they did, were shunned by the US Government and some of their people. Many didn’t even notice or care to listen to the lyrics, only to hear the Born In The U.S.A. chorus and think it was pro-American. Maybe that’s why it’s so special. Bruce talks to the ‘working man’ in his songs and tells stories of real life.”
Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
Picked by: Jeremy Lascelles (founder, Blue Raincoat Music)
“I was 10 when I first heard it and it was the most exciting sound I’d ever heard. Ten years later I actually understood what the lyrics were about and when you get into the nuances, anger and vitriol of the lyrics… I can’t listen to it without getting goosebumps to this day.”
Story By: George Garner, Ben Homewood, James Hanley, Mark Sutherland, Dan Gumble