It starts with Britney Spear’s Toxic before filling a virtual dancefloor with The Police’s social–distancing classic Don’t Stand So Close To Me.
Others have created similar Corona Playlists as lockdown continues. Have such floor–fillers as Dangers’ Stay At Home Mom and Fearing’s Behind The Mask ever been more relevant?
But as we continue a prolonged lockdown and entertain such dysfunctional thoughts as ‘wouldn’t it be nice to go to the dentist again’ we don’t have to focus just on Corona.
YouTube and Spotify are full of great mixes – Fatboy Slim’s Lockdown Mixtape (Week 1) is among the best.
Joe Wicks’ PE classes are fine during the day, but as night descends, flick your lightshade from side to side, crank up the volume and enjoy your own Kitchen Disco.
Mix tapes – or, streams – are one of life’s great joys.
They provide an opportunity to be DJ and radio station, all at once. Any mood, any theme and any tenuous connection between favourite tracks can be threaded together then shared.
Before the digital age, mixes would frequently run to the length of a tape – either 60 or 90 minutes. The advent of Spotify now means they can last for days.
Mix tapes are the place where it’s okay to combine Stormzy and The Drifters, Bruce Springsteen and The Prodigy. There are no rules, anything goes.
On a formative holiday to California, I travelled with a 90–minute tape. It featured an eclectic mix of tunes from Frank Sinatra to Teenage Fanclub.
As I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles, along the majestic Big Sur, I found myself stopping off in the perfectly–formed town Monterey.
And I crossed the town line, Sinatra’s 1956 hit It Happened In Monterey started to play. I’d recorded it onto my mix tape two weeks earlier, before I’d been aware of Monterey’s existence. Bliss.
While the region remains locked down, Weekend’s crack team of musicologists have created a series of mix tapes for your delectation.
We have avoided the obvious – there’s no We’ll Meet Again, from Dame Vera Lynn; we have sidestepped the obvious – there’s no Ghost Town, from The Specials; and we have resisted the temptation to kick off the whole thing with Peggy Lee’s Fever. Though not without considerable heartache. Everybody loves a bit of Peggy.
We hope our mixtapes excite, amuse, entertain and inspire. You can share yours with us at the usual address...
Lovely Day – Bill Withers
Bill Withers kicks off our Weekend mix with suitably summer vibes and an overdose of positivity.
There could be no better sentiment to get us started that that espoused by the late, great soul man. The heavens open and angels sing when Bill hits the chorous: Then I look at you, And the world’s alright with me,
Just one look at you, And I know it’s gonna be, A Lovely day.
I Feel Fine – by The Beatles
And so to the best band of all time. Keeping the energy high and the message firmly positive.
While we could have opted for Come Together, We Can Work It Out or Here Comes The Sun, we rewind to 1964 and a song that dashed to number one in the UK and USA.
Loaded – by Primal Scream
The nibbles have been eaten, the Prosecco is flowing and Aunty Vera is shaking her hips.
It’s time to get loaded and it’s time to have a good time.
The era–defining indie–dance tune mixed by Andrew Weatherall started with an audio sample of Frank Maxwell and Peter Fonda from the film The Wild Angels, setting the tone perfectly.
Mr Tambourine Man – The Byrds
The Byrds version somehow had more energy and felt more resolutely upbeat than either the Bob Dylan original or the versions recorded by Judy Collins, Stevie Wonder or Odetta.
Was there ever a better riff to start a song?
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson wanted to create feelings of joy when he wrote The Beach Boy’s 1966 classic from their unsurpassed album Pet Sounds.
Though it might be just as easy to pick Good Vibrations, I Get Around, Barbara Ann or the irrepressible Fun, Fun, Fun, Wilson’s 2–minutes–33–seconds slice of sunshine nabs it.
Waterfall – The Stone Roses
The fourth single from The Stone Roses’ made little impact on the UK singles chart, stalling at 27.
Unlike One Love, I Am The Resurrection or I Wanna Be Adored, it skirted under the radar.
But among fans, it remains a perennial favourite and keeps the energy levels high.
Fatboy Slim – Praise You
A mixtape isn’t a mixtape without a dose of Fatboy Slim.
We considered adding Right Here, Right Now for a double dose, but then there’d be no room for The Drifters.
Saturday Night At The Movies – The Drifters
It’s time to drop the mood with a string of four smoochers.
If you’re unable or unwilling to at least tap a foot to The Drifters, it’s time to call the doctor.
Girls, Girls, Girls – Jay–Z
It would be just as easy to create a mix tape featuring only tunes by Jay–Z.
The Sinatra of rap never sounded so good as on this 2001 cut from the stone dead classic album The Blueprint.
Killing Me Softly – The Fugees
The Fugees updated and improved the 1972 Lori Lieberman original – though Roberta Flack’s 1973 version runs it close.
Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
And it’s time to start lifting the tempo.
Winehouse was a rare sort of genius and her work with producer Mark Ronson defined her.
They recreated the sounds popularised by the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s and the title track from her 2006 classic sounds as fresh today as it did back then.
Times Like These – Foo Fighters
Spark the engines. We’re into the final furlong. A blast from Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters picks up the beat.
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
The Stones Gimme Shelter is considered their favourite track, though we’re plumping for Sympathy.
And yes, yes, yes, we know we could easily have chosen Paint It Black, Satisfaction, Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Get Off My Cloud.
Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
Air guitar time. Boom.
Heroes – David Bowie
The song that stole Live Aid from the album of the same name from one of the greatest of all time. Full–on Bowie.
You Make Me Feel So Young – Frank Sinatra
There’s always room for Frank and from a catalogue that features some of the greatest songs and vocal performances of all time, we’ve opted for his 1956 cover of the Mack Gordon classic.
Pulp – Babies
Four tunes to go. It’s time to place the ace.
Knowing, fun and one of the greatest songs of the dizzying 1990s, Jarvis and co. lift the mood.
Elbow – Grace Under Pressure
And so to the sing–alongs.
From their Cast Of Thousands album, Grace Under Pressure offers a life–affirming, feel–good five minutes as we head to the finale.
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
If its good enough for tens of thousands of sports fans, it’s good enough.
We make no apologies for it being a little bit cheesy.
Now sing–a–long to chorus: Sweeeeeet Caroline, Da–Da–Da–Daaaar.
Moon River – Audrey Hepburn
The party’s over. There’s time for one last tune.
It’s a smoocher from the iconic British actress whose voice was as sultry as her screen performances.