Vintage Adventures: A Retro Playlist

Do you ever have those days when the perfect post idea comes out of nowhere? They don't happen to me very often, but it did last night. Essentially I forgot to take photos for the restaurant review I meant to write today and was a bit stumped, and then suddenly it hit me: a playlist of my favourite vintage music!

Before going further in this post, your mileage may vary when it comes to defining 'retro' music. I have mostly picked things from the rock 'n' roll era because that's the time period I love, but your idea of vintage/retro might be something more like the Beatles or even '80s classics - and that's totally fine!

Frank Sinatra - Fly Me to the Moon


Ah, Frank. Ol' Blue Eyes himself. Sinatra was the original smooth crooner, with his trademark fedora, love of a good Scotch  and the sharpest suits in Vegas. His songs just make you want to be sitting in a swanky bar drinking a classic cocktail, and 'Fly Me to the Moon' is one of my favourites of his. I defy you not to sway and sing along.

Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock

If Frank's the kind of guy who'd treat you to the fanciest dinner and drinks in town, then Elvis is the kind who'd take you to a dodgy dive bar and buy you a bag of chips on the way home. He's also probably the first musician I fell in love with, in the sense that I thought he was ridiculously cool. My parents had an Elvis greatest hits CD and I played it constantly when I was about eight, and 'Jailhouse Rock' was always my favourite. Plus this video is proof that monochrome never goes out of style.

Chuck Berry - You Never Can Tell

Chuck Berry seems to be film-makers' go-to when they want classic rock 'n' roll - his hit 'Johnny B Goode' is how Marty McFly introduces the genre to the world in Back to the Future - but I have a soft spot for the more overlooked 'You Never Can Tell', which became famous as the song that John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance to in Pulp Fiction. (Sidenote: I once dressed up as Mia Wallace for a fancy dress party. It is the world's easiest costume.) It's one of those songs that just oozes cool and would be a great choice if you're having a vintage wedding - I'm considering it as our exit song...

Buddy Holly - That'll Be The Day

Before bow ties and nerd glasses were cool, there was Buddy Holly. Tragically killed in a plane crash aged just 22, he was a pioneer of rock 'n' roll and a massive influence on the likes of the Beatles. 'That'll Be The Day' was his biggest hit and a brilliant example of how he managed to tell a story in just over a minute of ridiculously catchy music. It's one of my more recent vintage favourites but I really love it and play it constantly. Love his tricks with the guitar too - if you listen closely you can hear the tone change slightly.

The Puppini Sisters - Walk Like An Egyptian

Finally, I couldn't resist a nod to the modern-day singers who are reworking songs in a vintage style or are producing their own music harking back to the sound of days gone by. Amongst my favourites are Michael Buble, the Overtones, the Baseballs, Imelda May and Caro Emerald, but if I had to pick one it would be the Puppini Sisters' cover of the Bangles' 'Walk Like An Egyptian'. It's a great example of mixing the harmonies of 40s groups like the Andrew Sisters with a modern song and a brilliant example of how to add a fresh take on an old song (by making it sound even older!).

I could have included so many songs on this list - the Overtones' version of 'Runaround Sue', Dean Martin singing 'Mambo Italiano', the entire soundtrack of 'Guys and Dolls' - but hopefully this will give you an idea of what I listen to when I'm in the mood for some great songs from the past.

Do you have any favourite retro/vintage songs or artists?

1 comment:

  1. Oooh far too many favourite artists to list - Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and The Everly Brothers for starters. We have a 1950s jukebox in our living room complete with 50s and 60s music - I love putting it on when I'm doing housework but I always worry about the neighbours as it is rather loud! :-) xx

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