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Hear Steve Davies' top ten tunes

The director of MOSI on why Simon and Garfunkel's 'Cecilia' reminds him of serving in the army in Sierra Leone

Published on April 17th 2009.


Hear Steve Davies' top ten tunes

Tell us about yourself
I’m the director of MOSI – the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. We had 750,000 visitors last year and I want us to get better and attract more. Previously I was in the army. I was Chief of Staff at the headquarters of the 2nd Division, based in Edinburgh. My responsibilities extended to around 250 central staff and some 20,000 troops. During my spare time posted in Sierra Leone, I established the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum. I was an original member of MOSI's Liverpool Road Station Society almost 30 years ago. This is the only job that could have attracted me out of the army.

What types of music do you like?
The best music reminds you of episodes in your life, which is the reason for my choice of songs and music here.

What's the song that means the most to you and why?
I suppose I have especially fond memories of the Sierra Leone Army band playing Simon and Garfunkel's 'Cecilia' with bags of style and African rhythm. It’s a reminder of that troubled but wonderful African state.

What are your top ten favourite songs?

1 'Zadok The Priest' by Handel: Quite the most inspirational choral piece ever written. Heard Rossall School perform it magnificently and was hooked thereafter.

2 'Art Thou the Christ, Son of the Blessed?' by Tenor and Bass duet from Stanier's Crucifixion: My school performed this every year and I know virtually every word by heart. Love it.

3 'Long Live Elizabeth' from Edward German's opera The Merrie Widow : Was the slow march of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, of which I was the Commanding Officer. This was also played as my wife went down the aisle at our wedding.

4 'Hey Jude' by The Beatles: Seemed to be played constantly by someone or other during my year in Sarajevo, and it became synonymous with that difficult tour.

5 'Rubber Bullets' by 10cc: Used to hear it in the NAAFI in Warcop Camp in 1973 during my first camp as a cadet in the Army Cadet Force. A reminder of lost youth. I love the rhythm.

6 'Highland Cathedral' by Amy Grant: I often heard it at formal events in my last job in the army in Edinburgh. I defy anyone not to be moved by it. I particularly link it to the purgatory HM The Queen was put through when she was deprived of her beloved Royal Yacht. The look of utter sadness on her face as Britannia was decommissioned to the sound of Highland Cathedral is one that will stay with me forever.

7 'Love is Like Oxygen' by Sweet: Was big during my adolescence, and remains a firm favourite and reminder of the early seventies.

8 'Cecilia' by Simon and Garfunkel: Great rhythm. The Sierra Leone Army band used to play it – badly – but with plenty of style.

9 'Aranjuez Mon Amour' by Rodrigo:The version played on the flugelhorn in the film Brassed Off. An outstanding and evocative rendition which reminds me of my personal passion for coal mining.

10 'Donna' by 10cc: Another 1970's memory. Just great easy listening.

Click here to listen.

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TommyApril 17th 2009.

Although Mr Davies' seems like a nice chap, how many more of these 'Top Tens' are planned as they are getting a little tedious and a rarely see their purpose? I almost fear you may be going down the Channel 5 route of 'Top 100' everything. Surely something happened in Mcr today worth talking about over Steve's love of 10cc????

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