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Listen to Dr David A Holmes' Top Ten Tunes

The Manchester musician turned TV psychologist on why Ian Brown gives him visions

Published on February 26th 2009.

Listen to Dr David A Holmes' Top Ten Tunes

Tell us about yourself
I teach psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, am director of the Forensic Group there, and spend much of my time as a media psychologist on TV, radio and in the press.

However, in my former life I was a professional musician in various Manchester bands. I toured with the Buzzcocks and shared their brilliant drummer in a couple of my bands. I also worked for Factory Records, New Order, Beach Club and The Hacienda. All these jobs have overlapped, particularly poignantly when my working relationship with Tony Wilson evolved into him interviewing me as psychologist on TV.

What types of music do you like?
Good music of many genres that either tugs the heartstrings or spins me into dancing. My first band was rockabilly and the last was beyond classification, with much psychedelia and songs of love and war in between.

Rockabilly is timeless but so is New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, which brings me to attention with the first four beats. I have worked with great songwriters such as Don Durham (whose songs deserve a much wider audience) and Tim Lyons, who is probably one of the two greatest psychedelic singers alive today (the other being Ian Brown). The emotive, sonic visions I have experienced with these bands drown out much commercially available stuff. For some of us, the spectre of humanity will never be suffocated by the X Factor industries.

What's the song that means the most to you and why?
‘In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison has stopped me in my tracks for many years. Its simplicity and the powerglide voice stand as a challenge to anyone who thinks they can sing or stop hearts. I have tried. There are many other joyous, powerful and plaintive competitors but few that can do the job with just one person, a guitar and no effects.

From the childhood twilight visions of ‘A candy coloured clown they call the Sandman...‘ through the histrionic gangsterism of ‘Blue Velvet’, to the superstar revivals before his death, this song is my anchor in the past, and love-torn face staring at the future. If you have never loved, these songs are just noise. But when you have loved with all-consuming passion, they are blinding beacons.

What are your top ten favourite songs?
1 'In Dreams’ by Roy Orbison
2 ‘Transmission’ by Joy Division
3 ‘Seven Days and One Week’ by BBE (Red Jerry mix for Deep and Chilled Euphoria)
4 ‘Qurna (Mister Christian on the Decks)’ by Banco de Gaia
5 ‘She’s a Bird’ by Country Joe and the Fish
6 ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ by Them
7 ‘So Young’ by The Students
8 ‘She Bangs the Drums’ by The Stone Roses
9 ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ by The Cult
10 ‘Another Day’ by Roy Harper

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