Friday, 29 November 2013

A Strange and Random Lovely Review

The first Iris novel I wrote for Snowbooks, ‘Enter Wildthyme’ got a really terrific review today from one of my favourite blogs, ‘Strange and Random Happenstance  I really like Miss Eliza’s combination of science fictional, Gothic and cosily mysterious sensibilities, and I was relieved and delighted to read that she’d enjoyed the novel. (Relieved because she’s recently been reviewing some of the Dr Who novel reprints from BBC Books and she was so fierce with them…!)

She writes about the interconnectedness of what I do: the way that I seem to enjoy linking all my stories up together.  And that’s true. I love that stuff. (Personally, I think I join all these characters up and let them know each other – even distantly – because I grew up inside a family at war, riven with huffs, vendettas and divorce…) I wouldn’t ever want my fictional world to become too complicated or opaque to new readers, but I do like to reward the long-term fans, and myself, with these kind of little ‘rhymes’ across time and space. Somehow I do see everything I write as happening within the same set of mashed-up universes.

Anyhow, I thought I’d quote some of her fab blog piece here. Elizabeth also says very nice stuff about feeling comfy in the fiction I write, and that sensation of being with friends. That’s something I really work at trying to get in there. I want it to feel just like that – so that my stories are just like having adventures in the company of the best friends you ever had.

There's something just wonderful in the interconnectedness of Paul's books. Being a fan of Brenda and Effie, I loved seeing little winks and nods to them. Paul's books are all of the same universe, but it's a fluid universe where things are like but not exact. So while we have pinking sheers that cut the fabric of time and space, which are like those in Brenda and Effie's adventures, can we actually say they are the same? In Paul's universe it really doesn't matter. They could be, they might be, but then again, who knows. It's that fluidity and that nudge and a wink that makes his books so much fun. We have Jessie working at the galactic Hotel Miramar... ah, but could this Jessie be like the Jessie who worked not at the Miramar in Whitby but for Mrs. Claus? The Jessie who had the sad fate of turning into a womanzie? Or perhaps this is a parallel Jessie, a Jessie with a better fate. Every little connection, every little joke just made me giggle and sigh with contentment. If I could find a way to move into these books where after a day of fighting evil and possibly a good old punch up I could settle down in a warm chair and just relax and chat with my fellow friends, now that would be the life. Having a stuffed Panda as a sidekick would just add to the awesome.”

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Perfect Stocking Filler! 'From Wildthyme with Love'

These finished copies of 'From Wildthyme with Love' have just arrived fromSnowbooks and they are just exquisite! *Perfect* Christmas gifts for fans of Iris and (Art Critic Panda) Panda - and me..! 

Well done, Emma Barnes and Bret M. Herholz!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Annual Years - Cover Reveal and Excerpt

What I learned from the Dr Who Annual…  (Excerpt from The Annual Years by Paul Magrs, Obverse Books, 2014.)

What I learned from the Dr Who Annual 1976.
When he tells you he’s taking you to a beautiful world inhabited by friendly pacifists: watch out. Even the most innocuous worlds can be terrifying, especially if you materialize on the wrong scale and fall in a pond. Also, it isn’t just the monsters and stuff marauding about that can do you harm. Some planets are alive and telepathic and can bring your worst fears to life before you. Sponges can be sentient but not necessarily evil. Watch out for noisy feminists. Cabbage tea can do wonders for hormonal imbalances. The Neuronic Zone is a very strange and scary place. Watch out for being zapped into a human farm and receiving the excess psychic energy of flame-headed skeleton people.

What I learned from the Dr Who Annual 1977
The deeper you get into outer space, the stranger the alien species become, and still Dr Who is pretty blase about everything he sees.

What’s more dangerous than evil space lizards who hate you? Evil space lizards with a wind machine who hate you.

Beware of return visits from your old friend Dr Who. He doesn’t ever have quiet weekends away. If he turns up on your doorstep again, something hideous is about to happen.

It really isn’t worth getting into a battle of mind-power with Dr Who. He will most definitely kick your mental arse.

What I learned from the Dr Who Annual 1978
When you go looking up old friends? Prepare to be disappointed. People change. They forget you. They move on. They can go to the bad. When you travel with human beings, they soon get tired of very dusty hot planets with three suns. They quite like going back to Earth every now and then, no matter how much they tease about wanting to be somewhere exotic. Just because someone says they’re a peaceful scientist, don’t believe them. They might be psychotic killers, even if they’re not ugly on the outside. In fact, don’t listen to anyone. Do your own thing. We can’t ever be sure whether the world we’re in and the further adventures we’re heading into are actually real, or whether they’re just a heroic dream that Dr Who is having.

Never mind!

What I learned from the Dr Who Annual 1979
Persecution and sacrifice are both are waste of time, and not at all nice. It’s necessary to cultivate your own garden. And, if you do, you might get help at just the right moment from the unlikeliest of sources. Watch out for gigantic space cows in ermine robes. Anyone too smiley and happy and perfect is bound to turn out to be a vampiric fiend. Always buy Princesses anti-grav belts as presents. If all your clothes and flesh are made to disappear by a crazy mystic in a castle, run straight to Dr Who, who understands how M-Rays work. And never, ever get into a mind duel with him – but you already know that, don’t you?

Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories

There was a lot of Dr Who hoo-ha leading up to last weekend, and I’d saved this particular volume to read inbetween hours. It’s a book that Puffin published serially, one story per month, from January onwards. Back at the start of the year I downloaded Eoin Colfer’s ‘A Big Hand for the Doctor’, and enjoyed it a lot – but I knew I’d prefer to wait for the rest, when they arrived in November’s bumper silver-blue outsized volume.

Each story is by a leading children’s / YA author – and there are some stellar performances here from writers seemingly unencumbered by overt brand-policing and fannish group-mind consensus. Almost all of the names involved are new to published Dr Who fiction, but most work in a related genre – science fiction, fantasy, Gothic, action thriller, and so on. One of the entertaining things about the book coming out monthly as e-books was hearing the rumblings around the Dr Who blogosphere – about how it was a mixed bag; how some stories were so way-off beam in characterization and continuity and how some were unrecognizable as Dr Who. As the year went on, less and less was said, and it seemed as if those fans who were readers were just enjoying reading the stories and everyone else was off doing other, less readerly things.

In Dr Who fandom, as in every other world, some people are readers and some just aren’t. I am, of course, and I belong to an era of Dr Who fandom that spent childhood reading novelizations and bonkers Christmas Annuals, my teenage years reading fanzines with smudgy pages and my twenties reading daringly original novels from Virgin and BBC books. As I’ve said many, many times before, Dr Who for me has always been as much about what’s on the page as it has been about what’s on TV – maybe even more so.

And so at last – uniting two lifelong passions of mine – we get what is essentially the Puffin Book of Dr Who, with a range of new, exciting voices and a good spread of types of stories and ways of telling them. And yes, it’s a mixed bag, but the experiment is a huge success, I think. Each story transports us into another era of the Show and each arrival has its own cosy moments of recognition and familiarity, but they also have bits that belong uniquely to the writer involved. All the way through it’s possible to hear the individual voices of the eleven authors: they haven’t been diluted or distorted by the demands of writing in someone else’s universe.

Every reader will have their favourites. I still loved Eoin Colfer’s bizarre story about Victorian London and the Soul Pirates on a second reading. It’s rendered in the bright, jarring colours of an illustration in a 1960’s World Distributor’s Annual. It has a ghoulish, hook-handed, action hero first Doctor and I enjoyed its bravado. On the other hand (ha) my favourite story in the whole collection must be Philip Reeve’s ‘The Roots of Evil’ – a story that could have been plucked from the middle of Season Fifteen, no bother. It’s a pitch perfect Fourth Doctor and Leela tale about a lost tribe on a moon that turns out to be a spherical tree. It’s funny and scary and hits every note perfectly – a story that really does manage to take us successfully back to Saturday teatime in 1977.

Marcus Sedgwick’s tale of Nordic legends for the Third Doctor and Jo is similarly, brilliantly evocative of its era. I particularly liked the description of a soaked and frozen Doctor turning up his unique personal central heating to full, until he and his Edwardian costume are as dry as a good Martini. I was perplexed, however, by the inclusion of the Rani in Richelle Mead’s story. The Rani has never appeared in licensed Dr Who fiction before, but here she is – and she’s very welcome, though I don’t see a credit line on the copyright page for those (much-maligned, in my opinion) writers and creators, Pip and Jane Baker. Penguin might have to look into this issue for a second edition.

It has to be said that almost everyone hits their particular Doctor’s personality bang on.

Malorie Blackman contributes a Dalek story that turns the creatures on their heads and puts the Doctor in a very McCoy-like quandary. We are taken back to a Skaro only ever glimpsed in David Whitaker’s original ‘Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks’ for this one, I thought. Back when planets were huger and richer and more magical than the ones TV can evoke.

Neil Gaiman bookends the volume with an Eleventh Doctor story, from an era he is, of course, very at home in. It’s a delightfully spooky and macabre tale about ancient Gallifreyan enemies infiltrating the housing market for bizarre purposes of their own. Gaiman gets right to that particular blend of the humdrum and the way-out that Dr Who stories always need. His stories have a crepuscular folk tale feel to them because that’s what Who is, more than anything: a fairy tale.

It struck me, reaching the end of the book at the end of the celebratory weekend, that the stories were quite bookish. Whatever their setting, most of them were tied up somehow in books and story-telling: whether Norse legends or Peter Pan, Enid Blyton and the very idea of The Land of Fiction being an actual, physical place in the Dr Who universe. The Show has always had a keenness to engage with ideas about story-telling and to become quite self-conscious, at times, of its own status as a series of endless cycles of fantastic tales. For me, as a reader who was nurtured so generously by Dr Who fiction as a kid, this book was the perfect way to celebrate.

There’s been a drought in recent years of stories about the older Doctors. Will Penguin please do this again? Can’t we celebrate every year?

Monday, 25 November 2013

How was Who?

A good weekend was had round here, celebrating Dr Who's 50th anniversary. We had Jelly Babies and Prosecco for the main event - the Saturday night episode itself - and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Lots of things to enjoy throughout the weekend - from the bizarre live aftershow party to the spoof film the 80s Doctors made. I spent quite a lot of the time reading the large anthology of new short fiction, '11 Doctors, 11 Stories' (Why didn't they just call it The Puffin Book of Dr Who?!) - which I hope to blog about enthusiastically soon.

So it feels all a bit Boxing Dayish at the start of this week. We're still thinking about zygons and world peace; the numbering of Doctors and where Gallifrey might be hidden (remembering very well the brilliant revelation where it was hidden *last time*, according to Lance Parkin's novel, 'The Gallifrey Chronicles.')

Perhaps feeling like a little break from Dr Who... It's a bit like mince pies on Boxing Day and turkey on New Year's Eve. Nevertheless, today sees me back at work on 'The Annual Years', the chapters of which I'm writing out of order. At the moment I'm back in 1967...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Box of Delights' 29th Anniversary

It’s the 29th Anniversary of the broadcast of the first episode of the BBC TV adaptation of ‘The Box of Delights’.

All those years ago. Just six episodes. But episodes that I’ve watched many times over. A serial that looks a bit ropey now, to modern eyes, maybe – with its blend of live action, animation, camera trickery and Kirby wires. At the time, of course, the makers were very proud of the mind-boggling effects they’d achieved. Taxis turn into aeroplanes, boys become stags, toy boats run rapids and phoenixes appear at the calling of an old Punch and Judy man.

It’s one of those TV shows that seem to have magic trapped inside it. Somehow sheer glittery magic dust is caught up inside the very frames. Masefield’s is one of the most loopily illogical stories and, faithfully adapted, sometimes it’s hard to follow. I’m still not sure if all of it makes sense, but I think it mostly does. Perhaps its opacity is why it stands up to repeated viewings? Years and years after, it’s still yielding up echoes, connections and obscure plot points.

The other thing that repays the constant viewer – besides the crackle and dazzle of the mechanical effects and the strangeness of the storytelling – are the wonderful characters. Everyone in the cast gets their moment to shine and do a star turn. Each year I feel like applauding them when they arrive – especially Robert Stephens and Patricia Quinn as the horrible villains, both relishing every second of it. And especially Patrick Troughton as the old Punch and Judy Man – kindly and frighteningly ancient all at once.

I look forward to starting it again, one episode a week, each year at the end of November. It never grows dull. And there’s something about that eerie, tinkling theme tune – from Hely-Hutchinson’s ‘Carol Symphony’ - that summons up for me the very essence of the season.

So, really – I should be starting episode one tonight. But not yet, I think. First there’s the Doctor Who Anniversary to consider – and tonight it’s all about William Hartnell. A not-too distant relative of the wizardy wanderer Cole Hawlins with his box of magic tricks…

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Iris Wildthyme on audio

There won't be another audio series of Iris Wildthyme. Fans of the cosmic ratbag should stock up on the four series produced by Big Finish Productions between 2005 and 2013 before they go out of stock! Cheers, everyone - it's been a fun ride.

'Calling Mrs Christmas' by Carole Matthews

It’s become a tradition for me already, in the build-up to Christmas – beginning the season sometime in mid-November and reading Carole Matthews’ new Christmas novel. This year’s ‘Calling Mrs Christmas’ came at just the right time for me… while November is vicious and rainy, and our house is still full of soot damage and builders, and everything’s a bit fraught… what I really needed to read is a tightly-plotted, funny, heart-warming story of how one woman takes a grip on her life and seizes the (Christmas) day.

I loved the story of Cassie Smith’s brainwave for getting herself out of the doldrums of watching daytime TV and setting herself up as Mrs Christmas. She starts small by offering to write out other people’s cards and wrapping their presents, and winds up getting paid to make a dashing but depressed millionaire’s dreams come true. It’s another book in which a woman sets herself up in business (I seem to have read a lot of these in the past year! It’s a sub-genre..!) but this one is charming – I really believe in Cassie’s flinging herself into her work and changing everyone’s life for the better. I think this is because Carole’s heroines are never sappy or too annoyingly perfect. They always drink, swear, despair, say the wrong thing sometimes, and sometimes at just the right time. Her heroines are always funny and kind, and want to make things right for everyone – not because the plot demands it, but because they’re just believably nice. Not saccharine – just nice. It’s a very hard thing to write about.

And niceness gets her heroines into trouble. Flashy, expensive men like Carter Randall start to take notice, and become determined to throw everything over for the chance of taking her away from her fella. Already by that point we have such a great picture of Cassie’s relationship with her boyfriend, Jim – their closeness and the way they’ve faced up to adversity. Carter throws everything up in the air when he insists Cassie comes on the Lapland trip he’s paid her to organize for himself and his kids. And, once he’s got her in that hot tub in a wireless and luxurious shack deep inside the snowy woods he starts making her all sorts of promises. And, because she’s so real, she naturally has her head turned and she starts to wonder what life with Carter might be like.

We spend the last half of the novel in a whirl of indecision along with Cassie about where she should turn, and who she should pick. There are no easy answers and, at least two points in the proceedings, Carole Matthews makes Santa Claus cry as a result of the moral quandaries and general upset.

But it’s a very funny and romantic novel, too. I loved all the stuff about the husky sleigh rides and the fairytale ice hotel. Those chapters are a terrific interlude amid all the hectic dashing about and the greyness of home. There’s a bit of magic lodged inside the book, I think. As well as great compassion – which really comes across in the sub-plot to do with the two boys from the young offenders’ home where Jim works. He steps over the line and practically adopts them; getting them to work as elves in Cassie’s business, and doing everything he can to help them into a new life and a flat together. It’s a very touching story – and all about how a little love and attention can bring even the most hopeless cases back from the brink.

There’s a mention of how the boys in the young offenders’ home have no Christmas as such to look forward to. Some of them brew a rough kind of alcohol out of rotting fruit in their rooms, unless they get caught. This rhymes ironically and tragically with the source of the romantic Carter Randall’s vast wealth: he has built his fortune on creating boozy fruit smoothies. It’s just a tiny moment – a little echo inside the book – but it invites us to compare the relative fates of characters in Carole’s world.

She gets her various heroines to try to gather up all these characters and put their lives back on course before the end of the book. Her Christmas stories are about the work you need to do in order to create second chances for yourself and others.


So - tell me. Is it too early to be reading Christmas books? Have you started yet? Just to cheer up November a bit and to get you into the mood? Let me know what your favourites are. I'd love to hear about ones I don't know... 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

New York Christmas by R J Scott

Maybe I’m just tired and emotional near the end of this year. But I really got involved in this romance novel. I cared about what happened to these characters, and hoped that everything was going to turn out right.

R J Scott is a new author to me – and one of those who specialize in gay male romantic fiction. This is a genre to subdivides into all kinds of amazingly specific genres and tastes, but I guess what we have here is a fairly straightforward and only mildly erotic love story. To use imagery from the coffee shop where Chris works, it’s probably a vanilla latte laced with some kind of spicy syrup, and topped with a squirt of something Christmassy.

There was something about the small, snowy, intense world that Chris and Daniel occupy and the day-by-day charting of their early encounters that really drew me in. The book is set almost entirely within coffee shops and apartments around Midtown Manhattan, and we’re focused most of the time on Chris’s neuroses about rekindling this flirtatious relationship with a friend from ten years ago. Now they’re reunited in the days before Christmas, and will they be able to pick up where they left off?

The other character is Daniel – a city cop from a very rich background. I loved the fact that there was no mystery to him. There was no game-playing on his part, or the author’s, about what his intentions were. The two of them are determined to go for it this time. The difficulties and stumbling blocks all come from outside their control – and these are what give the story its momentum and worrying twists and turns. Chris is engaged in a terrible case of unfair dismissal from his fancy teaching job, and is demoralized and licking his wounds. It seems to him like an insurmountable problem – but Daniel tackles it for him. But then, just as it seems a happy ending is on the cards something dreadful happens. Daniel is called with his partner to an horrific crime scene and it seems that things are never going to be the same again.

These two men and their courtship and predicament seemed very real to me. Their awkwardness and hesitations, and then the very exciting moments of shared communication and passion rang very true. This is a classy romance, full of atmosphere. And maybe I’m going soft and sentimental – but I loved it, and wanted more of this kind of gay romance.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Annual Years - Coming Soon

From Stuart Douglas and


"“These extraordinary books are like weird, grotesque shadow-versions of the Show we recognise. They are mutations haunting the wilderness between the domed, protected cities of Canonicity. The world of the Annuals is odder, darker, madder, more psychedelic and surreal. These are adventures in a wilder, destabilized universe. The cosiness of what we recognise as Doctor Who has gone.” - Paul Magrs, from the Introduction

Continuing our recent tradition of doing Doctor Who titles, so long as they're the sort of thing we at in the Obverse Bungalow would like to read, next year will see the publication in hardback of The Annual Years, a serious and detailed look at that most maligned of Doctor Who storytelling, the World Distributors annuals.

From 1965 to 1986, from William Hartnell to Colin Baker, the annuals were weird and witty and wonderful, a big brother to TV Comic and second cousin to Doctor Who Discovers… - and all the more beloved by us because of that.

With cover art and internal illustrations by Adam Bullock, and commentary on every single story from Paul Magrs, author of Doctor Who fiction for Big Finish, the BBC and AudioGo, this is the celebration that the annuals have long been overdue!"

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

'Ghost Hunters' by Neil Spring

I was idling time in Waterstones just before Hallowe’en, and this debut novel by Neil Spring leapt out at me. Amongst the dreary-looking missing women / quirky psychopath / grim procedural / overtly horrific horror novels this one seemed to be reaching back into the golden age of ghost stories. (Golden age sounds wrong for ghost stories. The Cobweb-Coloured Age would be better.)

It’s a set of interleaved stories and documents, with a Seventies academic being given a parcel of papers from Sarah Grey, who was a Ghost Hunter back in the 1930s alongside the famous debunker, Harry Price. The manuscript tells the tale of their repeated journeys to Borley Rectory and the queer goings-on – and the queerer people – that they encountered there. Even though most of the book is about long, shivery nights and that creeping, uncertain feel of the uncanny – there is a great warmth to it.

I loved the two main characters – they’re like Art Deco-era Mulder and Scully, both wanting to believe, both attempting to impose scientific rigour on the hair-raising stuff they encounter. Their relationship is endearing and enduring – and not at all cosy. There are gaps in the story and some wonderful conflicts between them. Both are entirely driven and obsessed with engaging with the world of spirits, and every time it seems as if they’ve got irrefutable proof either way – the rug gets pulled from under their feet, or our feet, or both. There are some wonderful twists here – and I daren’t spoil them for you. But hardly anyone is telling the truth, it seems. Even (especially!) our main narrator Sarah is holding secrets back.

There are hints throughout that, even though this book tells the over-arching story of Sarah and Harry from their first, awkward meeting to their final one, there are other adventures and investigations that we haven’t heard yet. It sounds as if we are being set up for sequels dealing with other excursions into the unknown with these two – and I think they’ll be very welcome.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Steps Back in Time - Seventies Mixtapes Day

Last week I wrote about Ali McNamara's new romantic time-travel novel, 'Step Back in Time.'  Today her blog tour stops at Life on Magrs - and our decade is the 1970s.  We're sharing our mixtape playlists...!

I asked on Facebook for people to send in their top ten tunes from the era of disco and glitter, and they didn't disappoint.

First, here's one who actually wrote us out the cover - filling out this C60 in lurid pink ink. Thanks Blair Bidmead! (Whose own novella, 'By the Time I Get to Venus' can be found here!)

Paul Castle sent his - choosing one song per year - and says he blames BBC 4 for his newfound love of disco:

1970 - Your Song - Elton John
         1971 - Imagine - John Lennon
         1972 - You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
         1973 - Killing Me Softly with His Song - Roberta Flack
         1974 - Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
         1975 - I'm Not in Love - 10cc
         1976 - Dancing Queen - Abba
         1977 - I Feel Love - Donna Summer
         1978 - Le Freak - Chic
         1979 - We Are Family - Sister Sledge

Tony Amis made his own cassette cover too...

For those who can't read upside down, that's:

Sweet - The Six Teens
Elvis Costello - Alison
Kinks - Apeman
Queen - Seven Seas of Rhye
The Jam - Batman theme
Sparks - This town aint big enough
David Bowie - Five Years
Damned - New Rose
Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash
The Clash - White Riot

And Jamie Griffiths sent me two lists - one for staying in and one for going out:

Side One – for a night out
·         Norman Greenbaum      Spirit In the Sky
·         T Rex                                     Ride A White Swan
·         Lou Reed                             Satellite Of Love (1973)
·         Barry White                        You’re the First, The Last, My Everything
·         Supremes                           Stoned Love

Side Two – for a night in
·         Don McLean                       Vincent
·         Art Garfunkel                    Bright Eyes
·         Cliff Richard                        Miss You Nights
·         David Bowie                       Rock N Roll Suicide
·         Kate Bush                            Wuthering Heights

 Amy Besson wrote and said:

Hi Paul

I wasn't born in the 70s so writing something set in that time was challenging. Music really helped so this playlist is all music I referenced in my writing - some of it is music I like, some of it was what mum really was listening to, and the rest stuff that was in the charts and fitted.

Love A

Top ten 

'Sugar, Sugar' The Archies
'She's a Lady' Tom Jones
'Band of Gold' Freda Payne
'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' B.J. Thomas
'In the Summertime' Mungo Jerry
'It's Too Late' Carole King
'Brown Sugar' The Rolling Stones
'Get It On' T-Rex
'Waterloo' ABBA
'When will I see you again' Three Degrees

 Amy and her mother, Sarah Beeson are publishing their first book, 'The New Arrival' with Harper Collins next March, and I made her promise to come back and tell us more about it closer to the time.

Here's my list - which has some overlap with those above:

You can do magic – limmie and the family cooking
Do you know where you’re going to – Diana ross
starman – david bowie
satellite of love – lou reed
simon smith and his amazing dancing bear – alan price
My first my last my everything – barry white
I lost my heart to a starship trooper – sarah brightman
Wuthering heights – kate bush
Eve of the war – jeff wayne
Dr who theme – geoff love

I realised that the more you get into it, the harder it is. Everyone else's list reminds you of something you missed out...

And Ali McNamara sent in hers, too:

Top 70s songs
This is so hard to choose just a few…
The 70s was the peak of the disco era – so to begin I have to pick:
Waterloo - Abba
Anything from Grease!
Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees,
Hot Stuff  - Donna Summer
Then there’s -
My First, my last, my everything - Barry White
More than a feeling – Boston.
Don’t stop me now – Queen.
Your Song - Elton John.
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
Let it Be -The Beatles.

How’s that for an eclectic selection!