Desert Island Songs Selection
Chubby Checker: The Twist.
When I was a baby reporter just starting out in London, I got sent to interview him and he taught me how to do the twist. Up he popped from his armchair in the hotel suite, and started doing it. Then he made me put down my pen and notebook and do it, too. It was great fun. So there you have it, my claim to fame: taught how to do the twist by CC himself.
Elvis: Suspicious Minds.
I went to Graceland and also to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, a tiny shack. The contrast between the two homes was enormous. I did some graffiti on the wall outside Graceland (they supplied pens for the purpose, everyone did it). And I bought an Elvis mug which I still use, manky and stained though it is.
The Police: Roxanne.
I interviewed Sting in the garden of his house in Highgate in London on a glorious sunny day, and he talked very worthily about the environment. He was quite ahead of his time in that regard. This was the 90s. His wife Trudy appeared on the balcony in her dressing gown, waved and came down and snogged him. I mean really snogged him. Then a native American appeared in full tribal dress, followed by a pygmy with a loincloth and a plate in his lower lip. I thought I’d fallen down the rabbit hole.
Lenny Kravitz: It Aint Over Till It’s Over.
I was wooed to this song by my husband (David Murphy, RTE’s business editor).
Alice Cooper: School’s Out.
When I was 18 I got a holiday job with a music agency in London and he was on their books so I met him. He always wore full makeup. Also met Motorhead there. Lemmy used to pitch up and demand cash from his agent. He’d hand over vast wads of dosh and Lemmy would look at it and say that takes care of the weekend.
The Undertones: Teenage Kicks.
I grew up in the North and it gave us hope to think we could be known for something other than violence. Also this is the best teen anthem ever written. And l still have a crush on Feargal Sharkey.
U2: With or Without You.
David and I went to see them in Nice on their last tour as guests of Paul McGuinness, who invited us because he bought our book Banksters and liked it. It was surreal being among the VIPs like Julian Lennon and Prince Albert of Monaco. But better still we met all these ordinary guys from Howth who were Larry Mullin’s old schoolfriends, pinching themselves and having a great time: he always gives them VIP tickets to his shows. I liked that.
David Bowie: Space Oddity (Ground Control To Major Tom).
Ahead of its time. One of the first concerts I ever went to, in London, and the best. Got pulled over by the police en route to it for switching traffic lanes without indicating. They read me the riot act.
The Clash: London Calling.
Because it did. Like many of my generation, I went to college there and worked there and had a ball all through my 20s, before the Celtic Tiger lured me back to Ireland.
Pavarotti: Nessun Dorma.
I went to a press conference he gave shortly before he died and it was hilarious. He wore a tent, had badly dyed black hair, and produced an enormous spotty red hanky which he mopped himself with every 10 seconds, and he had hardly any English but he beamed at everyone, radiated goodwill and the sheer force of his personality carried the day.
Blondie: Heart of Glass.
I wanted to be Debbie Harry growing up. Her music stands the test of time: she had talent as well as attitude.
Bee Gees: Saturday Night Fever.
Interviewed them: they were very normal, not showbizzy. Nice manners: Robin walked me out from the hotel suite to the lift and pressed the button for me.