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Top Ten Tunes

Stephen Fry


Special guest DJ

Ladies and Gentlemen ... and the rest of you can leave ... now! Go on -- out!

Tonight, all the way from sunny Norwich, flown in at gaggingly high cost on Two Paddocks Virtual Airways (First Class --So good, you never sleep). The Most Loved Man in Television and Film, and pretty much any other medium yet devised ... the Ridiculously Funny, The Unnecessarily Handsome, the Alarmingly Intelligent, The Absurdly Tall, The Overly Modest, the Unfairly Talented, The Abundantly Charming, Man of The Fens, here tonight exclusively in the Dayglo Disco: Actor, Producer, Director, Author, Satirist, Comedian, Tweeter, Soccer Tragic, Occasional Political Activist, (Lordy this is exhausting) ... Sometime Theatrical Luvvy, Bloody Blogger, Winner of the Hair Lottery, and so on ... a list as long as your arm. Here he is gliding his way through the adoring crowd ...

You love him in Q.I. (Should be B.F.*), you loved him as Jeeves, you loved him in Blackadder, you loved him with Laurie, you loved him as Wilde, you loved him as the Cheshire Cat, you loved him as Kingdom, you love him with animals, with words, with Wagner, with taxis, with black dogs, with ancestors, with, with .. .oh God there is no end to this ... the man not only defines Polymath, he can bloody well spell it. And you will love him as the highest Hobbit ever.

We just love him as a good egg.

Give it up, if you please, on your feet, hands in the air, a big Dayglo Disco welcome ... for the Superbly , Staggeringly, Stunningly Splendid ... Mr ... Stephen FRY!!!

So here we are. I am deeply aware, as you will be when you've examined my ten, that I'm not one of the world's great popsters, so I hope you'll forgive my mad eclecticism.

  1. Spanish Flea - Herb Alpert and his Tijuana Brass.

    Herb is a good old Jewish boy from Fairfax, LA, but that doesn't detract from the genius of this phase of his extraordinary musical life. If this doesn't cheer you up, you are uncheerupable.

  2. Exsultate Jubilate Alleluja - Cecilia Bartoli.

    This singer can do no wrong in my eyes, or should that be ears? Her attack, passion and verve always thrill me. This final section of Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate is an encore and should have you cheering and bouncing.

  3. The Intro and the Outro - The Bonzo Dog Band.

    From their Album Gorilla this mad and wonderful piece exhibits the inimitable voice of Vivian Stanshall one of my great heroes. I could have chosen any Bonzo number, they influenced me even more than Monty Python, but this seems like an amiable example of their surreal brilliance

  4. Young and Foolish - Tony Bennett and Bill Evans

    Absolute brilliance from two geniuses at the peak of their form. Bill Evans was one of the greatest jazz pianists who ever lived and Tony Bennett - well he needs no plaudits from me. My heart breaks every time I listen to this, especially the way he hits the word "rain" ....

  5. Sunday Morning Going Down - Johnny Cash

    This great song was written by Kris Kristofferson and is a matchless evocation of a lifestyle of nostalgia, loneliness and a longing for hearth and home that is secretly felt by all troubadours, artists and restless vagabonds. I adore Cash and this is him in prime form with prime material.

  6. It Should Have Been Me - Yvonne Fair

    Why isn't this great artist better known? What a song. What delivery.

  7. Der Holle Rache - from Mozart's The Magic Flute.

    Lucia Popp as The Queen of The Night. Yes, that's a human voice. The same organ you and I use to order pizza or ask the way to the honey-wagon. How does she hit those notes with such purity and fury? A jealous mother sings her rage.

  8. Fernando - Abba.

    Well, why the hell not, Hm? Hm?

  9. Without You - Harry Nilsson

    It was either this or Everybody's Talking. A great songwriter and this song reminds me of early fumbling embarrassed adolescent discos. It was the smoochy one the DJ played last.

  10. The Overture to Tannhäuser - Sorry but you're not getting away without Wagner. I know how much of a trial he is to some and I know that this is long, but it's the piece that switched me on to the genius, sonofabitch that he was. . Wait till those strings start sweeping in.

Stephen, consider us cheered! A terrific Top 10 we will revisit again and again. The Disco Horde te salutate! The Proprietor pulls a forelock! Many many thanks. A big hand MAXaPPLaUSE PLEaSE as the big man leaves the room! Once again ...Stephen Fry !!!

Q.I. - easily our favourite thing on the telly here at T.P.H.Q. We feel 'Quite Interesting' should be in fact called 'Bloody Fascinating' , but then it wouldn't have the same exquisite sense of understatement, would it?

Footnote: The Proprietor remembers with complete clarity hearing Stephen for the very first time on Radio 4 circa 1983, while parking the car on Old Marylebone Rd., and being unable to leave, laughing himself silly until they were finished. Hugh Laurie was there, and reasonably sure Emma Thompson as well ... A moment for the Road to Damascus.

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