Julian Lennon teamed up with iHeartRadio when he was in New York City recently to Guest DJ a radio station that's perfect for him.
"Talking about other peoples songs is a pretty weird thing for me to do," Julian tells iHeartRadio, "Except for the fact that they affect me one way or another, and generally that’s emotionally. They all touch me in some way, because they were all about very much a time and a place -- the soundtrack of our lives, that wonderful quote.
"I wanted to choose artists that I thought were real artists in every way, shape, or form. They’re all very unique and they’re all great singer/songwriters."
Check out his top ten tracks below.
1. Steely Dan, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"
"My first song choice is one of my all time favorite bands, Steely Dan," Julian says. "I first heard these guys when I worked in my mother’s restaurant as a waiter in my early, early teens. She used to play Steely Dan all the time, and I fell in love with them because they were the nearest thing to, for me, to crossover to slightly jazz-oriented music and rock and pop.
"Very inspired by Steely Dan, and I think 'Rikki Don’t Lose That Number' was the first song that I really recall hearing from Steely Dan."
2. Kate Bush, "The Man With the Child in His Eyes"
"At a time when you were listening a lot of -- at least in my mind -- pretty standard pop and rock music, Kate Bush certainly jumped out of the box. She was unique and special. Obviously every man in the world had a crush on her, 'cause she was incredibly beautiful, but she wrote incredibly beautiful songs too," Julian tells iHeartRadio. "'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' was the first song that I heard from her, and I was quite blown away because there weren’t really many female artists that were so creative with their songwriting... I think she’s always been amazing, in fact I wish she would put more material out there.
"In a heartbeat I would collaborate with her, but not unlike me, she goes to the rhythm of her own drum. She puts an album out when she feels like it, when she has the material that she thinks is right and ready for the public, and that can be every few years or every ten years... I melt every time I hear her voice."
3. Alanis Morissette, "Thank You"
"What a force to be reckoned with. Lyrically motivating, lyrically she gets to you every time. She digs deep this one. Not only lyrically, but musically too. I love a good song that has a good message but also a great groove to it and this is one of those songs that I can just put on repeat and listen to over and over again."
4. Aqualung, "Just For A Moment"
"I don’t really know how many people know Aqualung," Julian says. "He’s a very unique guy. I don’t even actually know his name, but I just remember seeing him on one of the old school music shows in the U.K. -- 'Top Of The Pops' when that was around, and he was weird, lanky looking, very tall, quiet, and the thing is he wrote and produced everything, way before we had garage band, logic and computers... He played everything, and every song to me on this album was emotional in every way. 'Just For A Moment' is one of those that gets me a little choked up. It’s a very emotive song. I dare you not to shed a tear or choke up a little bit when you listen to this."
5. U2, "One"
"There’s not too much I can say about this except that it's one of the most perfectly written songs. I think everybody knows this song worldwide. Everybody feels the same way about this song and what it represents to people.
"It’s a song I could not fault even if I went digging for days. For me, great song writing is lyrically having an expression that says what the subject is about. Melodically, it has to ring true to that too emotionally. Musically, that has to tell the same story. So if you listen to lyrics, melody and the music separately, they all tell the same story, but when they come together and say the same thing, that’s when I get goosebumps. That’s the magic moment that I strive for and without question this is one of those songs."
6. Bob Marley, "If This Love"
"Bob Marley, probably my number one peace advocate. The way that he approached the songwriting represented that love is important and one of the most special things that we should dedicate ourselves to. Not that it cures everything, but love certainly enables us to do far more than not.
"Even though there’s a lot of other incredible reggae artists out there, the moment you hear Bob Marley, your toe is tapping, you’re moving, you’re grooving... the thing is he gets your physical body moving whether you like it or not. But the great thing is the story incentive lyrically that comes from his songs is pretty positive. He’s someone that just puts you in a good mood mentally and physically."
7. Cassandra Wilson, "Love Is Blindness"
"I’d never heard of it before, and a friend played her -- at the time it could have even been a tape, it might have been a CD -- and I absolutely fell in love with this. The whole album, Harvest Moon, is one of those LP’s and one of those songs that I feel I should be sitting either on a rocking chair on a porch with at sunset or sitting in front of a fire place whether it’s Christmas or any other occasion. Although lyrically she’s very emotional, she tends to relax me. Her voice is absolutely beautiful, incredible, and she’s just one of those artists that for me I can’t even consider pigeonholing. She puts me at ease. Most of our lives these days are so full and so rushed and so on-the-go, that the moment I put this song on -- as well as the album -- I’m able to kick my boots up and put my feet up and just breathe. That’s one of the main reasons why I picked that one."
8. Civil Twilight, "Human"
"The last time I was here in America taking meetings I fell in like with Celebrity Rehab," Julian says. "We don’t have this kind of stuff in England or Europe... you people over here are nuts! God! So I kept watching this, and I kept hearing this song, 'Human,' at the end. But at the time Shazam hadn’t been invented, and they didn’t say who the artist was for weeks and weeks. Eventually Shazam came out and I was able to find out who it was, and then fell in love with this song. I think it’s a kind of song I would like to write as well. I mean it’s very, it’s simple again. Deep, emotional. It is very moody and I love that.
"This is probably the first band from Australia that I have absolutely fallen head over heels for, and I look forward to hearing the next stage of their career."
9. Crowded House, "Amsterdam"
"Crowded House, one of my all time favorite bands. Had the pleasure of not working with them directly, but when I was over in Australia for the first, second, maybe third album too, promo tours and touring out there, we were on a couple of the same shows so we kept bumping into each other.
"Always been a major fan of theirs. Probably some of the best songwriters around, especially Neil Fin. Actually saw Neil do a one man show in London last year. Blew my socks off. He was absolutely ridiculous because he played alone, number one, and had a very good, very intelligent sense of humor. Audiences would throw songs at him --even songs that weren’t his, that he hadn’t written, that he didn’t necessarily know -- people would throw them at him and he’d figure out and sing and play the songs immediately. It was staggering.
"I love this new album, I think it’s absolutely brilliant... 'Amsterdam,' when I first heard this, I thought, 'This is one of those songs that I would without question consider doing live.' Again it’s not dissimilar; it’s something I would’ve written melodically, arrangement wise, etc. etc., and would very much consider doing this live. There’s only a few people that I would consider doing that with but this song in particular is one of them."
10. Massive Attack, "Teardrop"
"'Teardrop.' What’s not to like? That has to be in probably top 10 of all time in many respects. The production on it is timeless. It’s a song that I could never be tired of. I had the pleasure of meeting the boys way back when. Way, way back when. I would have loved to have worked with them at some point, but they continue to amaze me. Without question 'Teardrop' has to be my all time favorite from them... I just think they’re a phenomenal, phenomenal band. Unique, above and beyond."
Photos by Katherine Tyler