From Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones: Anthony Bourdain’s 25 favourite songs to cook to
Marking the late, great chef Anthony Bourdain’s birthday we thought it best to revisit the man’s two greatest passion food and music, in one handy playlist. The chef has always been a part of both alternative scenes of each field and is a legend that is still very sorely missed to this day.
Bourdain is a figure who became synonymous with non-conformity. Whether through his progressive food, his dedication to the dive bar and all its inhabitants, or his adoration of all things punk, Anthony Bourdain was a bastion of anti-establishment splendour and he was determined to integrate his two passions.
The chef was a well-known champion of New York’s punk movement, and somewhat coincidentally, Bourdain was also at the forefront of the food scene as it began to bubble away in the cauldron of NYC’s backstreets. It was a marriage made in heaven for the young Bourdain who saw both chefs and musicians as creative equals, both working in similar undulating patterns, both touching the darkest reaches of the city every night and both, it would seem, with an unstoppable thirst for chaos.
This love affair with punk had always been at the forefront of Bourdain’s entertainment work. Whether it was inviting guests like Iggy Pop on to his shows to share his knowledge or plugging his seminal programme Parts Unknown full of raging rock anthems, Bourdain kept the beat going throughout his life.
It has meant on the various playlists that Bourdain has created in his life punk rock has always been front and centre. But on this one, things are a little bit different. That’s because, despite their Venn diagram patterns of behaviour, the kitchen was not Bourdain’s place to lose control. Check out Bourdain’s 25 favourite songs to cook to below.
Included in the list are some of the chef’s favourite artists such as Elvis Costello and Roxy Music but lacking are the known punk heroes of the chef like the Ramones or Dead Boys — even The Heartbreakers misses out. But there are some songs which have always resonated with the chef, picking Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Pusher Man’ he once told Rolling Stone: “Ahhh…cocaine. I wanted it. And even though the Superfly soundtrack (unlike the film) is decidedly anti-drug and cautionary, it sure made coke sound desirable to me.
There is also a spot on the list for Brian Jonestown Massacre’s ‘Anemone’, which Bourdain said was “drenched in opiates and regret, I heard this song once and became besotted by it. It sounds like lost love, past lives, unforgiven mistakes and transgressions,” fitting acclaim for the song’s creator and Bourdain’s friend, Anton Newcombe
The artists included in this list of perfect songs to cook to, created for his PBS show The Mind of a Chef offer a vision of Bourdain in his kitchen. Tenderising chicken to Johnny Thunders, sashaying his hips to the latest soul or some Bill Withers, or swinging around the counter to A Tribe Called Quest there’s even a spot for experimental genius Ryuichi Sakamoto, for a piece of contemplative listening.
If you have a meal planned this evening, one that takes a little extra time in the kitchen than usual then we can’t recommend this playlist highly enough. Below find the complete list and the bumping playlist.
Anthony Bourdain’s 25 favourite songs to cook to:
‘Across 110th Street’ – Bobby Womack
‘Pusher Man’ – Curtis Mayfield
‘Wedding Dress – Mark Lanegan
‘Use Me’ – Bill Withers
‘Tangled up in Blue’ – Bob Dylan
‘Both Ends Burning’ – Roxy Music
‘Too Many Creeps’ – Bush Tetras
‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’ – Johnny Thunders
‘Time Has Come Today’ – The Chambers Brothers
‘Hollywood Perfum’ – Pretenders
‘Sweet Jane’ – The Velvet Underground
‘What?’ – A Tribe Called Quest
‘If I Had No Loot’ – Tony! Toni! Tone!
‘Anemone’ – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
‘Cold Shot’ – Stevie Ray Vaughan
‘Family Affair’ – Sly & The Family Stone
‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’ – Ryuichi Sakamoto
‘Plundered My Soul’ – The Rolling Stones
‘Street Life’ – Randy Crawford
‘Pets’ – Porno for Pyros
‘Et moi, et moi, et moi’ – Jacques Dutronc
‘Main Titles’ – Mask
‘You Only Live Twice’ – John Barry
‘Riot Act’ – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
‘That’s The Way of the World’ – Earth, Wind & Fire