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From Tom Petty to Bruce Springsteen: Kiefer Sutherland's 9 favourite songs of all time

Kiefer Sutherland is a bit of a law unto himself. A well-respected actor who famously portrayed Jack Bauer, the counter-terrorist extraordinaire in the hit Fox series 24, he has always been so much more than his most iconic role. In short, Sutherland is a man who is hard to pin down. 

He was a peripheral member of the cohort of actors known as the ‘Brat Pack’, those who starred in mid-late 1980s teen-oriented films that also included the likes of Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald. However, in the years since Generation X matured, he has starred in cult hits such as A Time to Kill, Dark City and Phone Booth and has even lent his voice to a couple of entries in the Metal Gear Solid video game franchise.

It would be wrong to totally dismiss Sutherland’s ‘Brat Pack’ films, however. Between 1986 and 1990, he starred in four films that are all beloved in different ways. In 1986 he appeared as the bully John Merrill in Stand by Me, the year after he worked on the supernatural cult classic The Lost Boysand in 1988 he appeared alongside ‘Brat Pack’ brotherly duo Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen in the western Young Guns. Then, in 1990, he played protagonist Nelson Wright in Joel Schumacher’s psychological thriller, Flatliners.

As well as starring in more left-field outings such as Lars Von Trier’s 2011 film Melancholia, Sutherland is also the son of esteemed actor Donald Sutherland of Klute and M*A*S*H fame. A versatile actor who has shown a highly eclectic taste across his career, it is sure he will continue to surprise his audience.

Refusing to be pigeonholed as solely an actor, in 2002, Sutherland and business partner, singer-songwriter Jude Cole, established independent record label, Ironworks. The now-defunct label was housed in the Silver Lakes area of Los Angeles, and in 2015, it released the seventh album Out of the Wasteland by the turn of the century one-hit wonders Lifehouse.

Unsurprisingly, Sutherland does not just reside behind the mixing desk. He is also an avid singer-songwriter and has released two full-length studio albums, Down in a Hole and Reckless & Me. He is set to release his third effort, Bloor Street, in January 2022 and will even tour the UK in January and February that year.

Now, in a recent interview with NME, Sutherland revealed to fans a selection of his favourite songs of all time. Sorry, Lost Boys fans, there’s no mention of gothic classic ‘Cry Little Sister‘. Providing a concise soundtrack of his life, Sutherland proves himself to be an ardent disciple of that very American style of stadium-filling singer-songwriter which boasts names such as Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen et al. 

However, the first classic that Sutherland revealed his love for was not by Petty, Springsteen or even John Denver. Instead, it is British legend Elton John and his 1970 ballad ‘Your Song’. Explaining that it was the first song he ever fell in love with, Sutherland admitted: “I had a brother named Tom. He was seven years older than I was, so I ended up wanting to be him and do everything like him; I was probably the first kid in second grade that was an Aerosmith fan. But the first song that I really fell in love with? It would have to be Elton John, ‘Your Song’. I just love the melody and I thought he sang it so beautifully.”

Don’t lose hope, all you land of hope and glory adherents. Sutherland quickly returned back that uniquely American type of songwriter. He revealed that the 1976 album by Bob Seger, Night Moves, was the first record he ever bought. He explained that he found a thrill within Seger’s highly ’70s lyrics about a bustling high street in an unknown major conurbation. Sutherland said: “Bob Seger wrote really linear stories. It wasn’t like a Pink Floyd song, which was loaded with metaphors. He wrote a song called ‘Mainstreet’ and it was about a kid walking down Main Street, passing a pool hall and a strip bar. He wrote these fantastic stories about those teenage years and, like, that first girl, where you took her to the point and made out. I really connected with that.”

The actor then asserted that if there were any song by another artist that he could have written, then it would be the late Tom Petty’s ‘Honey Bee’, a number taken from his second solo album, 1994’s Wildflowers. Rootsy and drenched in Americana, given that Sutherland also strives to write a similar sort of music, this comes as little surprise. Of the song he wished he wrote, he said: “Oh, there’s a thousand. ‘Honey Bee’ by Tom Petty would definitely be one of them. It’s a simple song, but it’s such a badass rock tune and it’s so much fun to play. We played it last set but I certainly wish I’d written that.”

Check out some of the songs that comprise Kiefer Sutherland’s record collection, below.

Keifer Sutherland’s favourite songs:

  • Tony Orlando and Dawn – ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree’
  • Jim Croce – ‘Operator’
  • Elton John – ‘Your Song’
  • Bob Seger – ‘Mainstreet’
  • Tom Petty – ‘Honey Bee’
  • America – ‘Sister Golden Hair’
  • Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born To Run’
  • Pat Benatar – ‘Love Is A Battlefield’
  • Bruce Springsteen – ‘Racing In The Street’

Given that the title of the interview series was ‘Soundtrack Of My Life’, the last question that the actor had to answer was the one that we’ll all have to answer one day. The rather morbid subject of what song will play at our funeral.

In response, Sutherland said with an understandably uncertain answer that it would probably be Bruce Springsteen’s uplifting magnum opus ‘Born To Run’ or ‘Racing In The Street’ taken from Darkness on the Edge of Town. He explained: “Oh, I haven’t thought about that! I spend most of my time thinking about the tombstone – I haven’t considered the song. Maybe Bruce Springsteen, ‘Born To Run’, or ‘Racing In The Street’. I think those songs would have encapsulated, on some level, my life.”

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