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Sam Fender's 10 favourite songs of all time


Sam Fender’s sophomore album, Seventeen Going Under, has seen the musician anointed as Britain’s next great songwriter. Delving deeper into his personality, Fender’s list of favourite songs of all-time paint a picture of the musicians that have helped the Geordie to become the artist he is today.

The BRIT Award-winning 27-year-old singer-songwriter is well on his way to becoming a future headliner of Glastonbury, and he’s walked the hard yards to get to this position. In 2013, coincidentally, Ben Howard’s manager sat down for a drink at the pub in which Fender was working in North Shields, and Fender made the most of his opportunity by persuading him to take a chance.

It took six years of lows and career stagnations before releasing his debut Hypersonic Missiles. The LP topped the charts, and everything seemed to be in his grasp until the pandemic struck. As a result, Fender was instructed to shield by the NHS, and this time spent in his own head formed the basis for his second album, Seventeen Going Under.

Sam Fender’s favourite songwriter of all time

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As the record looked back upon his early years, it’s fitting that he also made an appearance on the BBC’s ‘Tracks of My Years’, which invites artists to reflect upon the songs that have soundtracked their existence so far.

Fender’s first selection harked back to his youth and is The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ followed up by another 1990s classic courtesy of Nirvana and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. There are a few surprising inclusions on his list that you wouldn’t associate with Fender, such as Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song For You’, as well as Sam & Dave’s ‘Hold On, I’m Comin’, and also an inclusion from the Spencer Davis Group.

Unsurprisingly, however, Fender also includes Bruce Springsteen’s hit ‘Born To Run’. Previously speaking about his love for ‘The Boss’, he said: “He’s my biggest hero, he’s my man, every single song, every album. My brother got me into him when I was 15 years old. I’m from a seaside town, a very blue-collar place with loads of funny comparisons – Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore, that is the obvious one.”

He continued: “He made rock ‘n’ roll intelligent for me, it was the first time I had ever listened to lyrics. I mean I loved AC/DC and all that, just like guitar music about getting pissed and lasses and that but he was the first time that I felt like he was writing rock ‘n’ roll music that was about my hometown.”

Finally, his last selection is Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’, which he also spoke about with Absolute Radio in 2019. Fender explained: “It’s spellbinding. It’s such an incredible track. The first time I heard it, it’s one of them things when a song just punches you in the chest. It did that. I was like proper, proper in tears, sat in the tour bus like (mimics crying).”

Listen to a playlist of his selections below.

Sam Fender’s 10 favourite songs:

  • The Verve – ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’
  • Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’
  • Guns N’ Roses – ‘Welcome To The Jungle’
  • Steely Dan – ‘The Caves of Altamira’
  • Led Zeppelin – ‘Houses Of The Holy’
  • Sam & Dave – ‘Hold On, I’m Comin’
  • The Spencer Davis Group – ‘I’m A Man’
  • Donny Hathaway – ‘A Song For You’
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – ‘Born To Run’
  • Joni Mitchell – ‘Both Sides Now’

Stream the full playlist, below.