Lily Allen has been in the public eye since she emerged in 2006 with her triple-platinum debut album, Alright, Still. It was a record perfectly aligned with British noughties culture, and Allen soon became an unavoidable presence.
The singer was forced to grow up in the public eye, and like everybody else, she made some mistakes along the way — except ours weren’t published in the tabloid press. Allen quickly became notorious after making a series of remarks about her peers, which landed her in hot water. However, she’d admit this was down to her own insecurities years later.
In recent years, Allen has reclaimed the narrative surrounding her through a series of endeavours, such as her 2018 autobiography, My Thoughts Exactly. Allen was also frankly open during her appearance on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2014 when she named the eight songs she’d like to be stuck with on a desert island.
As well as naming her favourite songs, Allen also spoke about why she needs music to survive. “The only thing I can do really is write lyrics,” she told host Kirsty Young. “The only way I know how to do that is by being honest and doing it with integrity, because otherwise there’s no point.”
Her first song selection was the Britpop anthem ‘Common People’ by Pulp. Explaining her decision, she said: “I’ve chosen this because it’s an amazing song for a start. It takes me back to an era I very much enjoyed watching from the sidelines which was kind of Britpop, and my dad being at his most anarchic. Although that was painful at the time, in retrospect, it looked like quite a lot of fun”.
Adding: “I’m very attracted to songs that paint pictures, and Jarvis (Cocker) is a master of that. It’s a song I heard in my teenage years, and it’s been something that’s stayed with me on my Discman, Walkman, iPod ever since,” she laughed.
Every guest that appears on the show names their favourite track out of the eight picked, and Allen named ‘I Am The Resurrection’ by The Stone Roses as hers. Additionally, she became the first person to include The Streets as one of their selections when she chose ‘Blinded By The Lights’.
The most poignant moment in the episode came when she tearfully revealed why she picked ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ by Etta James, which reminded her of the day she suffered a tragic miscarriage in 2010. “I just remember leaving the hospital empty-handed, so to speak, and driving from Homerton and Hackney all the way down to Gloucestershire, with this song on a CD that Sam was playing. In a weird way, it’s a nice song to connect to,” Allen emotionally added.
Listen to a playlist of her complete list of selections below.
Lily Allen’s favourite songs:
- Pulp – ‘Common People’
- Sultans Of Ping FC – ‘Where’s Me Jumper?’
- The Stone Roses – ‘I Am The Resurrection’
- The Streets – ‘Blinded By The Lights’
- Gerry Rafferty – ‘Right Down The Line’
- Etta James – ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’
- General Degree – ‘Traffic Blocking’
- Tommy McLain – ‘Before I Grow Too Old’