Soundtrack Of My Life: Edith Bowman

Soundtrack Of My Life: Edith Bowman

The song I wish I’d written

Billie Eilish – ‘Bad Guy’

“Well, I did write some really shit songs when I was at school in a band, but this is my choice for the track I wish I’d written. Billie is such a unique entity. I grew up with Madonna as my icon and she was someone who didn’t conform to any rules. She did what she wanted to do and was a bit like: “Fuck you!” I really loved her for that because she gave so many people a voice and I feel like Billie’s got a very similar ting going on. On top of that, the music is phenomenal!”

The first song I remember hearing


‘You Are My Sunshine’ (Trad.)

“I don’t know who wrote this, but my grandads would sing it to me as a kid. I grew up in a little fishing village called Anstruther in East Fife in upper Scotland. My grandad Bowman lived about two miles up the road in a town called Pittenweem. He and I used to spend weekends together because my mum and dad worked in a family-run hotel. He was always singing little songs to me like this one. But it was also a real favourite of my Grandad Eddie, my mum’s dad. It makes me really smile. I can feel my cheeks popping right now just thinking about it.”

The first album I owned

Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’

“I was given it as a present. It’s a great album but it’s mired in dark controversy now which is such a shame. I do find it difficult to listen to his music now and weirdly I was in a shop in LA a couple of months back and they were playing a Michael Jackson track on the radio and it did make me feel really uncomfortable. But at the time, there were no grooves left in the album because I played it so much. It was an absolute work of art.”

The first gig I went to


Rod Stewart – Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, 1983

“My mum was – and possibly still is – the world’s biggest Rod Stewart fan. She took me to see him when I was seven and it was amazing. I remember spending most of the gig on the shoulders of a family friend. Rod was wearing a shimmering white tuxedo-style jacket, leopard-print trousers and a t-shirt. Stock Rod Stewart outfit, he’s not changed in all these years. But I remember doing Isle of Wight coverage last year and he was headlining in pretty much the entire same outfit. Maybe a little more give on the trousers though!”

The song that reminds me of home

Midlake – ‘Roscoe’

“We nearly named our first child after this one. It’s a big comfort blanket. It makes me think of my husband and my kids and being all snuggled up and almost being cuddled by love. I adore this song.”

The song I can no longer listen to

Sisqo – ‘The Thong Song’

“There was a time when I was doing daytime BBC Radio 1 call-ins and there was a lot of stuff that we played constantly, including this. Weirdly, it was on the radio recently and I thought, ‘oh my god I love this song!’ It’s weird how if you take a break from something, then hear it again you’re like ‘ah yes!’”

The song that changed my life

Editors – ‘An End Has A Start’

“There’s a line in this song that goes: “More and more people I know are getting ill”. [My husband and Editors frontman] Tom Smith never talks to me about lyrics and what he’s writing about, but that was written around the time my mum had breast cancer. Luckily, we still have her and she came through it. I’ve heard this song hundreds of time – live, on record, whatever – and it still gets to the core of my soul every time. I don’t know whether Tom put it in deliberately. I don’t even know if it has any relevance to my mum. I don’t really wanna know to be honest, but for me, it symbolises how powerful music – and even one line in a lyric– can be.

The song I want played at my funeral

Richard Hawley – ‘Coles Corner’

“We didn’t have a first dance at our wedding. We had a last dance instead. It was so we could secretly keep the night going longer because we had limited time in the building due to a [late night] license thing. I think it’s a beautiful song, I hope it would make people smile in a slightly weird situation.”

Edith Bowman presents two episodes of ‘Life Cinematic’, BBC Arts’ new series of television specials featuring world-renowned directors exploring the art of filmmaking. It is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer


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