Soundtrack Of My Life: Gilles Peterson

Soundtrack Of My Life: Gilles Peterson

The song I wish I’d written

‘Happy Birthday To You’

“It’s the highest earning song ever. I’d never want for anything again…”

The first song I remember hearing


Juliette Greco – ‘Sous Le Ciel De Paris’

“My Mum took me to see Juliette Greco when I was quite young. Being French she was an important artist [for me].”

The first gig I went to

Purley All Dayer – Top Rank club in Purley, Croydon, London

“Hudson People played ‘Trip To Your Mind’ and threw a record out into the crowd. I caught it, kept it and wouldn’t let it go even though I got beaten up on the way home.”

The song that I can no longer listen to


Anything I’ve ever played

“DJ-ing Tunes last about a month with me. At gigs I sometimes can’t listen to what I played last time, let alone a month ago. It’s an affliction, I need to stick to one set like a professional. Alas, I tend to trust the amateur ethos of ‘play what you like’ at any given opportunity.”

The song that changed my life

Sun Ra – ‘Astro Black’

“My primary school teacher had studied with Ra and came back to Cheam in south London to teach. She would make us all wear gold robes and masks from the Biba [fashion store] in Knightsbridge. This was about 1972. We all made percussion instruments and would spend our days learning Ra’s compositions. I led my class in ‘Astro Black’ at the school assembly and gained a huge round of applause for my esoteric approach to the newly invented ARP synthesiser.”


The song I do at karaoke

The Gap Band – ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ 

“My wife is Japanese and can sing many Japanese soap opera theme tunes with full emotional intensity. After that, I rarely venture near the mic. Although I once tried ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ by The Gap Band as a counterpoint to her raw emotional high.”

The song that makes me dance

Barry Miles – ‘Magic Theater’

” I used to play this at the Electric Ballroom in Camden circa 1982. There would be full on dance battles in front of me and I fantasise about stepping out from behind the DJ booth, winning a dance battle and returning to the booth before the song ended; which is basically a long way of saying ‘I can’t dance’. Although, when under the influence something would implore me to inexplicably let the knee drop.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Anything by N.E.R.D.

“It’s all in the acronym.”


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