Peter Gabriel is not just music for your dad

The lead singer of Editors, Tom Smith, tells us about some of the songs that mean the most to him, from tour mates the National to his ex-label mates Prefab Sprout to Bruce Springsteen

Red Rain, Peter Gabriel

I'd always assumed that Peter Gabriel was "music for your dad", not the type of thing I'd like. However my friend Guy Garvey from the band Elbow is a massive fan, so I asked him what was the best introduction to Gabriel's music. He recommended So. Red Rain is the first track of the album and it starts with Stewart Copeland's high-hat line, which is a great introduction. It's definitely a record of its time, but it's still an amazingly good piece of songwriting.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Sunflower, Low
Low are a three-piece American Indie band that have been going for quite some time. I listened to them a lot when I started university and when we first formed the band. Low are one of those groups who can get away with playing simple chords, creating totally un-laboured music. Sunflower is the type of song you imagine you've heard before. and it totally sums up what makes a great, simple record. I was so inspired by this song that I copied several of the chord patterns on one of our early b-sides.
Not available on iTunes, but you can hear it on YouTube.

Give a Little Love, Rilo Kiley
I'm a newcomer to Rilo Kiley and recently bought their album Under the Blacklight. I really fell in love with this song; it's pure pop. Not bubblegum, throwaway pop, but great pop. The singer, Jenny Lewis, is the type of girl who makes shy boys scared. She's a fantastically sexy, intriguing frontwoman.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Bonny, Prefab Sprout
We were initially signed to Kitchenware Records in Newcastle, who made their name by signing Prefab Sprout. This song is from their biggest record, Steve McQueen. I began listening to it after we were signed. Its production is quite dated but it still sounds amazing, with beautiful female backing vocals. It's not a straightforward pop song; it's a bit twisted, which I like.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Chocky, Mogwai
I've loved Mogwai since I was a teenager, because of the power their songs held and the formula they often used in their albums: quiet, then loud, and then quiet, then loud. This song, however, from the album Come and Die Young doesn't conform to their previous habits; its power is subtle not shocking. It's sinister and takes its time. To me the fact that they can convey such a strong message without words is the mark of a great band.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Put a Penny in the Slot, Fionn Regan
Fionn's signed to Bella Union, one of the few remaining Independent labels. We've toured with Howling Bells and are about to tour with Kissaway Trail, also signed to the label, so I decided to give his album a listen. He's a fantastic emerging folk star and even though he didn't win the Mercury music prize, getting nominated at least gave him the recognition he deserves.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

About Today, The National
We had the National support us on our last major tour and their set ended with this song. They are one of the very few contemporary bands that have really got under my skin and touched me. I'd watch this, their last song, and it would totally ruin me. It's so achingly beautiful and emotive that it would leave me speechless, ruining my gig. Hats off to them for writing it.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Wordless Chorus, My Morning Jacket
An American band that Russell, the Editors' bass player, and I saw at Glastonbury about 3 years ago. They over-ran because they were so caught in the moment, and roadies eventually had to come on stage and turn off their amps, all of which left a great first impression on me. This song opens their newest album, Z, and is a total mish-mash of styles. It's great when bands do something totally unexpected and continuously change your perception of them. It's totally irresistible.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
This is the perfect song to drive to at night, watching the world go by. Bruce is a legendary artist who's still got that magic he started with. Like Iggy Pop he's still touring and playing and is just as iconic and great as he once was. Onstage he's a total force of nature and this is an incredible song.
Click here to buy from iTunes.

As told to Rosie Swash.

· Editors are touring the UK in October. Visit their MySpace page for details.

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