The first single that I ever bought
Our House by Madness. I was four, so the actual purchase was instigated by my father. He was such a big music fan and wanted to make sure that I knew this was the first song I was buying. I still adore it. In 2020’s lockdown, we did Kitchen Discos: I sang on my Instagram with the kids. After 10 weeks, I chose to close the whole thing with Our House. It celebrates the glory and chaos of family life.
The song that is my karaoke go-to
I used to sing Shoop by Salt-N-Pepa, and it’s really fun to do the rap – but when you do a karaoke version, the backing track is quite slow, so you get people looking a bit concerned for you as you trip your way through it. Basically, what you want is a people-pleaser. The one I go to is Faith by George Michael. It just always works.
The song I’ve streamed the most
In the days of having an Alexa, the ruler of the roost is my little one, Mickey. He’s two, and he will get a passion for a song and just play it over and over. For a while it was Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez; now we’ve progressed to In Da Getto by Skrillex and J Balvin. He likes his heavy dance and his reggaeton as well. It could be a lot worse.
The best song to play at a party
If you want something a bit slinky, Grace Jones – Pull Up to the Bumper. But if you’re trying to entice people to the dancefloor, then I’d probably go disco. Thelma Houston’s Don’t Leave Me This Way is very seductive.
The best song to have sex to
For music that’s got that undercurrent of “the man singing wants you to get saucy”, it’s got to be Darling Nikki by Prince – you’re not reading between the lines with that one. Kiss has got lots of flirtation, too. Gett Off would be my top one.
The song I want played at my funeral
The one that I’ve said since I was really small is Mickey by Toni Basil – which, I grant you, is going to be quite weird. It came out when I was about two, and it made a big impression on me. It’s got such urgency and passion and it’s a little bit off-kilter. It’s probably not one of the Top 100 hits for funerals, but I think of it as “one of my songs”.
The song I pretend to hate that I secretly like
I’m not really afraid of saying what I like. I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. The things I say are my favourites are my favourites. There’s a song that came out by Rufus Wainwright song, Peaceful Afternoon, that’s just so beautiful. I like Everything Now by Arcade Fire, Harmony Hall by Vampire Weekend.
The song that is my actual favourite
It depends what mood you’re in. But some songs are just pretty perfect. Something like Wichita Lineman [by Glen Campbell], it’s a very beautiful song – just glorious. It sounds wistful and captures the purity of wanting to find that connection with someone: you’re sending out your message to them. That’s all of us, isn’t it? Hoping that someone’s on the line.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco is available on BBC Sounds.