A musical A-Z: N

Lots to choose from in ‘N’. Please continue to add your own choices. Any artist, album, band or song, as long as the name begins with ‘N’.

After the end of Joy Divison came New Order. This British band formed in 1980, and took the burgeoning dance music scene by storm, with their driving electronic beats, and a style just perfect for this new craze. In 1983, they released a record that became one of the biggest sellers of all-time, and remains an anthem to the genre, to this day.
Blue Monday

Odyssey were one of the New York soul and dance groups that emerged in the 1970s, and produced many hits that have endured ever since. Still played all the time on radio stations, and much-loved as party music too. Their first worldwide hit was also one of their best. It feels like it has never dated.
Native New Yorker

This next song is always associated with the smooth sound of Nat King Cole. He released this ballad as long ago as 1948, and it still sounds great now. I could have snapped up the chance for a double ‘N’ by using Nat’s version. However, I have always liked to hear George Benson sing this song, so I chose him instead, from the wonderful album ‘Give me the Night’.
Nature Boy

American band Nirvana have a huge number of fans, and I confess that I am not one of them. But as I always like to be completely honest, I have to admit to a great admiration for their biggest commercial success, from 1991. So here it is.
Smells Like Teen Spirit

Some songs get better every time you hear them. And some actually improve on the original, albeit rarely. And sometimes, not actually liking the person that much can put you off a song, but not in this case. Not only arguably one of the best love songs ever written, this is also possibly the best cover version to ever improve on an original. Everyone knows it, but I could not leave it off. It is just too good to hope that someone else would mention it. Despite thinking the original from Prince was just marvellous, I was completely blown away by this epic version from Irish singer, Sinead O’Connor. Quite simply one of my favourite songs of all time. Musical magic.
Nothing Compares 2 U

No Steely Dan today, but a ‘sort-of’. One half of that great American duo, Donald Fagen, released a solo album in 1982 called ‘The Nightfly’. This has a Jazz feel to it on some tracks, but the unmistakable voice and great song construction made it seem just like the ‘next Steely Dan album’ to me. So, a double ‘N’ for The Nightfly, and this great song from it too.
New Frontier

My top pick today is from someone you might never have heard of. Scottish singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini took the charts by storm with his debut release, in 2006. A second album cemented his fan base, and gained yet more critical acclaim. He then had a five-year absence before his last release, in 2014. Although he still tours and performs, he has never managed to recapture that early success. No matter, as he left behind one of my favourite songs of the 21st century. It will be in my head all week now.
Last request

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44 thoughts on “A musical A-Z: N

  1. You have an eclectic list for this letter, I like the Donald Fagen tune. I also definitely second a previous writer’s choice – – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and like George Benson, he did a song “Nature Boy,” that’s a favorite. Natalie Merchant, formerly with 10,000 Maniacs, has a distinctive voice that some people love, and she’s from Jamestown, NY so she gets bonus points.

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  2. Damn! I missed this on the day of….my double double……”Negative Creep” by Nirvana and “Nasty” by Nas…..tunes….”No time Left For you’ Guess Who, “Na na Hey hey good-bye” Steam…..”Naked Man” Randy Newman……”Nasty Girl” Vanity 6….now I can move on to the “o”…..chuq

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  3. I love Paolo Nuttini. I can’t buy shoes without singing his song about the new shoes (even if only my head) and pencil full of lead puts me int a great mood always. Great selection as always, Pete. Thanks for making my day.

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  4. Songs~ Nothing Ever Hurt but You~James Morrison, New York Minute~Don Henley, No Regrets~The Walker Brothers, Pencil Full of Lead & Iron Sky~Paolo Nuttini
    Artists~ Nickleback, Nerina Pallot, Nell Brydon
    Album~ Need You now ~ Lady Antebellum.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to see that New Order is featured! One of my fav bands of all time. I also have to mention Australian act Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arcade Fire’s album “Neon Bible” and my fav Love and Rockets song, “No New Tale to Tell.”
    Hope all is well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. New one on me, Theo. Not sure if it was a G for Grace, a P for Potter, or an O for Ooh La La.
      I will settle for an N for Nocturnals. I like Grace, she’s raunchy! Good video too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoa! Nirvana? How cool you have become. I love 90s alternative rock and that group/song was the cornerstone. N’s for me would be: multi-talented Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, Nora Jones, No Doubt, INXS “Need You Tonight”, Rush “New World Man” and U2, “New Year’s Day”

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  7. Such a great mix mix Pete. I haven’t heard of Paola Nutini, so I’ll definitely be checking that video out. My picks would include: Nat King Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole, Nine Inch Nails, and Natalie Imbruglia. For songs:
    Native Son – Bryan Adams
    Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart – Chris Cornell
    Neon Knights – Black Sabbath
    Never Again – Disturbed
    Neutron Dance – Pointer Sisters
    Nothing But Love – Brian Wilson

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As always Pete, a nice eclectic mix of music – I would only add a few to the mix:

    “Nightrider” from ELO – a crunchy rocker from “El Dorado” – or how about some vintage early Michael Jackson when he was with his brothers – the ballad “Never Can Say Goodbye” – and finally, the great Daryl Hall had his first solo album locked up by the record label – when the Sacred Songs album was released on CD years later, it included a gorgeous outtake called “North Star” – there you go!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You already took Nirvana and New Order (Blue Monday was my favourite 12″) so I have to mention Nina Simone and another of my favourite bands that only I have heard of, The Neutrons (two albums back in the seventies and that was about it).

    As for songs, how about No More Heroes by The Stranglers and (especially for you) Nice Weather for Ducks by Lemon Jelly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Teagan. The Beatles wrote so many great songs, there is almost one for every letter of the alphabet.
      I’m not a huge fan of them myself, but no doubt they will get lots of mentions.
      Nice of you to play along, and to comment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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