FT Arts

Kate Bush retreated to a farmhouse to craft her richly layered song of love and insecurity. It reaffirmed her place as a pre-eminent songwriter and went on to feature in the London Olympics closing ceremony. Richard Clayton follows its history.

Credits: Noble & Brite, Beams, Frontiers Records, Elevator Lady, Italians Do It Better, Obsolete Media Objects


Before Julie Andrews’ famous film performance, John Coltrane had turned this Broadway number into an off-kilter jazz classic. Mike Hobart charts its history.

Credits: RCA, FourMatt, Hallmark, EMI, Decca, Universal.


Rising above personal tragedy, Edith Piaf wrote a defining classic for post war France.

Helen Brown follows its path, as read by Anna Metcalfe.

Credits: The Restoration Project, Marianne Melodie, Universal Music Group International, Thousand Mile Inc, Naïve


It took Wilbert Harrison a long time to get traction with his ode to fidelity, but it became a hit for him, Canned Heat and later Bryan Ferry. Richard Clayton traces its progress.

Credits: The Restoration Project, Marianne Melodie, Universal Music Group International, Thousand Mile Inc, Naïve


Bob Dylan’s cryptic number is one of the signature songs of the 1960s, signalling a shift in his career. It helped launch The Byrds to stardom and was pivotal in the development of indie rock. Richard Clayton follows its history.

Credits: Columbia, Legacy, Spectrum, Naxos


The grand hymn of redemption took a long path to its current stature in American spirituality, from John Newton’s original lyric to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Ian McCann follows its turbulent history.

Credits: Rhino Atlantic, Marathon, Ameritz Music, Bandleader Recordings, UMC


Sam Cooke’s political lament, released after his untimely death, went on to become a civil rights anthem. Sue Norris charts its history.

Credit: Universal Music Group International, Rhino Atlantic, Time Life Music, RCA


What drew jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Chet Baker to a twinkly tune from Disney’s ‘Snow White’? And what became of the child star who first sang it? Lilian Pizzichini traces its history


Bobbie Gentry’s understated ballad was reworked by jazz musicians, the ‘rebel-country’ movement and Motown – and even parodied by Bob Dylan. Ian McCann traces its history


Written for The Shirelles in 1960, Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s song nailed the insecurities of a new generation of women. Helen Brown looks at a classic of the female singer-songwriter canon