FT Arts

For more than 50 years, this ballad’s haunting charms have proved irresistible to many of the world’s leading musicians. Credits: Firefly Entertainment, Black Sheep Music, X5 Music Group, Manhattan Records, UMC, Mute/BMG, Sony Music Classical, RCA Records Label

 

Songs can be mixed blessings. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ most famous one brought bliss to all who touched it – except its composer. Credits: AP MUSIC LTD, Universal Music International Ltda., Rhino

 

The song crystallises a moment in time between the optimism of the Summer of Love and the darkness on the desert horizon. Cathi Unsworth explores its history. Credits: Boots Enterprises, Inc., 4AD, Columbia, Ever

 

Joy Division’s stripped-down sound signaled a new direction for music in 1978, but the lyrics to this song would prove horribly portentous. Credits: WM UK, London Records, Universal Music International Ltda, Palare, BBE

 

Ian McCann charts the transformation of UB40’s number one hit, from Neil Diamond’s country ballad to iconic reggae ditty.

Credits: Virgin Records, Universal Music International Ltda, Sanctuary, Capitol Records, Authentic Jamaican Music, K-Licious Music

 

The song that defined Fleetwood Mac’s high water mark went on to be covered by country-folk and hip-hop artists

Credits: Rhino/Warner Bros, Charly Digital, Universal Music International Ltda, S4DK

 

David Honigmann follows Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway’ from its origins in a Welsh cottage to Wayne’s World’, the White House and bedrooms everywhere

 

Prince wrote his song about partying in the face of nuclear threat during the cold war but it gets heavy rotation to this day

 

This 1853 Christmas Carol, set to the melody of a 13th-century Nordic Hymn, has since fallen into the hands of Joan Baez, Tom Jones and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple.

 

Greg Lake died this week, and this track remains an enduring Christmas classic.

Credit: Syco Music, Universal, Decca, Symphonia