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Dan Morris: Running up that hill to my favourite ocean

With Kate Bush having recently stormed the charts in spectacular fashion, I can't help but dream about other legends of yesteryear I'd love to see rock the boat with a classic track.

There's nothing like the magic of live music...
There's nothing like the magic of live music...

Could Sir Springsteen dance in the dark all the way to Number One glory? Have the times a'changed too much for Doctor Dylan to drop a diamond from days gone by into the mix? Should Cher turn back time with a retro re-release and make us all believe again?

For me, however, there is one shining star above all others I'd love to see take everyone to school and blitz his way to the top spot with the absolute best of his bangers. Billy, you've always been my favourite ocean, and the danger sign is on...

For me and mine, Red Light Spells Danger by the one and only Billy Ocean has always been a special number. How exactly we came to discover this particular belter from before our time, I couldn't say. All I know is that over the course of several fateful months in our mid-twenties it became something of a stag do anthem. Then of course it became a wedding reception anthem, and has since evolved into an anniversary / something-good-has-happened-anywhere anthem.

With the great man still in fine voice at the age of 72, the lads and I have, on various occasions, taken sabbaticals from our roles as devotees of the rock music pantheon and been to see Mr Ocean live in concert. Talk about a bloke who proves that age is just a number.

Still flexing his hips and setting the room alight as a septuagenarian, our boy Billy is an inspiration, and I would die a very happy man if this year his magnum opus was crowned – even for one week – as the top tune in town.

Sadly, this year we lost a different musical hero of ours. Big fans of Foo Fighters for many a year, my close pals and I were among those of the masses that were very upset to hear of the passing of the band's drummer, Taylor Hawkins. A man whose passion blistered out from the stage like a force of nature, and whose talent shone even brighter than his world-famous teeth, Hawkins was an incredible musician and performer, and a man gone far before his time.

Back in 2008, I was lucky enough to see him play live at Wembley. Alongside his fellow Foo Fighters, Hawkins delivered the gig of a lifetime, showing the whole world how to do stadium rock, and – perhaps more importantly – how to enjoy it.

His enthusiasm for his craft was infectious, and throughout his career he appeared to cast a spell over his peers and fans alike. This of course has been evidenced by the rapturous enthusiasm that has so far accompanied the run up to the concerts that are due to take place in his memory this September.

Though they were separated by genre and a generation, Taylor Hawkins and Billy Ocean were and are true purveyors of the magic of live entertainment, gifted in lifting spirits through their sheer magnetism and mastery of their trade.

In this post-pandemic world, we can now enjoy said magic again. This weekend, thousands of revellers are breathing in the excitement of the world's greatest music festival, with Glastonbury having returned for the first time since 2019. The nicest thing, of course, is that we don't have to hop, skip and jump all the way to Somerset, stadia or even big cities to experience live tunes delivered by those born to deliver them. All across the West Midlands and Shropshire, champions of music's magic can be found in pubs, clubs and even on street corners. They may not have the billfold or the back catalogue (yet), but many have got those special ingredients that bring a light to the room and a grin to our faces; charisma, commitment, and a thirst to entertain.

With Kate Bush back in the spotlight, Billy Ocean still going strong, and stars like Taylor Hawkins burning brightly until the very end, now is the time to support these musicians. The enduring legends of tomorrow could be just around the corner, and the stag doo anthems of the future on our doorstep. I can feel the heat is on...

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