If you were listening to BBC 6 Music on the radio this morning, you would've heard me talking to the ace Lauren Laverne about my Desert Island Disco playlist! I'd been thinking about what I'd pick for weeks and finally sent them off this week, and got a call the next day to say they wanted me on the next day ... apparently it was Madonna's 'Borderline' that swung it.

Having DJ'd in my 20's/30's collating my favourite tracks of all time was a great way of making up for the fact I don't get to DJ so much now. Having 2 wonderful children! and 2 business' means there's not much time for 'free time' as we call it in our house. 

Helen on the decks

My music taste has very much been shaped by the different types of music I’ve listened to throughout the years. As a kid, it was all classical music and choirs – my Mum and Dad never listened to any decent ' bands’, instead playing the piano and introducing me to the likes of Sibelius & Manhattan Transfer! I think the only decent record we had in the house was The Beatles - 'When i’m 64' and by decent I mean it was the only thing I could have a proper dance to!  

My teenage years were full of soul music, soundtracked by the likes of George Benson, Luther Vandross and Soul II Soul, and when 1988 hit and the whole acid house scene kicked off I was in my element! I went to Polytechnic up in Liverpool and spent my time going to clubs then trying to find to all the amazing new house music, particularly piano house which I was hearing  – Maybe Mums piano playing did have an effect after all! 

While I was at Polytechnic my vinyl addiction thrived. I was buying 12”’s every week with my then student grant, both up in Liverpool and back at home when I visited London. I worked at Fopp Records for a big chunk of my career too. That was a pretty educational time of my life when it comes to music as I was exposed to all sorts of artists, from David Axelrod to Larry Young to The Buena Vista Social Club and hundreds, if not thousands of other artists I’d never come across in my youth!

I finally got round to buying some decks with my first ever pay cheque from my first ‘proper’ job, and then spent the rest of the 90s DJing with all the records I’d bought & loved. 

It’s so difficult to whittle down my favourites to just a few tracks, I also love a lot of Indie, Folk, Jazz, Rock and Pop music but it seems to be more house & disco that I’ve chosen for the desert Island disco.

These are the tracks I would be gutted never to hear again... 

1. One Dove - Fallen  (Andrew Weatherall)

I remember trying to get hold of this for ages after first hearing it.

2. Jose Padilla - Adios Ayer (Paul Dayley remix)

Love the original but this is just an amazing remix.

3. Karen Young - Deetour 

Reminds me of happy times in Croatia when I played it on a boat party there after a big gap from DJing.

4. David Beneath - Feel The Reel (12 remix)

5. Sugar hill Gang - Rappers Delight

Who didn’t learn all the words to this as a kid!?


6. Fire Island - Fire Island

Best track on one of my favourite labels of the 90s - I’m also a sucker for a rap.

7. Pet Shop Boys - Left To My Own Devices

First time I heard this I was blown away by the strings and the build up - I’m not a big Pet Shop boys fan but this is ace.

8. Jump - Funkatarium 

Such good dirty house music.

 9. Adonis - No Way Back

So good we named our men's clothing brand after it!

10. Ten City - That’s The Way Love Is (underground mix)

Happy times spent in Ibiza with my besties - it’s our tune.

11. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes - Don’t Leave Me This Way

Just a fab voice and makes me want to dance every time I hear it.

12. Ashford & Simpson - Found A Cure ( Tom Moulton mix)

Love disco and this is probably my favourite.

13. Last Rhythm - Last Rhythm 

Easily one of the best house tracks ever - its got everything.

14. Prince - Controversy

Got to have some Prince!

15. Electric Dreams  - Phil Oakey & Giorgio Moroder

Me & my best friends record and then also my partner Chris & mine. It was played straight after he asked me to marry him - just before I was about to DJ 2 years ago.

16. The Tramp - Say No Dope (Exnd vocal mix)

Used to listen to this every week as a student driving from Liverpool to Manchester to go to Luvdup nights.

17. Frankie Knuckles - Your Love

 Shivers when I hear this now.

18. JT Company - Don’t Deal With Us

More shivers and piano house! Reminds me of too many memories I’ve forgotten. Where’s the rave.

19. Madona - Borderline


Who doesn’t have a favourite Madonna track?! This is mine.

 You can listen to me chatting away about why I love music so much over on the BBC iPlayer here.

April 07, 2017

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