“Come to play some tunes in Heaven at Glastonbury on the Sunday,” said ex-punk turned ambient guru Mixmaster Morris. “It’ll be fun if some of the tracks you play reference ‘heaven’.”

As Glastonbury is my favourite festival in the world – having served as a de facto introduction to the counter-culture and acid house in the late ’80s — and the invite was to DJ in late-night freaks paradise Shangri-La, my fave area of the festie, how could I refuse? The Glastonbury gods had shone down on me – and I’d get to see The Stones for the first time too.

But what to play in Heaven? A quick internet search and I’m ruling out Eric Clapton, Led Zep, M-People and Heaven 17 for one reason or another, and I pull out my battered copy of Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Heaven Up Here’ only to leave it at home cos it wouldn’t really fit. The idea was not to play too serious – and any chance to subvert the brief was to be welcomed.

So here were ten I played, but what did I miss out?

1. Pixies ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’

One of their finest moments, from 1989’s ‘Doolittle’ album, with a great intro, rolling bass groove and fine use of their louder/quieter grunge aesthetic. They may not be such a big deal without Kim now, but the Pixies still rule.

2. Tavares ‘Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel’

Anything goes in Heaven, and this disco delight would potentially lure disco dollies to a life of vice – although, in reality, just made a few fairy girls jig about a bit.

3. Stone Roses ‘Breaking Into Heaven’

With its long intro – water trickling, crickets, dubbed-out reverb, shuffling beats, Squire squiggling and so on — the opening track from the Roses’ long-awaited second album ‘The Second Coming’ was quite controversial when it came out, largely by being a departure from the norm. Hello!? It’s great, Ian Brown’s voice finally arriving halfway through when it breaks into guitar-heavy psychedelic funk. Celebratory.

4. Talking Heads ‘Heaven’

“Heaven is a place/Where nothing ever happens,” sings David Byrne on this near-forgotten, near-acoustic gem, and not a lot does.

5. Belinda Carlisle ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’

To avoid playing a cheesy cut such as this, I tried to burn techno bods Orbital playing a live version of ‘Halcyon’ at Glasto in ’94, when they brought in an ironic, mirthful Belinda sample towards the end. But the track didn’t burn properly, so I had to play the original. It went down great. Cheese sells.

6. Fiction Factory ‘Feels Like Heaven’

Amazingly, this lightweight ’80s MOR synth-pop ditty nicely fitted the vibe of post-irony prevalent on a Glastonbury Sunday.

7. Style Council ‘Heavens Above’ 

Weller, after his punk and mod days, turned funk soul brother and produced some gems. This one hasn’t aged so well, in hindsight.

8. Femme Fatale ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’

Instead of dropping The Smiths’s original, went for this half-baked electro-pop cover, for some reason. It was received with indifference, although it did prompt someone to come up to request The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ which I’d sadly overlooked.

9. Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy For The Devil (Fatboy Slim Remix)’

It was THE tune of the festival. From our position in the middle of the vast crowd, The Stones had been magnificent, and the crowd were singing the “woo-woos” on the way out of the Pyramid Stage area on the Saturday night. How could I not include Fatboy’s faithful reconstruction?

10. AC/DC ‘Highway To Hell’

The incongruity of playing metal in the chill-out tent, and another nod to the fact that the devil has many of the best tunes.

What else could I have played? I did drop Happy Mondays ‘Hallelujah’ and some conscious dub, but how else could I have sailed through the Pearly Gates?

6 COMMENTS

  1. My faveourite is Cicero’s Heaven Must Have Sent You Back To Me. Or if feeling more moody, In Your Room by Depeche Mode.

  2. I remembered Sparks when I got to Glasto, and someone reminded me of The Cure too while I was DJing. That Cicero one, though, is next level!

  3. Belinda Carlisle’s does it for me, pure atheist anthem. But no mention of Bryan Adams’ ‘Heaven’, a classic cut before all the Robin Hood shenanigans?

  4. for some irony listen to “heaven can wait” by charlotte gainsbourg and beck, but for true beauty of course the cure “just like heaven” and cocteau twins ”
    heaven or las vegas”

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