Together with his close, late friend John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd is responsible for one of the most successful movie/music crossovers of all time.
We're talking, of course, about The Blues Brothers, and the pair’s SNL sketch-turned-cinematic classic lives on not just in hall-of-fame status for movie lovers, but the fact Aykroyd still performs in the band to this day, with Jimmy Belushi filling in the shoes of his brother.
When not making movies or music, however, he’s the force behind the effortlessly cool drink that is Crystal Head Vodka. So when we caught up with Dan in London during a rare spare half hour in his busy life, we asked about the music which has influenced him the most – the songs which make his Ultimate Playlist.
Needless to say he's a soul man...
Crystal Head Vodka 3L Jeroboam is exclusively available from Selfridges, 70cl bottles widely available in high end retails, online and spirit merchants; Instildrinks.co.uk
FAVOURITE LYRIC FROM A SONG
“That’s a tough one. ‘I bet you a rhinestone on time and as I was putting down the deposit, you split with all my furniture, and left me with the hangers in the closet.’ It’s from I Underestimated You by Westside Andy / Mel Ford Band. It’s just funny. Some of the greatest lyrics are in the Blues: ‘Who’s making love to your old lady while you were out making love?’ That’s a great lyric [Who’s Making Love by the Blues Brothers]. That one stands out, I like that song, it’s just funny. ‘I used to live on sunrise highway, but now I live on lonely avenue.’... [Also from I Underestimated You] – it’s a tough question.”
FAVOURITE SONG THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS HEARD OF
“Hang Out the Stars in Indiana. It’s by an American swing band, I’m not quite sure who sang it but it’s an old song from the 30s. It’s just evocative of a more innocent time and the vocals are quite sweet on it, it’s quite nice, it’s a vintage piece that I just fell in love with straight away. I have it on a 78, my dad had a collection of 78s so I’ve been hearing it since I was a kid. It’s just a beautiful American song.”
FAVOURITE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK SONG
“Oh, by all means the Bond theme. That guitar riff - Monty Norman composed it and then John Barry arranged it. It’s just spectacular. Just the guitar riff and the feeling of “yeah” – just the expanse of it. The original version of it, from Dr. No, is still the best one for me.”
FAVOURITE SAD SONG
“It would have to be Something’s Wrong with my Baby by Otis Redding. It’s a beautiful, sad, romantic ballad and it just speaks of what happens when you’re intertwined with a partner. You know, you’re only as happy as they are. And vice versa, hopefully! I’m a big Otis Redding fan, I love ['60s US record label] Stax and Volt, in fact I think my favourite movement in American music is Stax and Volt. It was all of those records that they did in the 60s. Steve Cropper, Donald Dunne – who joined my band eventually and totally legitimised The Blues Brothers by having Otis Redding’s guitar players. When people saw that, well, they knew we were serious about the music. So you had Booker T. and the M.G.’s, the Bar-Kays, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Johnny Daye, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and Walking the Dog, Funky Way, all these terrific songs. The Stax people worked in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where the studio was operating from at the time. Many of them were white guys, white players who were basically so immersed in the culture that you could say – except for their skin – they really were black inside. Their soul, their feeling, they felt the kinship with the African American.”
FAVOURITE ONE HIT WONDER
“96 Tears by ? & The Mysterians. ‘We’ll be together for just a little while, and then I’m gonna put you way down here, and you’ll start crying 96 tears.’ It’s an old rock song from the '60s. It’s my favourite because of the use of the Hammer B3 Organ, it’s my favourite instrument. It’s beautiful. My friend was playing it the other day, just an organ track, and it was great.”
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
“Catch a Falling Star by Perry Como. It’s whimsical, the instrumentation’s beautiful. It’s a song you have to listen to like it’s leading you along, as if you’re kind of chasing it a bit. It really has that quality, you have to pursue that song a little bit. You’ll never catch that star, but you can try!”
FAVOURITE CURRENT SONG
“I love this artist named James Hunter who used to record with Van Morrison and play with him. I love his song Chicken Switch. It’s on his latest record. I’m a big James Hunter fan, he’s one of the great singers of our time.”
FAVOURITE WEDDING SONG
“Oh How we Danced on the Night that We Wed… [sings] – that one – oh how we danced! So many people have done it, it’s a standard. I can’t remember which one is my favourite – it’s definitely one of the foreign versions. I’m not sure who sings the one I like, it’s been done by so many people."
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR OWN MUSIC
“Going Back to Miami, our cover of the Wayne Cochran tune, it just has everything that a song will have. It’s got drive, it’s got rhythm, it’s got boldness, it’s got just a relentless kind of groove. That one always gets the crowds up rocking, so I just love playing that one."