5 Songs for a Desert Island

music rainbow

This second post in this summer’s series of three was inspired by my sister’s blog post about her answer to a question put to her by a prospective client:

What 5 songs would you want to have with you if you were trapped on a desert island?

This of course got me to thinking about what mine would be. Here goes…

  1. We’ll Rise Again by the Rankin Family. My daughter and I sang this over and over again with the cd on repeat, on an occasion that marked the end of a bit of a rough patch in our relationship.
  2. Flashdance: What A Feeling by Irene Cara. I always want to turn the volume way up on this one and can’t not dance when I hear it.
  3. Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. It was “our song” in the summer of 1967, the other half of “our” being smeone I still haven’t forgotten. (Don’t tell Peter.)
  4. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen or k.d. lang. It send chills up my spine every time I hear it.
  5. Somewhere Over the Rainbow My favourite version is Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s. It evokes for me Judy Garland’s “Wizard of Oz” version, others that have been sung at a couple of important Lake-family occasions, and (oddly enough?) Kermit the Frog’s Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie which I loved hearing when my kids were little.

There’s no Beatles song on my list because I’d be hard-pressed to choose just one. If you’re a Beatles fan and haven’t come across Paul McCartney’s 2012 album, check it out. It’s great. Put it on for your friends and chances are they won’t even be able to identify who’s singing.

Now, please share your Desert Island Music Picks, won’t you?

Share this post:

Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Janet Barclay on July 29, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Kathy, I'm just thrilled that you decided to play along! Can't wait to see what your other readers pick out.

  2. Kathy Stinson on July 29, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Me too, Janet. I hope they aren't all away on desert islands for the summer!

  3. Anne Bergstrom on August 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Kathy,

    This was hard!! Jurgen Gothe used to talk about Desert Island discs… I also love a couple of yours choices, Rise Again (written by Leon Dubinsky), and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which I sang to my kids at bedtime. But I came up with 5 of my own.

    1. is a complete album because I love everything on it. The Swedish singer-songwriter Esbjörn Hazelius released a solo album in 2009, called 'Blunda och du ska få se' (Close your eyes and you will see). His voice and his songs are soulful and mesmerizing. I've done some translating so I know what a few about, but they're quite satisfying even without understanding the lyrics. Here's a video of a couple of them.

    2. Garnet Rogers – Night Drive. Heard it live at the Trailside Cafe, Mount Stewart, PEI and it gave me the shivers. About feeling that Stan is still with him.

    3. Bach's aria, Sich üben im Lieben, from the Wedding Cantata. Sung by Kathleen Battle with James Levine and the Chicago Symphony, on a CD called Music at Ravinia. That aria features hauntingly beautiful oboe playing by Ray Still, principal oboist of the CSO for 40 years, and my brother's late father-in-law.

    4. Sweet Thames Flow Softly, written by Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, sung by Christy Moore and Sinéad O'Connor. My sister taught me this years ago, and this is my favourite version.

    5. My favourite Beatles song is, I think, In My Life. But I have them all in my head, so I wouldn't really need to bring any recordings to the desert island. I've seen Paul perform live twice, once in Montreal in 1990 and once on the Halifax Common in 2009. He has a fabulous voice, but John's songs are my favourites, and I'll miss him forever.

    If I could have a 6th – MaryJane Lamond singing The Blue Mountain's Lullaby. 🙂 She was just at Boxwood Festival with us and performed this there.

  4. Kathy Stinson on August 10, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Thanks for playing along with your desert island music choices, Anne. Your descriptions and reasons for your choices inspire me to check them out right away, but I'm going to wait till I'm somewhere with a decent internet connection. I'm not on a desert island at the moment, but pretty much the next best thing. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Please read my Privacy Policy before commenting/subscribing.