Mercury Music: Your Friday playlist with… Mark Thompson

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:08 21 July 2017

Ken Dodd, patron for Friends Of The Playhouse, with Mark Thompson.

Ken Dodd, patron for Friends Of The Playhouse, with Mark Thompson.


The Mercury playlist is back, and this week we asked The Playhouse’s manager Mark Thompson for his top 10 favourite tracks. Imagine this as Desert Island Discs, only on Steep Holm island.

Mark Thompson is the regional manager at Parkwood Theatres, and runs The Playhouse in Weston, as well as others in Barnstable and Ilfracombe. He has worked in theatre for 17 years. Here are his top 10 tracks...

Queen – The Show Must Go On.

This song has become something of an anthem to my everyday life. Theatre is unlike any other industry in the world and if it’s not in your blood, it’s not the right industry for you. It’s a lifestyle choice as opposed to a career and this song sums it up well. But wider than that, I think it reflects everyday life and needing to continue, no matter what is thrown at you.

Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror.

This song has been a huge part of my life since I was younger. The lyrics are important in this song. It’s about reflecting on your decisions and never settling for something when you can strive to be better and that if you want to make a change in the world you have to start with yourself. Michael Jackson was a musical genius and arguably the greatest performer ever watching him as a child definitely had an impact on me ending up in entertainment.

Martha & The Vandellas – Dancing In The Street.

It’s just a great song and is guaranteed to get everyone tapping along. Motown was a huge part of my childhood, influenced by my mother really. This song was actually written by Marvin Gaye who is a huge icon and despite it being covered many of times, Martha & the Vandella’s version still remains my favourite.

Sam & Dave – Soul Man.

Incredible track which you can’t help but sing along to – great use of brass instruments and was something of an anthem for the civil rights movement. It’s a track written for a cause and has gone on to find its place in history while entertaining and being enjoyed by generations of people. Entertainment can sometimes change the path of history and I think this song might have done just that.

James Brown – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.

No song list should ever be put together without James Brown. His voice is one of the most identifiable in the history of music and his live performances were electrifying.

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On.

I think that at some point, in all of our lives, we can connect to this song and music, like theatre can offer an escape to everyday life or help you to process what’s going on or to question what’s going on in the world around us. It’s our world, it’s a huge classroom and we need to question things in it for the greater good – anything that encourages that, I’m a fan of.

The O’Jays – Love Train.

People all over the world join hands – this song reminds me of being little in my mother’s car, listening to her tapes. It’s funny how music can trigger memories and despite not hearing it for years and years you can still remember the situation in which you last heard it. It’s a great track and the O’Jays’ only real hit but a hit nonetheless and one which will be played for years to come, I’m sure.

Temptations – My Girl.

“He can’t see without his glasses”...if ever a film stayed with me it was the Macaulay Culkin film entitled My Girl, something in which reintroduced a new generation to this song. The guitar introduction to this song makes it easily identifiable to all - a real classic.

The Jackson 5 – ABC.

Little Michael – the Jacksons were and remain one of the biggest, if not the biggest musical family to span the last 40 years. Michael Jackson was an icon of massive proportions and introduced us to songs which have remained classics year after year. I grew listening to his music, watching him perform miracles on stage and wanting to be him. They’ll never be another performer like him, that’s for sure.

Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music.

Do you like good music? Another huge classic by the iconic voice of Arthur Conley – this song was actually co-written by Otis Reading who, despite not featuring in this list, is a huge favourite of mine. A great song, which will undoubtedly span generations of time and still have people up on their feet for years to come.

More Friday playlists...

The best of Hazy Days.

Nutty Noah’s top 10 songs.

Anna Southwell from Loves Café’s favourites.

MP John Penrose selects his playlist.

The Imperial’s James Willis-Boden’s selection is here.

Musician Alex Lipinski shares his top 10.

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