Each week we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week it's Kiwi music legend Suzanne Lynch, who will be performing at Auckland Symphony Orchestra's Last Night of the Proms on 22 – 23 June.
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better – Annie Get Your Gun
When I was about 13, I just about ran the grooves out on Annie Get Your Gun. I loved Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better. We did our first recording, Judy (Hindman, of The Chicks) and I, when I was about 8 and she was about 10 or 11. We lived in the country, and for our entertainment, all we did was sing Stephen Foster songs and things like that around the piano with my mother. That's where we learnt to sing in harmony.
I'm Into Something Good – Herman's Hermits
The first pop song that I really wore the grooves out on was I'm Into Something Good by Herman's Hermits of all things. I remember I was too young to see The Beatles when they were here – my sister went, but I was too young to be allowed to go – but I did get to go see Herman's Hermits, and I thought that was fantastic. And I got to see them do that song at the Auckland Town Hall; it would have been 1964 or 65 maybe.
Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell
The first person I really got to absolutely love was Joni Mitchell. She set me off writing funny little poems and trying to write some songs at that stage, and I must have been probably 15 then. The punchline of that, if you like, is when I was touring with Cat Stevens in 1976, we did Madison Square Garden in New York. And Joni Mitchell was in the front row, so I was absolutely ecstatic, because she was actually watching me sing. My heart beat twice as fast that night because I've been such a fan. I think if I hadn't been a "Chick", if you like, I would have followed in that path of playing guitar and singing, writing my own things. But of course, the career got in the way; I got so busy that I had no time for learning guitar or writing properly. Which is a shame, because I would have loved to be able to do that – and hey, I still might. Never say never.
Yesterday When I Was Young – Charles Aznavour
I heard Ricky May sing Yesterday When I Was Young, and it's written by Charles Aznavour, and I absolutely fell in love. I recorded (my own version) when I was only 18. And when I was in England in 1977, I did a tour of Europe with Charles Aznavour as one of his backing singers – so there's all these little tie-ups that are just so weird for me. I was too shy to play [my version] for him. But we toured all around Europe, and he sang in three different languages – German, French and English. And all our charts that we were sight-reading were written in the three languages underneath the notes. And of course, me being the little Kiwi girl, I didn't know if he was singing in German or French. Half the time he'd be he'd be singing in German, and I'd be singing in French, and he'd get the giggles. I just wrote it all up phonetically.
Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens
Morning Has Broken, I recorded here with a string quartet when I was about 18 or 19, and then I went to England when I was 20 and stayed eight years, and spent five of those years in Cat Stevens' band doing Morning Has Broken. There are funny little twists in your life, aren't there. I was singing with another New Zealand girl called Joy Yates and an American girl called Jackie Sullivan when I was over in England, and we were called Bones. And we got an awful lot of work, and one of the sessions we had was for Cat Stevens. He got me to sing the solo on Oh Very Young, so then he asked me to go on tour with him. We did two world tours, one was nine months long and one was 13 months long, with an album in Canada in between.
Down by the Riverside
That was my dad's favourite song, and he was pretty special in my life. It was so much his song that when we had his funeral, I got everybody in the church to sing it, and it was just amazing. It was so great, because there were some older folk and younger folk, and everybody sang at the tops of their voices; he was well known for it. He's the one I got my voice from, so he's a bit special. I've never found it on YouTube the same way he sang it, but it's gotta be there somewhere. He was 93, so it would be the old version for sure.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
I do that with The Lady Killers, and it's always the highlight of my night, when we belt out Bohemian Rhapsody with the girls. As Jackie [Clarke] said, it's 99.99 per cent of difficulty, because you sing the whole thing – and I'm Freddie, I do the lead – and the harmonies are really tricky. We've just got it so off-pat now, we just love singing it; it's one of those special songs. I saw Freddie's movie, and I felt quite sad for him actually. I think a lot of entertainers are either shy people, or do have difficult lives . . . music holds them together.