This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.

  Okay, so this is a really tricky one. I’ve been a fan of British AOR stalwarts FM since before they had even released anything, having seen them support Gary Moore back in the mid Eighties. It was obvious they were something special, marked out by first class melodies and impeccable vocals courtesy of Steve “never had a singing lesson” Overland. Like many bands of their ilk they struggles in the Nineties and eventually vanished, but were reunited for Firefest in 2007. This led to the band deciding to give it another go, unencumbered by record company politics, and the result has so far been three high quality albums with the promise of more to come. Let me tell you, picking a top ten for a band you have followed for more than nearly 30 years is a tricky business, but I hope I’ve nailed it.

10. Over You
9. Breathe Fire
8. That Girl
7. Crave
6. Bad Luck

5. Love Lasts Forever
This may seem an odd choice to some, and will have plenty of others scratching their heads as to what song it is. “Love Lasts Forever” was the B-Side to the band’s debut single “Frozen Heart”, and whilst the A-Side gets all the credit and is dragged out every gig the superior flip side has been banished to the bins of history. Written by keyboard player Didge Digital, it’s a beautiful, simple ballad that finishes in a fantastic crescendo of guitars, and sees Steve Overland put real heart into the lyrics.

4. Some Kind Of Wonderful (Live)
Another B-Side, this one popped on the CD of “Blood & Gasoline”. This was before the internet, so whilst I knew they hadn’t written it I had absolutely no idea who had done the original. What I did know was that it was a smooth, brilliant song that showcased what a great live band FM were. It was only years later when the Grand Funk Railroad original came up on the radio when I was playing a Grand Theft Auto game that I finally realized the source. In all honesty, the FM version is way better.

3. American Girls (Live)
Okay, it’s yet another B-Side (I do like the albums, honest!), but has a special reason for being so high up the chart. It came with “That Girl”, a fantastic pure melodic rocker, and was released before the debut album. This particular version of the song is loud, proud and completely fluid, resulting in a wall of sheer joyful noise and melody. When the album came out the studio version was utterly disappointing in comparison, and as such this is still the only version I will listen to (and it still sounds amazing).

2. Tattoo Needle
FM’s fourth album, “Dead Man’s Shoes” is not great. Sure, there’s a few good tracks but overall it just didn’t work all that well. Snuggled in the middle, however, was this track, still my favourite album track from the band, released as a single but not getting anywhere. Quite simply, it’s just a damned good melodic rock track, with a superb hook and the magic line “If I had a tattoo needle, I’d write my name across your heart”. YouTube it – you’ll love it.

1. Say It like It Is
And so we come to, yes, another B-Side. Never stuck on an album until the flashy re-release CD’s came along, this song is seventy four kinds of awesome wrapped up in one package. The recording says “Live”, but I think that was just live in the studio. It does mean, of course, that the band are raw and a little unpolished, and when that massive, unforgettable riff kicks it at the very start you know this is gonna be good. Like “Tattoo Needle” it’s gained it’s place by being simple, accessible and catchy as hell. Whereas A-Side “That Girl” was silky smooth AOR for MTV, this was Fm at their most natural, and should still be in the set today (along with all my other choices!).

This list by: Alan Holloway

The list as a YouTube playlist


Kimmo Toivonen:

10. Let Love Be The Leader
9. The Dream That Died
8. Love Lies Dying
7. All Or Nothing
6. Frozen Heart
5. Can You Hear Me Calling?
4. Everytime I Think Of You
3. I Belong To The Night
2. Bad Luck
1. Someday

Urban 'Wally' Wallstrom:

10. Bad Luck
9. Tattoo Needle
8. Ain't Gonna Run No More
7. All Or Nothing
6. Everytime I Think Of You
5. Walk On Water [*original "Only The..."]
4. Though It Out
3. The Dream That Died
2. I Belong To The Night
1. Someday

Dan Mann:

10. Runaway Train
9. Rainbow's End
8. Crosstown Train
7. Flamingo Road
6. Blood And Gasoline
5. That Girl
4. Only The Strong Survive
3. Breathe Fire
2. Other Side Of Midnight
1. Frozen Heart

(c) 2014 RockUnited.Com


10.The Dream That Died
9. Say It Like It Is
8. Breathe Fire
7. Tattoo Needle
6. Everytime I Think Of You
5. Walk On Water/Only The Strong Survive
4. Bad Luck
3. Frozen Heart
2. I Belong To The Night
1. Someday