Estonian president releases a compilation of his favourite songs

The Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, is to release a compilation of his favourite songs, called “Teenage Wasteland – Favourites 1963-1978”, on 4 December.

According to Ilves, the songs in the compilation have all shaped his later taste in music, from the new wave to punk and grunge down to today’s British bands Wolf Alice and Palma Violets, and Estonia’s Vaiko Eplik.

“These were the songs I listened to at night with a small 12 transistor radio when I was growing up, which provided much needed redemption for life in what The Who called a Teenage Wasteland. Funny to say now, turning 62, but back then my life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll,” Ilves said.

Ilves CD

Ilves was born in Stockholm, Sweden; his parents were Estonian refugees. He grew up in the United States in Leonia, New Jersey, receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University in 1976 and a master’s degree in the same subject from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.

The compilation includes 16 various songs from 1963-1978 that influenced Ilves when he was growing up in the United States.

Among the songs one can find:

Four Tops – “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”
The Temptations – “My Girl”
The Shangri-Las – “Leader of the Pack”
The Beach Boys – “Help Me, Rhonda”
Cream – “Tales of Brave Ulysses”
The Band – “The Weight”
The Velvet Underground – “Rock & Roll”
Roxy Music – “Virginia Plain”
The Who – “Baba O’Riley”
Lesley Gore – “It’s My Party”
New York Dolls – “Trash”
The Troggs – “Wild Thing”
David Bowie – “Panic in Detroit”
Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated”
Peter Sarstedt – “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?”
MC5 – “High School”

“This isn’t quite a collection of my favourite songs. That would include all kinds of songs from 1963-78 most Estonians know – hits by the Beatles and the Stones, for example,” Ilves said. “They also do not include bands that wouldn’t give permission for a collection of this type, which means crucial songs such as the Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day and All of the Night’ are missing. As are the We Five’s ‘You Were On My Mind’, which a mere year later paled before Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’. Missing too is the musical and spiritual father of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Neil Young, in his ‘Cinnamon Girl’ phase. As is the early garage punk band Music Machine’s ‘Talk Talk’.”

The collection is being released by Universal Music Baltics and will be available from 4 December on CD and Spotify.

A donation will be made from every album purchased to the My Dream Day (Minu Unistuste Päev) charity project, which makes dreams come true for seriously and chronically ill children receiving treatment at Estonian hospitals.


Cover: AKU.

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