100 Funniest Sketches of All Time (10 – 1)

10. More Cowbell – Saturday Night Live

More Cowbell! One of the best Saturday Night Live sketches of all time, and in the hall of fame for best sketches ever. I love Walken being his mad genius best version of Walken here . Will Ferrell is a bundle of funny bones and is gutbustingly funny. And Jimmy Fallon barely keeping it together is fantastic. Some sketches put their pants on one leg at a time, but this one makes a gold record. 

9. The Joke: The Musical - Mr. Show

What do you get if you turn a dirty joke into a musical. Pure genius is what you get from Mr. Show. A perfect example of the inventiveness and madness of their wonderful comedy minds. This one always makes me laugh. 

8. Horse Racing Commentary - The Day Today

There is something so perfect about Steve Coogan’s commentary in this sketch, but it is the writing that delivers so perfectly. The names of the horses still make me roar with laughter no matter how many times I hear them. Christ’s Chin!!

7. Apocalypse - Key & Peele

The apocalypse can’t get any worse can it? It can. This sketch has a brilliant cinematic feel, terrific atmosphere, and a silly, surprising twist that takes the sketch to another level. Easily my favourite Key & Peele sketch out of the many works of genius they have given us. 

6. Full Like A Kastrull - Veckans Nyheter

Henrik Schyffert is a comedy hero of mine. Growing up half-Swedish I sought out comedy from Sweden, and Schyffert was consistently involved in the stuff that made me laugh. His prank phone call show “Hassan” was inspired and this mish-mash hybrid of English and Swedish felt like it was made just for me. Perhaps difficult for a non-Swede to enjoy fully but still worth watching for his incredible linguistic trickery. Ultimately, I love his version of biting social commentary with bonkers delivery. Fun fact: Schyffert’s band Whale had a number one song with Hobo Humpin Slumpin Babe and it was all over MTV back in the day. 

5. History Today - Newman & Baddiel

At the time this was surely the most quoted sketch in Engand and Ireland amongst students. It still holds up as one of the all time greats for me. Such a nice simple idea done really well. Two eminent history professors descend into schoolboy levels of stupid slagging. That’s you that is.

4. RAF Pilots - Armstrong & Miller

Two RAF World War II pilots babble like angsty slang-ridden teenagers. It became a recurring sketch on the show and every one of them has little gems to marvel at. But this one is my favourite, innit though?

3. James Brown Hot Tub Party - Saturday Night Live

Eddie Murphy was indisputably the funniest person on television during his stretch on Saturday Night Live. Not only do I love the ridiculous premise for this sketch, but I love how Eddie Murphy commits so fully to the bit and does a brilliant impression of James Brown. Should I get in the hot tub? YEAH

2. No Direction, Period - The Post Show

The Post Show was an online based sketch comedy team from New York and this sketch spoofing Bob Dylan’s musical output has long been a standard bearer for parody-style sketches for me. Who knew that this mock Bob Dylan documentary was something we never knew we needed. I would genuinely love to hear Bob Dylan sing some of these pop songs. I guess, thanks to this sketch, we already have.

1. Prince - Big Train

What’s the point in trying to explain one of the most brilliant surreal sketches ever written. Just watch it and be thankful you’re not a jockey. So absurd, so good. 

The sketch countdown is done!

100 Funniest Sketches of All Time (20 – 11)

20. GloboChem – Mr. Show

Mr. Show is probably my favourite sketch show of all time. Not only do I love Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman!) and David Cross as performers, but their consistently clever writing on this show never failed to bowl me over. What really made the writing stand out when I saw Mr. Show first (and it is still impressive) is the way they were able to weave their sketches so seamlessly and inventively together, from live onstage segments segueing into filmed sequences, tumbling through set changes and other cool crafty set ups that took the viewer on a continuous journey from beginning to end. And like all great comedic artists, as well as doing their primary job of being insanely funny, they really had something to say. 

19. Dangerous Drugs - Ali G

Ali G is a thing of genius. Put a guy playing the biggest idiot in a room with real people, and see how it plays out. This police drugs segment has always been my favourite, not least because of the brilliant quips (Sacha Baron Cohen uttering “Thank you”towards the end is pure gold), but also the patience of this policeman is a thing to behold. For a while, there really was nothing as odd and funny as Ali G on television, and this is still one of his peak moments, as it doesnt trade in being mean like some of his later skits. In other words, “is there any negative effects?”

18. Die Hard 12 - The Ben Stiller Show

The Ben Stiller Show famously had one of the most amazing writers room ever on a sketch show and it shows in the quality of this fantastic Die Hard parody. I love Stiller’s impression of Bruce Willis/John McClane (his facial expressions alone are brilliantly observed), and the preposterous escalating stakes of the sketch in the supermarket are done so well that it almost feels plausible as a sequel. Yabba dabba doo yabba dabba deebee dabba! 

17. World Cup Countdown - Alan Partridge/The Day Today

Alan Partridge is such a classic comedy creation and this sports round-up for the football World Cup was a perfect way to showcase his special brand of idiocy. I love the energetic banality (and clear lack of understanding) in his football commentary, and in a strange way doesn’t feel too out of sync with real commentary language – “EAT MY GOAL! The goalie has football pie all over his face”

16. Samuel L. Jackson Beer - Chappelle's Show

A few dodgy jokes aside, this parody of a Samuel Adams beer commercial was such a great concept. The aggressive over-the-top Samuel L. Jackson energy is such a brilliant contrast to an anaemic standard ad for a mass produced beer. 

15. Staring Final - Big Train

Big Train had some really great sketches and this animated one always tickled me. Expert commentators for a ridiculous event like the World Championship Stare-Out Contest is one of those ideas I wish I had thought of myself. I particularly love the onscreen statistics that flash up and the StareCam is a touch of brilliance. 

14. Mighty Mouse - Andy Kaufman (SNL)

Andy Kaufman is a comedy hero. Unafraid of alienating his audience with his uniquely odd sense of humour is a thing I am really drawn to, probably because I would never truly attempt it myself. This is a lovely slice of madness from Kaufman on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. He could have done anything with this showcase moment, and he chose to do this. Love it. Here he comes to save the day!

13. Numberwang - Mitchell & Webb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJDu5D_IXbc

Numberwang is easily my favourite gameshow. Rules that make no sense, overly enthusiastic presenter, and magical details like “rotate the board” Mitchell & Webb are easily in the top three of my favourite comedy sketch shows. Of course, that’s Numberwang!

12. The 4 Yorkshiremen - Monty Python

A true classic and one of my all time favourites. Originally written for “At Last the 1948 Show” and later popularised by Monty Python, it is so simple but so funny. In my day they didnt write sketches like this. 

11. Farming - Mitchell & Webb

This Mitchel & Webb sketch still makes me laugh out loud every time. There’s something so intangibly funny in David Mitchell’s performance that makes it even funnier than it has any right to be. “It’s actually made of chicken!”

The sketch countdown continues tomorrow…

100 Funniest Sketches of All Time (30 – 21)

30. Germans Who Say Nice Things – Dana Carvey Show

The short-lived Dana Carvey Show was so short-lived that I completely missed it when it was first shown. What I’ve seen of it is pretty hit and miss but there’s a few gems, including this bit of foolishness with future star of The US Office, Steve Carell. It trades on cliches but it is still so silly that it clicks with me.

29. Singin' In The Rain - Morecambe & Wise

Morecambe & Wise hark back to my days watching tv on my grandmother’s little black and white tv. She was a fan of Morecambe & Wise, so I was too naturally. Eric Morecambe had a sweet childlike spirit to him and it was never bettered than this parody of the classic musical sequence from Singin’ In the Rain. 

28. F.U.N.E.X - The Two Ronnies

The writer and the linguist in me loves this sketch. It is so cool to see a whole scene from The Two Ronnies played out using only letters to communicate. The sheer quality of their writing is where they always X.L. for me.  

27. Amsterdam Police - Harry Enfield & Chums

Harry Enfield and Chums was the first place I encountered the fantastic Paul Whitehouse, and I this sketch was one that stood out immediately when I saw it. Whitehouse’s accent and performance are perfectly on the money, and the premise is great and doesnt outstay its welcome. 

26. Sinn Fein Interview - The Day Today

The Day Today is such razor sharp satire and this sketch was a terrific piss take of the broadcasting laws at the time which prevented members of Sinn Fein from being allowed speak on camera due to their paramilitary links, so they were dubbed by an actor (this sounds made up but it is actually true). Steve Coogan’s character takes that baseline reality and kicks it up a level in absurdity with a very light helium-based approach. 

25. One Leg Too Few - Peter Cook & Dudley Moore

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were firm favourites of my dad. This was always my favourite sketch that we listened to. Simple, smart and super funny. 

24. Ted and Ralph - The Fast Show

Ted & Ralph were the greatest running gag on The Fast Show. As well as being hilariously funny, there was real drama and melancholy to the unrequited love story of Ted the aristocrat and his Irish tradesman. Brilliant writing and top drawer acting. 

23. Too Long Johnny - A Bit of Fry and Laurie

Hugh Laurie is a fantastic musician and has woven a brilliant gag out of a classic bluesy number. It shouldn’t work but it does thanks to Hugh Laurie’s gifted performance.

22. Booking a Flight - Absolutely

Years ago I remember getting a free cassette with some English magazine I bought, and the tape featured a compilation of great sketches that worked well in audio format. This one stopped me in my tracks. I adored the blind stupidity of the Calum character, and the spelling sequence at the end is a thing of utter genius. Genius with a G, as in G for Gnome. 

21. Zoolander Sketch - Ben Stiller

The original sketch that launched the highly underrated comedy movie about vapid models. The film itself was a true high tide mark for Stiller comedies and the sketch has real flashes of that brilliance. Ben Stiller has always impressed me as an actor, director and writer, and in these early days he was also more than willing to drop Blue Steel on us.

The sketch countdown continues tomorrow…


100 Funniest Sketches Of All Time (40 – 31)

The funniest sketches of all time continues. Today’s selection is a mix of mad music, surreal monologues and unexpected twists. Here are sketches 40 through 31

In case you missed it: 

40. Business Time – Flight of the Conchords

The Flight of the Conchords are just so good. They never fail to make me laugh. I remember watching the show on HBO and loving their sense of humour. It was also one of those rare times where I was impressed by the musical comedy numbers. So often they can fall flat or be a bit one note (forgive the musical pun) but with them where was musical craft and real thought in the comic writing of the lyrics. This song is probably their most well known (the live version is even better I reckon) and for good reason, it is a fantastic mix of madness, melody and comic timing. The chorus will now be stuck in your head for days. You’re welcome. 

39. Mr. Robot - Eugene Mirman

Years ago at a comedy gig in New York this bedraggled comedian called Eugene Mirman got up onstage and took off on the most odd flights of fancy in his routine. Half the audience was bemused. I was laughing my head off. His offbeat sense of humour really connected with me. To say it was surreal would do it a disservice. It was just quirky and unlike other stand up I had ever seen. He made choices that were fresh and unusual to my ears. I immediately picked up his album and I never looked back. It’s fair to say I am a huge fan. This kooky sketch is a great example of his unique brand of comedy. It is pure fire. But it begs the question “Is fire an emotion?”

38. Language - A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Many moons ago, a friend of mine loaned me a VHS tape (yes, I’m that old) of several episodes of “A Bit of Fry & Laurie” and it was like discovering a comedy goldmine. The sketches were smart and clever, with a very particular sensibility that spoke to me. This was a type of sketch comedy I hadn’t really seen before. They trusted their audience’s intelligence and they were happy to tackle highbrow topics. And just as readily they could throw in simple silly one liners. It was my kind of show and I still love it. I had to return the VHS tape long ago but I have since found many of my favourite sketches online, including this one. 

37. Taxi Driver Confessions - Chris Rock Show

One of the most fun experiences I had while living in New York was attending a taping of The Chris Rock Show. It was on HBO and usually featured an interview, some sketches and a musical act. On the night I was there he interviewed Cedric The Entertainer and the musical act was Nas (who was so high he had to start his song again). Grandmaster Flash was perched up in a booth above the audience and was spinning amazing tunes in the downtime between recording set-ups. The sketches that night were a bit hit and miss, but the piece that stood out was his funny take on a popular HBO undercover camera show at the time called Taxicab Confessions. Chris Rock went out in a New York yellow cab and actually picked up real passengers, and they recorded the conversations and broadcast them on his show. Nothing is funnier than real interactions with New Yorkers. And hats off to Chris Rock for his on-the-spot thinking and conversational skills. Watch and try not to laugh. 

36. The Sopranos - Mad TV

Mad TV wasn’t ever really on my radar but I had heard it mentioned so many times on podcasts  in the intervening years, I knew I had to find some of the best sketches and watch them. This one, which must have come out at the height of The Sopranos fervour, just made me roar with laughter. The idea of putting a show like that on the heavily censored, sterile world of American network television was a comedy gift waiting to happen. There’s lots to love about the near-perfect performances in this sketch, but the real star of the sketch is the video editor. He deserves a big pile of gabagool.

35. People Buying a House - Mitchell & Webb

If you’ve ever watched daytime TV in Britain you will definitely have seen this show parodied so expertly by Mitchell & Webb. Much like the previous sketch, the jumpcuts are the unsung hero here. A simple sketch but like so many of theirs, they absolutely nail it. Just like Jeff’s shelves.

34. Four Candles - The Two Ronnies

The Two Ronnies are masters of playing with words and this sketch might just be their finest example of that. Lets light a candle for their contribution to comedy history. In fact, lets light four candles. 

33. Boyfriend - Snuff Box

Matt Berry is almost always the same in everything he does, but that’s absolutely fine with me, because Matt Berry being Matt Berry is always hilarious. Before seeing this set of sketches I knew him from The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and have since loved him in Toast and What We Do In The Shadows. There is something magnetic about him. When I first discovered this recurring sketch from Snuff Box I dont think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life. The premise is so simple (ridiculous and predictable even) but it is 100% hysterical thanks to Matt Berry’s delivery. I don’t know how many times I have seen these, and despite knowing the punchline a mile away, it always gets me. If you dont like it, then F*#k You!

32. Fish Slapping Dance - Monty Python

This little underrated gem from Monty Python is as good as anything they made. Short and sweet. Unlike the fish.  

31. Del Boy - Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle

Stewart Lee is an absolute hero of mine. I was a huge fan of Fist of Fun back in the day, and even more so his series Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. This sketch is that series crowning achievement. After a lengthy rant about the British public’s choice of their favourite funny moment (Del Boy from Only Fools & Horses falling through the bar), the show cuts to this ludicrous sketch about Del Day, which manages to elevate the whole thing to a level of high comedy art. I love his commitment to the madness of the central idea of celebrating the day people first witnessed Del falling through the bar, and I imagine he spent the bulk of his series budget on just this sketch alone. Money well spent. It is a thing of genius. 

The sketch countdown continues…



100 Funniest Sketches Of All Time (100 – 91)

Creating a definitive list of the greatest sketches of all time is incredibly difficult (and incredibly fun) given the remarkable wealth of great sketches to choose from. As a longtime comedy fan, and as someone who writes and performs sketch comedy, this was a true labour of love. 

In terms of curation, I have tried to cast a wide net and feature sketches & skits from different countries, different voices, different eras and different points of view. In the end this list is ultimately a collection of the sketches that have made me laugh the loudest over the years. It is in no way exhaustive. It isn’t even necessarily in order. But they are all incredibly funny.

Simply put, these are 100 great sketches that you should watch and they will hopefully make you laugh loudly. With a bit of luck you may even discover some that you’ve never encountered before. And if you have suggestions for other great sketches not included on the list, please let me know in the comments. 

Alrighty, without further ado, here are 100 of the funniest sketches of all time, starting with a batch of 10 sketches, and 10 more to follow each day. Enjoy!

100. Are We The Baddies? – Mitchell & Webb

David Mitchell and Robert Webb starred in Peep Show, one of my favourite sitcoms ever, but they also made some of my favourite comedy sketches. Their series “That Mitchell & Webb Look” was consistently one of the funniest shows on tv. This sketch about an angsty existential German soldier is one that never gets old. Rightly so, it’s close to perfect. And if ever there was a modern indicator of the impact of a sketch, it can be found in the memes and GIFs it has spawned

99. Popcorn - The Muppets

The Muppet Show sits in the pantheon of all time greatest shows for me, and their ability to write funny sketches was really second to none. The Swedish Chef was a character that I personally had a love-hate relationship with due to my Swedish identity, but I have grown to love him, and this sketch is classic Muppets in the way it builds and builds, while always retaining its playful childlike heart. Hurdy gurdy laughs without wordys. 

98. Charlie Murphy & Rick James - Chappelle's Show

Chappelle’s Show is arguably one of the most influential sketch comedy shows of all time. Chappelle cooked up multiple brilliant concepts and a long list memorable characters, none more so than his portrayal of Rick James. The brilliantly funny true story by Charlie Murphy is told in such a charming and authentic way. Chappelle then manages to take that source material and elevate it even further with one of my favourite wild over the top performances. Comedy gold bitch!

97. The Hats - Tommy Cooper

Tommy Cooper was introduced to me by my father and I loved him from day one (I loved Tommy Cooper too, but not the same way). To me there was always something wonderful about the contradictions and contrasts in his stage persona. That loud, big presence with a sweet, soft core. A bumbling, clumsy magician who would suddenly turn around and perform a perfect trick. On the face of it, he was a man who delivered simple old school jokes, but his ‘Hats’ routine was the moment where I embraced his genius as a performer. Not only is the performance funny (and increasingly funnier the more frantic it gets), but I also love the authentic way Cooper laughs at himself as he starts to twist himself up in knots in his increasingly manic delivery. It is such a brilliantly rehearsed piece of lunacy that masquerades as a traditional story, and that is always what Tommy Cooper did best. 

96. Invisible Drum Kit - Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson is a comedy icon to so many in my generation. I’m a huge fan of Blackadder and Mr Bean, and I even enjoy watching the Johnny English films with my kids. This standalone gem of as sketch is a perfect example of Rowan Atkinson’s incredible physical comedy skills, as well as being a genuinely original comedy concept. He makes a potentially pedestrian idea at least 50% funnier with his gurning and physicality. Drum roll please!

95. Matt Foley - Saturday Night Live

the thing I loved the most about Chris Farley was that he always gave his all in every sketch. He left nothing behind and his iconic Matt Foley character from Saturday Night Live is the embodiment of that. It has that broad, mad caricature of a sketch character, with Farley’s trademark physical comedy, and there is just a hint of something slightly melancholy to it too. This sketch is worth watching for David Spade’s reactions, who is unable to hold back the giggles as Farley amps it up throughout the sketch. 

94. America - A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh Laurie has rightly gone on to become a highly respected actor, but for me he will always be the genius who wrote and performed sketches with Stephen Fry in “A Bit of Fry & Laurie”. Most of the comedy on the show was very clever and really respected the intelligence of their audience. But every now and again they would throw in simple basic gags like this one and I loved them for it. I guess it also helped that Hugh Laurie was a gifted musican too, which only lent itself more to the silliness of the song. 

93. The Room Next Door - Michael Spicer

During lockdown I stumbled across a few very funny comedians online. The very best of the bunch was Michael Spicer with his hilarious series “The Room Next Door” where he plays an increasingly frustrated adviser who communicates live via an earpiece with a public figure speaking to camera. Simple but utterly brilliant. Watch them all, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch.

92. Bomb Disposal - The Fast Show

No list of the greatest sketches would be complete without Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson’s series The Fast Show. I know it is often dismissed as a simple catchphrase based show, which was true to a point, but it also managed to condense storytelling and jokes into very sharp, short, punchy sketches. One of my favourite recurring characters was the “Anyone fancy a pint?” guy, which felt intrinsically English, and always delivered a funny moment of surprise in a sketch that felt unclear where it was headed (in a show that relied on familiarity with the setup). I have seen this sketch countless times and I still always laugh at the end. 

91. How To Speak Dublin - Foil, Arms & Hog

Foil, Arms & Hog are a brilliant Irish sketch troupe who post fresh sketches regularly on their YouTube channel (I also love their quarantine maths class sketch). I was lucky enough to see them up close when they performed at one of my Brownbread Mixtape shows and their chemistry was terrific even then. There is a lovely simplicity to the concept of this sketch (a language school where you learn to speak like a Dubliner) and it is delivered with such sharpness. It’s also great to see Irish comedy stalwart Paul Tylak make an appearance too. His sketches on Nighthawks on Network 2 back in the day were a massive influence on me.

The sketch countdown continues…
 100 Funniest Sketches of All Time: #90 – # 81


7 incredible songwriters with lyrics that are pure poetry and melodies that are mindblowing

In my mind, Bob Dylan is without an equal in the modern living songwriter stakes – he is our poet laureate and Shakespeare and oracle all wrapped into one. But there are several other lyrical and melodic masters that I adore that I would love to share with you. For some of you, these names are not new and for others only a handful may be familiar. Either way, all of them will hopefully resonate with you and open a new world or extend existing ones. I urge you to seek out more of their work and listen to it. There is nothing quite like the joy of discovering a fantastic new musician or poet and then realising that they have a huge body of work to dive into. Life is good to us sometimes!

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1. John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats)

The Mountain Goats are one of those best-kept-secret bands that are whispered about in hushed reverence by those who know about them. I am one such fan, but I want to shout about them. John Darnielle is one of the great living songwriters and each song brims with intelligence and humanity. He began his songwriting career by recording songs onto hissy tapes on a boombox and garnered a deserved cult following. In recent years he has released full studio albums (often incredibly realised concept albums) and enlisted the help of talented bandmates to produce glorious, gorgeous songs about the world we live in. Many of Darnielle’s songs manage to tell a compelling story with great characters, while swinging around a hooky melody and killer chord changes. All in 4 minutes. All delivered in his trademark, arresting singing voice. Yep. John Darnielle rules.

What album should I start with? Tallahassee

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2. Jeff Tweedy (Wilco)

When they put together those lists of the best bands and albums of all time, Wilco rarely show up on them. But anyone who knows their music and who has seen their live shows know that they might not be the most popular but they are the best. Jeff Tweedy writes songs with such invention, melody and emotion that you would be hard pushed to find many better living songwriters with such a volume of high quality songs. From the alt-country simplicity and beauty of a song like “Box Full Of Letters” to the brainbending oddity of “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart“, Tweedy has the capacity to wrap words around chords in a truly compelling and original way. History will remember him as one of the greats.

What album should I start with? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

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3. Katell Keineg

I remember when I first heard Katell Keineg’s album “O Seasons O Castles” years ago and being struck by how exquisitely crafted it was, both musically and lyrically. And that voice. Oh my goodness. That voice elevated the entire experience to a near spiritual experience. Some time later I saw her in Whelans and that elegant songwriting seemed to extend to her magnetic presence on stage. Every single song was spellbinding and inspirational. Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in her songs. You will arise refreshed.

What album should I start with? O Seasons O Castles

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4. Ed Hamell (Hamell on Trial)

Ed Hamell is a one-man folk punk band with explosive songs that tell wild tales of working in upstate New York, delicate ballads about love, powerful political treatises and hilarious stories of a life well lived. To see him live is to witness a hurricane of profanity and sincerity wrapped up in lyrical complexity and cool chords. As a test of his own songwriting skills, he recently embarked on a project where he wrote a song a day for over 440 days! A great songwriter with songs that kick you hard, just as quickly as they tickle your funny bone and tackle your conscience. A true original

What album should I start with? Ed’s Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive

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5. Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse)

Alas, Mark Linkous is no longer with us but he left a legacy of incredible layered, inventive songs. I first heard Sparklehorse open up for Radiohead on the OK Computer tour, but my brain wasn’t ready to hear the brilliance on offer. Years later I heard a friend play “Piano Fire” on an acoustic guitar and the stripped back simplicity of the song revealed the pure poetry of Mark Linkous’ songwriting. I immediately returned to my Sparklehorse albums and marveled at the potent production as much as the poetic lyrics. I dare you to listen and not find magic within the layers.

What album should I start with? It’s a Wonderful Life

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6. Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams is probably one of the more well-known names on this list thanks to his songs “When The Stars Go Blue” and “New York, New York“, but he has a wealth of incredible, captivating songs that are equally worthy of your ears. (He also does an unbelievable cover version of Wonderwall by Oasis.) Adams is a prolific songwriter and has managed to amass a body of work that stands alongside the very best out there. For me it is his ability to bring both melancholy and sweetness in the twist of a word or bend of a note that mark him out as a really great songwriter. Lyrically strong, melodically masterful, consistently brilliant.

What album should I start with? Heartbreaker

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7. Dan Bern

Dan Bern is a songwriter in the mould of Dylan and Guthrie, but with his own anarchic, witty songwriting twist. His songs tackle topics from the ridiculous to the sublime and always with real heart. Again, he is best experienced in a live setting, but on record he brings his quirky sensibility to the studio and delivers one fine song after another. His trademark, humorous take on the world shines through best in his marvellous “Tiger Woods” song. Once you have heard it, you will never be quite the same. Dan Bern is a truly prolific songwriter with the ability to write children’s albums as easily as powerful socially conscious albums for an older generation. One of the good guys.

What album should I start with? Fifty Eggs

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