Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden: The 10 songs that changed my life

We get stuck into the record collection of Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden…

Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden: The 10 songs that changed my life
Emily Carter

From youth through to adulthood, these are the songs and stories that helped make Good Charlotte vocalist Joel Madden the man he is today…

The first song that I remember hearing...The Animals – The House Of The Rising Sun (1964)

“I was very young, and my dad used to play it on the organ and sing it. I have a very deep-rooted memory of that song. I remember it so well, and I really liked it when he’d sing – there’s something soothing about hearing your parents singing. That song has always had an interesting, deep meaning to me. And even now, I always stop when I hear it – without fail.”

The song that reminds me of my childhood...Stevie Wonder – I Just Called To Say I Love You (1984)

“I remember putting that record on as a kid and it’s a happy memory. When I heard that song it felt like there was a lot of love in the house. In our house in those days, we’d mostly hear classic stuff like Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye. There was a lot of soul in the house.”

The song that soundtracked my first love...Ash – Lost In You (1996)

“(Starts singing) ‘Lying wide awake under strange skies / Wanting to call you but it is late at night…’ That’s the one! That was just me in a love song and that was how I felt. I wanted to be in love, and I wanted to meet someone and for them to love me so bad! I was a little bit of a late-bloomer and I wasn’t great with girls in high school, so it was kind of towards the end of high school that I finally figured out how to connect with anyone. That was the song that totally defined me in my young love state. I still get nostalgic when I listen to it now. I love it.”

The song that reminds me of my first gig...Beastie Boys – So What’Cha Want (1992)

Beastie Boys were the first band that Benji [Madden, brother] and I ever went to see play live. It was on the Ill Communication tour, when they had just released Sabotage, but I was already a huge fan and I was super into all their records. So What’Cha Want is the song that I first fell in love with. It was the one where I was like, ‘This is my favourite band.’ To this day I can listen to that song and feel the Beastie Boys. We saw them in 1995 on May 13 at the George Mason Patriot Center with The Roots and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – I remember it all so clearly.”

The song that sums up my attitude to life...Bob Marley – Is This Love (1978)

“This is the first song that comes to mind, because it’s exactly how I feel about my approach to life – how I feel about my wife and my kids. They are the centre of my life, and that song makes me think of them. I tend to gravitate towards dreamier songs when I get introspective.”

The song that makes me feel most proud...Good Charlotte – Cold Song (2018)

“I wrote this song for my kids. Doing stuff for them makes me feel so good, and it gives me real purpose. It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile in my life. I don’t know if it’s going to become a staple part of our live shows, although I love to play it. I’m not yet sure if it fits in with everything else. But we’ll see.”

The song I wish I’d written...Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1962)

“This is a tough one to narrow down, but it’s gotta be Stand By Me. When I think of the perfect song – the message, the melody, the everything – this one has it all. For different reasons, I kind of also wish I’d written the Happy Birthday song – think about that. Everyone sings it.”

My favourite song to play live...Good Charlotte – The Anthem (2002)

“It’s just so fun and loud and you can really feel it. Even people who aren’t Good Charlotte fans can sing along with it, which I love. Am I bored of playing it all these years later? No way! We’re not one of those bands who get tired of our older songs. They take on a new life as we develop as a band. The songs grow with us as we get older.”

The song I’ll listen to for the rest of my life...Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World (1967)

“I know in my heart that I will never get tired of hearing this song. It ends up on a lot of my playlists, and it’s one that my wife loves as well. It makes me feel good inside because it’s so beautiful.”

The song I’d like played at my funeral...The Cure – Lovesong (1989)

“I don’t want to get too deep into the reasons why. All I will say is that it’s such a perfect song for goodbyes and for the people we miss.”

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