1. Oh Maria – from Sister Act
We bought the movie Sister Act as a stocking-filler one Christmas for our son Mark and I have loved the film ever since. It’s not so much the main plot that grabs me, but the sub-plot of the transformation of the church choir.
2. Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Eva Cassidy
Driving home on one occasion, I remember hearing this track played on the radio. I had not heard the song for many years and when I got home I told my wife that I had heard an incredibly beautiful version of the song. She immediately knew it would be the Eva Cassidy version. Her album Songbird, from which the song comes, is one of my favourites. Eva, who died in 1966, is a sad loss.
3. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf
When my father died, one of the last things I can remember him saying, as he lay in his hospital bed, was that he had no regrets. An echo of Edith Piaf’s powerful and most beautiful song, it is something that I too hope to be able to say, in time.
4. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
When I was involved in youth work at the local church, we rehearsed this song as something we might perform at the annual concert. At that time, I learned that he wrote the song about his father.
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
When I was a teenager, this was one of those albums that everybody had and the song was played so much that eventually, I got sick of it. Years later, as part of a singing group, we performed the song and I again realised what a truly wonderful and inspiring song it is.
6. Time After Time
This is a song I have always liked. The words are really beautiful: if you fall I will catch you – I’ll be waiting, time after time. We all need someone to be there for us, come what may, time after time.
7. Candle In The Wind (Goodbye England’s Rose) – Elton John
Seeing Elton John interviewed and speaking about singing this song at Princess Diana’s funeral made me realise just how difficult it had been for him. Princess Diana was someone the British public took to heart and we all mourned together that day. I will never forget this wonderful and moving tribute from her close friend.
8. South Africa National Anthem – Soweto Gospel Choir
This rendition of the South African National Anthem, by the Soweto Gospel Choir, is one of the most inspirational songs I have ever heard. The anthem of the rainbow nation is sung in five different languages with the last verse sung in English. God protect Africa.
9. The Rose – Bette Midler
The songwriter (Amanda McBroom) sent her song, The Rose, to the producer to be considered for the movie of Janis Joplin’s life and Bette Midler (the star of the film) loved it. Personally, I think it is one of the most beautiful songs ever to have been written.
10. Joyful Joyful – Sister Act 2
Well, I know it is the second song from the Sister Act movies, but I wanted to finish this list of inspirational songs with something truly joyful and this is it!