When you reach a certain age in life, it could be twenty five, it could be forty, it could be fifty, when you think you have found all the music you like, and when your metaphorical shelves are heaving with your personal tastes greatest hits, you are often tempted to wander. I know I am. You get bored with the stuff you’ve got (the stuff you thought pretty much defined you) and you start seeking out the stuff you previously thought was naff, stuff you didn’t think you’d like, stuff that always felt a bit old, pedestrian, ordinary, odd or embarrassing. Hell, if you’re not careful you may even start to like Adele or Ed Sheeran!

   The first I heard of the Guilty Pleasures concept was back in 2004 when DJ Sean Rowley took his inspired decision to reclaim the songs considered ‘shameful to love’, initially with a five minute slot on his BBC Radio London show. Based firmly in the seventies, The Alessi Brothers 1977 hit ‘Oh Lori’ was the first song to be broadcast as such. For me it was instant manna from heaven, giving me the perfect excuse to drag out those old tunes that had got me into music in the first place. I’ve been knocking out my own slightly retitled versions ever since as Secret Pleasures, Secret Pleasures Too, Secret Pleasures of the decades, Secret Pleasures of various genres and finally and most significantly as Ultimate Secret Pleasures. And I must say they’ve all proved incredibly popular, regularly featuring as one of Green Inc’s most popular playlists. 

   Of course, for Secret Pleasures you should read pop because that’s what these songs really are; the kind of music that’s not too challenging to listen to, is easy to get into and even easier to get out of. No other form of music demands so little, which, let’s face it, is why it’s so damn popular in the first place. Pop never pretends to be anything other than what it is and that’s pure escapism, a handy aural panacea for troubled times. Despite being raised on a steady diet of glam, punk, funk, post punk, dub, roots reggae and electronica, the one thing I keep returning to is pop of the Secret Pleasures kind. 

   My Spotify playlists may be packed full of revolutionary misfits and left of the dial geniuses, but nestled close by in a place where I can always find them are old seventies stalwarts like the Electric Light Orchestra and Fleetwood Mac, eighties and nineties popsters like A-ha, China Crisis, Jesus Jones and Babybird together with twenty first century pop maestros like Marina & The Diamonds and Harry Styles. This stuff is fantastic. In fact, I defy anyone to listen to Fiction Factory’s ‘(Feel’s Like) Heaven’, arguably the greatest pop song of them all, and not feel a sense of elation? And what about Neil Diamonds ‘Song Sung Blue’ or Mike & The Mechanics ‘Over My Shoulder’ or Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars Are Blind’, all songs you can’t resist humming along to while nonchalantly pretending they’re shit? 

   And that’s the classic Secret Pleasure scenario right there isn’t it? That's why they exist, the songs we sing from the rafters when no one is listening but struggle to admit we love. Of course, the phrase Secret Pleasure itself implies that we’re right to feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed for liking something that brings us untold joy. And yet, no song that gives you pleasure should make you feel guilty. Personally, I don't feel any guilt at all about the Supertramp hits in my Spotify playlists because I love them, but I don’t mind admitting that it’s taken me decades to get over my own, ridiculous, punk imposed, sense of cool. 

   The 150 songs here, some obvious, many not so obvious, are split into thirty each from the seventies, eighties, nineties, noughties and the twenty tens. Representing my favourite Secret Pleasures from the thousands I’ve listened to over the years, they make for a brilliant pop odyssey that is guaranteed to bring endless joy. Here’s hoping you can appreciate them guilt free and on their own merits!   


Chris Green. June 2022.


1. SIMON & GARFUNKEL ‘Cecilia’ (October 1970)

2. LOBO ‘Me And You And A Dog Named Boo’ (May 1971)

3. C.C.S. ‘Tap Turns On The Water‘ (August 1971)

4. LABI SIFFRE ‘It Must Be Love’ (November 1971)

5. YVONNE ELLIMAN ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ (January 1972)

6. JOHNNY NASH ‘Stir It Up’ (February 1972)

7. GILBERT O’SULLIVAN ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ (February 1972)

8. NEIL DIAMOND ‘Song Sung Blue’ (April 1972)

9. COLIN BLUNSTONE ‘How Could We Dare To Be Wrong’ (January 1973)

10. HOT CHOCOLATE ‘Emma’ (February 1974)

11. TERRY JACKS ‘Seasons In The Sun’ (March 1974)

12. JIM CAPALDI ‘It’s All Up To You’ (July 1974)

13. BRIAN PROTHEROE ‘Pinball’ (July 1974)

14. ACE ‘How Long’ (September 1974)

15. KEN BOOTH ‘Everything I Own’ (September 1974)

16. STRETCH ‘Why Did You Do It?’ (November 1975)

17. DOOBIE BROTHERS ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’ (March 1976)

18. 10CC ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’ (March 1976)

19. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA ‘Strange Magic’ (June 1976)

20. BOZ SCAGGS ‘Lowdown’ (August 1976)

21. STEELY DAN ‘Haitian Divorce’ (November 1976)

22. THE EAGLES ‘Hotel California’ (April 1976)

23. THE COMMODORES ‘Easy’ (May 1977)

24. CARLY SIMON ‘Nobody Does It Better’ (June 1977)

25. FLETTWOOD MAC ‘You Make Loving Fun’ (September 1977)

26. JULIE COVINGTON ‘Only Women Bleed’ (December 1977)

27. ROD STEWART ‘I Was Only Joking’ (April 1978)

28. LINDISFARNE ‘Run For Home’ (June 1978)

29. SUPERTRAMP ‘Take The Long Way Home’ (October 1979)

30. JON & VANGELIS ‘I Hear You Now’ (December 1979)  



32. ROBERT PALMER ‘Johnny And Mary’ (September 1980)

33. BILLY IDOL ‘Dancing With Myself’ (March 1981)

34. SPANDAU BALLET ‘Chant No 1’ (July 1981)

35. HAIRCUT 100 ‘Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)’ (October 1981)

36. PSYCHEDELIC FURS ‘Love My Way’ (July 1982)

37. ICEHOUSE ‘Hey Little Girl’ (October 1982)

38. NICK HEYWARD ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ (March 1983)

39. H20 ‘Just Outside Heaven’ (July 1983)

40. UB40 ‘Please Don’t Make Me Cry’ (October 1983)

41. FICTION FACTORY ‘(Feels Like) Heaven’ (January 1984)

42. CHINA CRISIS ‘Wishful Thinking’ (January 1984)

43. BLANCMANGE ‘Don’t Tell Me’ (April 1984)

44. DREAM ACADEMY ‘Life In A Northern Town’ (March 1985)

45. TEARS FOR FEARS ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ (March 1985)

46. PROPAGANDA ‘Duel’ (April 1985)

47. BLACK ‘Wonderful Life’ (September 1986)

48. A-HA ‘I’ve Been Losing You’ (September 1986)

49. THE ALARM ‘Rain In The Summertime’ (September 1986)

50. THE STRANGLERS ‘Always The Sun’ (October 1986)

51. KAREL FIALKA ‘Hey Matthew’ (August 1987)

52. BREATHE ‘Hands To Heaven’ (December 1987)

53. DEACON BLUE ‘Dignity’ (January 1988)

54. THE MISSION ‘Tower Of Strength’ (February 1988)

55. THE ADVENTURES ‘Broken Land’ (April 1988)

56. WATERFRONT ‘Cry’ (October 1988)

57. HUE AND CRY ‘Ordinary Angel’ (October 1988)

58. TANITA TIKARAM ‘World Outside Your Window’ (March 1989)

59. FRAZIER CHORUS ‘Typical’ (March 1989)

60. LIGHTNING SEEDS ‘Pure’ (July 1989)


61. SOUP DRAGONS ‘I’m Free’ (July 1990)

62. JESUS JONES ‘Right Here Right Now’ (September 1990)

63. AZTEC CAMERA & MICK JONES ‘Good Morning Britain’ (October 1990)

64. POP WILL EAT ITSELF ‘X, Y & Zee’ (January 1991)

65. JESUS LOVES YOU ‘Bow Down Mister’ (February 1991)

66. SCRITTI POLITTI & SHABBA RANKS ‘She’s A Woman’ (March 1991)

67. STEREO MC’S ‘Connected’ (September 1992)

68. THE SHAMEN ‘Boss Drum’ (October 1992)

69. EAST 17 ‘Deep’ (January 1993)

70. JAMES ‘Sometimes’ (August 1993)

71. ACE OF BASE ‘The Sign’ (February 1994)

72. M PEOPLE ‘Sight For Sore Eyes’ (November 1994)

73. MIKE & THE MECHANICS ‘Over My Shoulder’ (February 1995)

74. EDWYN COLLINS ‘A Girl Like You’ (June 1995)

75. SPACE ‘Me And You Vs The World’ (August 1996)

76. FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS ‘The Fun Lovin’ Criminal’ (November 1996)

77. TEXAS ‘Say What You Want’ (January 1997)

78. NO DOUBT ‘Don’t Speak’ (February 1997)

79. MONACO ‘What Do You Want From Me?’ (March 1997)

80. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ (June 1997)

81. ALL SAINTS ‘Never Ever’ (November 1997)

82. NATALIE IMBRUGLIA ‘Torn’ (November 1997)

83. PF PROJECT ‘Choose Life’ (November 1997)

84. SEAHORSES ‘You Can Talk To Me’ (December 1997)

85. FINLEY QUAYE ‘Your Love Gets Sweeter’ (February 1998)

86. BABYBIRD ‘Bad Old Man’ (April 1998)

87. CATATONIA ‘Dead From The Waist Down’ (April 1999)

88. SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER ‘Kiss Me’ (May 1999)

89. THE WISEGUYS ‘Ooh La La’ (June 1999)

90. GROOVE ARMADA FEAT. GRAMMA FUNK ‘I See You Baby’ (November 1999) 


91. MOLOKO ‘The Time Is Now’ (March 2000)

92. SPILLER FEAT. SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR ‘Groovejet’ (August 2000)

93. DAVID GRAY ‘Please Forgive Me’ (October 2000)

94. TRAVIS ‘Sing’ (April 2001)

95. STARSAILOR ‘Good Souls’ (May 2001)

96. 1 GIANT LEAP FEAT. ROBBIE WILLIAMS ‘My Culture’ (April 2002)

97. GEORGE MICHAEL ‘Shoot The Dog’ (July 2002)

98. CRAIG DAVID FEAT. STING ‘Rise & Fall’ (April 2003)

99. RACHEL STEVENS ‘Sweet Dreams My LA Ex’ (September 2003)

100. KYLIE MINOGUE ‘Slow’ (November 2003)

101. WILL YOUNG ‘Friday’s Child’ (July 2004)

102. KEANE ‘Bedshaped’ (August 2004)

103. EMBRACE ‘Gravity’ (August 2004)

104. THE KILLERS ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ (August 2004)

105. SCISSOR SISTERS ‘Mary’ (October 2004)

106. GWEN STEFANI ‘What Are You Waiting For’ (October 2004)

107. ATHLETE ‘Wires’ (January 2005)

108. COLDPLAY ‘Speed Of Sound’ (April 2005)

109. RICHARD ASHCROFT ‘Break The Night With Colour’ (January 2006)

110. SNOW PATROL ‘You’re All I Have’ (April 2006)

111. PARIS HILTON ‘Stars Are Blind’ (June 2006)

112. JAMES MORRISON ‘You Give Me Something’ (July 2006)

113. KATE NASH ‘Foundations’ (June 2007)

114. MIKA ‘Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)’ (July 2007)

115. THE SCRIPT ‘We Cry’ (May 2008)

116. ELBOW ‘One Day Like This’ (June 2008)

117. RAZORLIGHT ‘Wire To Wire’ (October 2008)

118. JAMIE T ‘Sticks ’n’ Stones’ (June 2009)

119. JUST JACK ‘The Day I Died’ (August 2009)

120. LILY ALLEN ‘22’ (August 2009)


121. MARINA & THE DIAMONDS ‘Hollywood’ (January 2010)

122. FOSTER THE PEOPLE ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ (September 2010)

123. BIRDY ‘Skinny Love’ (January 2011)

124. GOTYE FEAT. KIMBRA ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ (January 2012)

125. PASSENGER ‘Let Her Go’ (July 2012)

126. BASTILLE ‘Pompeii’ (January 2013)

127. ONEREPUBLIC ‘Counting Stars’ (June 2013)

128. ICONA POP FEAT. CHARLI XCX ‘I Love It’ (June 2013)

129. PARRA FOR CUVA FEAT. ANNA NAKLAB ‘Wicked Games’ (October 2013)

130. ONE DIRECTION ‘Story Of My Life’ (October 2013)

131. SAM SMITH FEAT. A$AP ROCKY ‘I’m Not The Only One’ (September 2014)

132. YEARS & YEARS ‘King’ (February 2015)

133. TAYLOR SWIFT ‘Style’ (February 2015)

134. CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS ‘Tilted’ (March 2015)

135. TWENTY ONE PILOTS ‘Stressed Out’ (April 2015)

136. JAMIE LAWSON ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ (April 2015)

137. JUSTIN BEIBER ‘Love Yourself’ (November 2015)

138. EMPIRE OF THE SUN ‘First Crush’ (October 2016)

139. HARRY STYLES ‘Sign Of The Times’ (April 2017)

140. LORDE ‘Perfect Places’ (June 2017)

141. RAG’N’BONE MAN ‘As You Are’ (July 2017)

142. SIGRID ‘Strangers’ (November 2017)

143. GEORGE EZRA ‘Paradise’ (January 2018)

144. JAMES BAY ‘Us’ (March 2018)

145. ANNE-MARIE ‘2002’ (April 2018)

146. SOFI TUKKER FEAT. CHARLI BARKER ‘Good Time Girl’ (April 2018)

147. LANA DEL REY ‘Doin’ Time’ (May 2019)

148. JAMES ARTHUR ‘Falling Like The Stars’ (May 2019)

149. GRACE IVES ‘Icing On The Cake’ (October 2019) 

150. BILLIE EILISH ‘Everything I Wanted’ (November 2019)