Part of the excitement of The X Factor is finding out which classic tracks the contestants will be given to sing each week, and hearing them hit all the right notes. The songs are yet to be chosen for this year’s contestants, but we’ve got holiday inspired song suggestions of our own.
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
Redding wrote some of the lyrics to this 60s soul classic while renting a houseboat in Sausalito, a city in the San Francisco Bay area. Sitting to the north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito’s known for its spectacular scenery, being surrounded by the parkland of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
And inspiring Redding’s hit isn’t the only part the city has played in music history. Prince, Metallica, Mariah Carey and Bob Marley all recorded albums in Sausalito, as did Fleetwood Mac, who created Rumours – one of the biggest albums of all time – at the city’s Record Plant studio.
California Love – 2Pac featuring Dr Dre
Originally based in opposite ends of the state – Marin County near San Francisco and Compton in LA – 2Pac and Dr Dre were both well acquainted with California’s party scene when they worked together on this West Coast hip hop classic.
Although it namechecks several Californian cities – including San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento – many of the song’s lyrics focus on LA and its suburbs. This isn’t surprising, given the amount of musicians the city has inspired.
Probably the city’s main musical hotspot is the Sunset Strip, which attracted 60s rock acts like The Byrds and The Doors, was the heart of the 80s Hair Metal Scene, and is still home to famous venues like The Roxy, Whisky a Go Go and The Viper Room.
Further down Sunset Boulevard you’ll also find the massive Amoeba Music record shop and the historic Hollywood Palladium.
Empire State of Mind – Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys
There have been perhaps more songs written about New York than any other city, with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Lana Del Rey being inspired by The Big Apple.
Jay-Z’s own ode to New York has already become one of the classics, taking in his journey from the then-mean (but now very hip) streets of Brooklyn, through Harlem, to hanging out with celebrities in Manhattan’s exclusive Tribeca.
The city’s played an important part in many 20th century musical movements. There was jazz in the 1920s, to the 1960s folk scene based around Greenwich Village, the birth of disco, hip-hop and punk in the 1970s. And it is, of course, one of the world centres of musical theatre, with the Broadway Theatre district being found not-too-far from Alicia Keys’ childhood home in Hell’s Kitchen.
Loco in Acapulco – The Four Tops
Co-written by Phil Collins for the movie Buster, Loco in Acapulco might be about hiding out from the law in Mexico, but Motown legends The Four Tops make it sound like a lot of fun.
And, to be honest, we can think of worse places to hide out than Acapulco.
Found on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the city became a favourite getaway for movie stars in the 1950s and became a booming beach resort soon afterwards. It’s still famous for its wild nightlife, the famous La Quebrada cliff divers, and sparkling beaches like Barra Vieja.
Defying Gravity – Idina Menzel
There’s a bit of a Wicked-X Factor connection as Cassie Compton, who was a finalist during the very first series, went on to play the part of Nessarose in the West End production of the Wizard of Oz-inspired show. But we’re still a bit surprised that the song hasn’t featured in The X Factor yet – it’s certainly one of our go-to singing-in-the-shower standards.
Defying gravity is something that the almost 800,000 people that call La Paz in Bolivia home do each day. The world’s highest capital city, it might sit 3,640 metres above sea level, but it’s still home to impressive cathedrals, some of the country’s biggest football teams, exciting nightlife and fascinating cultural sites like the Witches’ Market.
That’s where you can pick up all sorts of unusual natural medicinal knick-knacks (it’s particularly famous for its llama foetuses – although we think we’ll pass on that, thanks).
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
Eurovision-winners Katrina and the Waves know a thing or two about sunshine, hailing as they do from Cambridge. The city might be known more for its history, but it’s also one of the sunniest places in the UK, with recorded temperatures as high as 37 degrees Celsius.
However, really dedicated seekers of sunshine might want to head out to the city of Yuma in Arizona, which is officially the world’s sunniest place.
Found by the California and Mexico borders, the city has a hot desert climate and gets more than 4000 hours of sunshine a year (more than twice as much as Cambridge’s 1500). It’s also just a few hours’ drive from Palm Springs, the home of the Coachella music festival.
River Deep Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner
What’s the tallest mountain in the world? Easy, Everest. But how about the deepest river?
It’s the Congo, which reaches depths of 220 metres in places –almost deep enough to fully submerge London’s “Cheesegrater” building.
Ike and Tina Turner both grew up near the banks of another of the world’s deepest rivers, the Mississippi. Crossing through 10 states, over the course of 2320 miles, at its deepest point, just outside New Orleans, it reaches a depth of 60 metres.
London Calling – The Clash
From the sounds of the swinging 60s to grime, London’s music credentials are hard to beat, with world-class live music venues all around the city.
The Clash themselves formed in Shepherd’s Bush, where you’ll find the historic Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and based themselves in a rehearsal and recording space in Camden.
Possibly the city’s most rock n’ roll postcode, you can catch a gig in famous venues like Dingwalls and The Roundhouse, have a pint in Britpop’s favourite pub, The Good Mixer, and see the Stables Market’s Amy Winehouse statue.
Hot Hot Hot – The Merrymen
Calypso band The Merrymen were formed in Barbados, a country known for its warm tropical climate, with temperatures between 21-31 degrees Celsius, all year round.
However, while pleasantly warm and sunny, that’s quite a long way off the hottest place in the world. With recorded temperatures as high as 56.7 degrees, Greenland Ranch in California’s Death Valley might be a bit of an extreme travel destination, but sightseeing tours of the area do offer the chance to come face-to-face with unique wildlife and exceptional stargazing opportunities.
Rather more comfortable is the world’s hottest city – Bangkok.
At its hottest, the city experiences temperatures of about 40 degrees, while lows rarely drop below 22 degrees.
What song makes you want to travel? Send us a tweet @lastminute_com and let us know.