Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley: The 10 songs that changed my life

Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley digs into his record collection and pulls out some ’60s classics…

Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley: The 10 songs that changed my life
David McLaughlin
Jenn Five
Originally published:

Did you know that Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley wanted to be a gangsta rap star? Hip-hop’s loss, it seems, has been pop-punk’s gain…

The first song that I remember hearing...The Beatles – Penny Lane (1967)

“The Beatles’ music, and especially the Paul McCartney songs, can be quite nursery rhyme-like, so I guess that made them stand out to my young ears. And this song is really accessible and so easy to sing along with. My mom had me when she was 17, so she was still living with her parents and they were all huge Beatles fans. I’m lucky they had such good music taste.”

The song that reminds me of school days...The Beach Boys – Kokomo (1989)

“This song was a huge hit around the time I was in second grade. I remember at school this one teacher used to play it for us when we’d arrive in the morning as a sort of exercise to wake everyone up. We’d do this little gymnastic, wake-up routine to it.”

The song that made me want to be in a band...The Doors – Break On Through (1967)

“There are a few, but the song that really pushed me to decide, ‘This is what I want to do,’ was this. It made me realise there was nothing else in this world for me; that it was going to be music or nothing. I already liked Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, because those bands were big at the time, but The Doors changed something in me. I would have been maybe 11 years old. I was playing guitar at the time, and there was something about Jim Morrison’s voice and The Doors’ music that really grabbed me. I got so obsessed with them. There was no internet back then obviously, so I was going to my local library to find out anything I could about them.”

The first song that I performed in front of an audience...P.Y.H. – Untitled (1991)

“The first thing I ever did in music was start a rap group – we were called Powerful Young Hustlers! We went by the acronym P.Y.H. and at the time we were really into LL Cool J, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys. Obviously we didn’t have any beats or anything, and it was just my cousin and I, but we would write rap songs and perform them for our family and get $1 for it. We were rapping about witnessing murders because we’d heard that on Ice-T records, but there was no swearing!”

The song that sums up my teenage years...NOFX – The Brews (1994)

“Me and the few friends I had in high school were big NOFX fans. This song was kind of our anthem. It’s very chanty and catchy, and although we didn’t even know what ‘the brews’ were, it really felt like, ‘Well, we’re the brews!’ There were only a few of us, but our little gang of nerds were the only ones who were into punk rock.”

The song that was toughest to write...Sum 41 – Never There (2019)

“It’s about how I’ve never met my father. It’s not that it was emotionally difficult to go there, it was more the fact that I didn’t want to. I just didn’t feel like it. I didn’t feel that it was necessary to talk about that subject. The only thing that made me do it was that it was obviously something in my subconscious letting me know that I probably should explore it.”

The song that soundtracked my wildest parties...Mötley Crüe – Girls, Girls, Girls (1987)

“When Fat Lip and In Too Deep took off we were rolling around in a bus, so after every show we’d pull up to strip clubs where the girls would hop on board to hang out, and we would throw on Mötley Crüe. That was always our party starter. The second you throw on Girls, Girls, Girls and that motorbike sound starts up in the intro, everyone knows, ‘Oh shit, it’s time to party.’”

The song that lifts me up when I’m down...Aerosmith – Mama Kin (1973)

“If I’m on tour and I’m tired or bummed out, this helps. There have definitely been ups and downs within the band, and although it’s great these days, sometimes it can be tough. When that happens I’d play this song and be like, ‘Just remember that this is what you love,’ and the instant the guitar starts I’m like, ‘I feel like playing rock’n’roll.’”

The song that I wish I had written...Aerosmith – Dream On (1973)

“There’s something about this song. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it in my life, but I feel like it’s the first time I’m hearing it every single time. I still get goose bumps. Something about it makes me feel something that I can’t describe. It’s perfect.”

The song I would like played at my funeral...Frank Sinatra – That’s Life (1966)

“I’m a huge fan of Sinatra and his version of this is a classic. It would make so much sense for me. Anyone at my funeral who knows me would say, ‘Oh, of course he’s chosen this.’”

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