Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen: The 10 songs that changed my life

Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen dives into his record collection…

Volbeat’s Michael Poulsen: The 10 songs that changed my life
Dan Slessor

Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen unpacks key points from his musical past, in an effort to learn a thing or two about himself…

The first song that I remember hearing...Elvis Presley – Sweet Caroline (1970)

“Elvis was a big element in my childhood because my parents were constantly playing his records around the house. There was something about his voice that I was really drawn to. My father had a lot of videotapes and when watching those I found myself drawn to his personality, too. He was a really big presence in my life. This is actually a Neil Diamond song, but the Elvis version is so much better.”

The song that turned me on to metal...Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

“My mum’s brother lived next door to us, so I went through his record collection and found an album with a sleeve that scared the crap out of me. It was a woman in a graveyard or something, and he told me I was way too young to listen to it. So when he was out I snuck into his house and put the record on, and that was my introduction to Black Sabbath. That was the song that made me want to dig into that scene. Hearing that opening riff made me want my first guitar.”

The song that made me want to be in a band...Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh (1987)

“I came home from school one day with two friends, and we turned on the TV and there was this live show on. There was this weird-looking heavy band wearing shorts, Hawaiian shirts and caps, but they sounded great and they looked like they were having a great time. We all looked at each other and said, ‘That looks like fun, we should do that.’ That band was Anthrax, and they were amazing from start to finish.”

The song that reminds me of my first tour...Dio – The Last In Line (1984)

“We always took a ghetto blaster out in the van with us, so we could play the mixtapes we made while drinking beers. There were a lot of different bands in the mix. You had your classic metal, with Dio and Iron Maiden and Rainbow and Metallica, and then later on we were listening to a lot of death metal bands from Sweden like Entombed and Unleashed, Cemetary and Grave – all that kind of stuff. A lot of songs remind me of that first tour, but this one in particular takes me right back.”

The song I exercise to...Darkthrone – Old Star (2019)

“I’ve never been attached to listening to certain songs when I’m angry, happy, or in a crappy mood. I don’t actually listen to that much music when I’m at home, because I hear it in my head all the time and I want some peace and quiet. So the only times I listen to stuff is when I’m in my car or out running. Right now I’m loving the new Darkthrone album when I go out exercising.”

The song that makes me feel most proud...Volbeat – For Evigt (2016)

“It’s a Danish title that means ‘Forever.’ When I wrote the song I had a really good feeling about it. What I didn’t know was the impact it would have on Denmark. They play it at so many events it’s almost like a Danish national anthem, and to see how much that song means to a lot of people here; for funerals, weddings, birthdays, or whatever. And I created that.”

The first song I ever moshed to...Konkhra – The Vicious Circle (1990)

“Konkhra are a Danish death metal band who I had a great time moshing to in this little club that no longer exists. Back in the ‘90s when death metal was at its best and strongest worldwide, they were one of the leading bands in the Danish scene, alongside my own band Dominus, and Invocator.”

The song I listen to when I want to party...Little Richard – Long Tall Sally (1956)

“Throw it on and you know you’re going to have a good time. The rawness is one of my favourite things about it. You can tell it wasn’t just made yesterday, and there’s such honesty to it. There’s a lot of emotion, innocence and danger as well.”

The song I wish that I had written...Thin Lizzy – Whiskey In The Jar (1972)

“I remember me and [Metallica’s] James Hetfield were talking about music and we both said we wished that we had written this song. I bet we’re not the only ones. There’s something uplifting about it, even though there’s melancholy in there, too. Mix those elements together and that’s beautiful.”

The song I’d like played at my funeral...Social Distortion – Down Here (With The Rest Of Us)

“This is probably my favourite song of all time. The lyrics are how I relate to life. You can work so hard yet nobody gives a flying fuck, but you still do what you have to do, because you are who you are. 'Down here with the rest of us’ – whether things are good or bad, you’re still connected to your roots.”

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?