“I consider 1984 to be the greatest year of music” – Dorset Island Discs


Luke Rake is Principal and CEO of Kingston Maurward College near Dorchester and chairs the Dorset Local Nature Partnership.
Luke Rake Principal and CEO of Kingston Maurward College

Born in Devon, Luke grew up on the edge of Dartmoor and has always been an outdoors fanatic, as well as a self- confessed geek.
“I’m a classic example of the free school meals kid whose life was changed by education, supportive welfare from a number of sources and some cracking parenting.
After my parents split we were shunted around by the council for a little while, including to a bedsit and a caravan, until we got lucky and landed a council house when I was 11. There are no musicians in my family, but the radio was always on and my pop quiz abilities are largely down to a young mother who didn’t migrate to Radio 2 until well after I left home. Like every sane person, I consider 1984 to be the greatest year of music in history. At sixth form I started to learn the guitar and have been obsessed with it ever since, so I’ll admit this list is heavily influenced by that!”

And so to Luke’s eight music choices, in chronological order of influence:

Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie
I remember bouncing around to this in the car as we drove to and from my Dad’s greengrocer’s shop when we lived in East Devon. Literally bouncing. I don’t think we used seatbelts back then. It’s a fabulous song with huge energy and defines the late 70’s for me.

Hallowed be thy Name – Iron Maiden
This band was hugely formative for me and their albums were some of the first I bought with earnings from my Saturday job. It’s also current – outside work I swap the tweed for a cut-off jacket as I’m one of two
guitarists in an Iron Maiden Tribute Band. COVID has got in the way for every venue and it’s important to get this back and support live music. We’re gigging all over the country, headlining a couple of festivals over the
next 12 months and love what we do. When this one kicks in, the crowd goes nuts every single time. It’s just a blast to play with the guys.

By day, he’s a mild-mannered college principal. By night, he‘s a rock-playing guitar man with torn-off sleeves

Time Stand Still – Rush
Probably the closest thing they did to a pop song, this late 80s tune always makes me smile and has been a fixture in most of the driving mix-tapes (and modern equivalents) ever since. Great band, great musicans.

Dreams – Van Halen
It’s pure cheese, but it’s also brilliant. We could have an endless debate over the David Lee Roth vs Sammy Hagar era, but Eddie was just such an inspiration to a young guitarist and this song is also the soundtrack to driving over Dartmoor.
In the upper sixth our timetable on a Thursday had just one lesson first thing and then we were free to do … whatever. We used our ‘study time’ most productively, and were usually on the moor or at a beach by lunchtime. Van Halen was the soundtrack to every sunny day.

Day We Caught the Train – Ocean Colour Scene
Although I grew up in Devon, I didn’t really regularly visit Dorset until the 90s, after I got my first car. I was doing a lot of rock climbing and frequently spent Friday nights zooming down here to camp at Tom’s Field in
Purbeck, or a cheeky bivi site on Portland, and get to the pub before they rang for last orders.
This tune is iconic for the 90s and was frequently playing as we left for the coast. It’s no wonder we ended up living here really – my wife and I got engaged after a particularly romantic weekend around Dancing Ledge, and even named our first cats after places in Dorset!

Famous Last Words – My Chemical Romance
It’s not a phase. It’s a way of life. I was never really into grunge, but emo, definitely. Welcome to the Black Parade is the defining album of the genre and this song is just immense. We saw them in Cardiff 15 years ago, leaving behind a baby and a toddler in the care of the babysitter, and they blew our minds. This May
all four of us were at Cardiff for their return, although I was more than happy to let the younger pair go into the mosh pit this time while I held the drinks and merch …

Garden Valley – Cara Dillon
I love folk as much as I love metal. This is a Dougie Maclean song about emigration from the east of Scotland, and this rendering by Cara is just sublime. She has the most incredible voice, truly astonishing. The storytelling of the lyrics combined with the way it’s delivered always make me cry.

Waving through a Window Dear – Evan Hansen
I love musical theatre. Music is, or should be, about emotion. Anyone who has felt ‘on the outside’ will resonate with this. I was someone who was definitely the Dungeons and Dragons science geek at school,
and that, along with dealing with the challenges never having enough money at home brings when you see your friends do things you simply can’t, meant I always felt somewhat separate. Being pretty introverted also probably added to the mix. It’s a powerful message – Evan has his own issues, but we’re all on the outside at one time or another. It’s important to just be happy with you, whatever that is.

And if the waves were to wash all your records away but you had time to save just one, which would it be?
Dreams. It has to be.

My book – Danny, the Champion of the World.
Such a comforting read, as well as beautiful imagery. Loved this as a kid, and was then lucky enough to live in the Chilterns in my late 20s and early 30s, not far from Roald Dahl’s home. It is exactly as you’d expect it to be, and I used to drive along the same road as Danny did (when he ‘borrowed’ the Baby Austin) every day to work. Fabulous.

My luxury item
Well, a guitar obviously. Along with a Marshall DSL Head and 4×12 cab please. And maybe a full pedalboard of FX.
(I think you’ll find that’s cheating, and more than ONE THING – Ed)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

More like this

When every day is a fantastic day

Nick Heyward looks back on rough school days, dreaming...

Simon Hoare MP selects hisDorset Island Discs

Sandwiches and Statesmanship: the North Dorset MP’s path from...

Robert Cowley, MBE – magistrate, volunteer and plumber – selects his Dorset Island Discs

He graduated from Cambridge and, to his father’s consternation,...

Gwyneth Wentink, internationally acclaimed harpist, selects her Dorset Island Discs

She chose the harp over the recorder when she...