Freddie Fox is acting royalty. His family’s spirited performances have captured and enraptured audiences for decades — establishing a dynasty the 32-year-old is now spearheading into a new millennium. But he’s also no stranger to playing royalty, with turns as King Louis XIII and King Hugo of Sweden to his name.
Fox even popped up in The Crown last year, playing the son of Margaret Thatcher — one of many recent television roles that also include Jeremy Bamber in White House Farm and a part in the BBC’s The Pursuit of Love. And there’s more to come — so much so that it’s a small wonder Fox even has time to stick on and listen to some music.
And yet listen he does. As musical as he is theatrical, Fox has harboured a lifelong passion for the strains of songs and symphonies. So we asked the actor both for his top ten tracks, and which musical moments have defined his life over the years…
When do you usually listen to music for leisure?, At home when I’m relaxing — or when I’m cooking. Often I get obsessed with a song and listen to it non-stop for days until I’ve learnt it on the guitar.
What was the last song you listened to?, Hotel Supramonte by Fabrizio De Andrè.
Spotify or vinyl?, I do have a vinyl player, though I’m sad to say it’s not used enough, so I guess Spotify. When I do get the record player out, it’s usually for jazz — John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans Trio etc.
What was the last album you bought?, Diamond Dogs by David Bowie — on vinyl.
What is your favourite workout song?, I go pretty 80s when I’m working out (Talking Heads, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Prince, Tears For Fears), and recently I loved Think About Things, the Eurovison song Icelandic band Daði & Gagnamagnið did last year. But, when I’m running, I weirdly like to be more relaxed, so I’ve been listening to Arthur McBride by Paul Brady as I run lately.
What do you listen to when you want to relax?, Anything by John Martyn, Burt Jansch, James Taylor or Simon & Garfunkel. I also listen to a lot of classical music. Radio 3 in the mornings, always.
Which other instrument would you like to learn to play?, I play the guitar — and used to play the cello. But, if I could be really good at anything, I’d choose the piano.
What’s your favourite lyric?, “You better not look down if you want to keep on flying / Put the hammer down keep it full steam ahead / You better not look back or you might just wind up crying / You can keep it moving if you don’t look down.” From Better Not Look Down by B B King.
What’s your favourite musical moment in a movie/television series?, Wow, there are too much to choose from! I’ll give one answer then immediately remember another that was even better… I loved the way Guy Ritchie used music in his early films. Brad Pitt going mental in Snatch to Oasis’ F**kin in the Bushes is pretty damn cool. One of many!
Freddie Fox's Sunday Playlist
Andy Warhol by David Bowie. I love this song, and immediately learnt it on guitar when I heard it. It’s early Bowie, from Hunky Dory, and I love the youthful fun and nervous energy you hear in his voice at the start of the track.
The Easy Blues by John Martyn. One of the greatest singer-songwriters of his generation. Martyn had such a turbulent life, but this song is him at the peak of his skill. I listen to it all the time and wish I was good enough to play it.
Better Not Look Down by BB King. I love the lyrics of this song. Dominic West played it to me when we were shooting The Pursuit Of Love and I immediately adored it.
Saturday Sun by Nick Drake. I had the privilege of knowing Nick’s sister Gabrielle, and she inadvertently introduced me to his work when I was too young to appreciate its beauty. It came back to me like an amazing déjà vu when I was ten years older.
Cello Concerto in E minor by Edward Elgar. I played the first and third movements of this when I was at school. (I was never good enough to play 2 and 4). I always adored listening to Jacqueline Du Pre’s recording of this, and loved watching the recording of her playing whilst being conducted by her husband Daniel Barenboim. Such an evocative recording, and so sensual watching them play it together.
Il Suonartore Jones by Fabrizio De André. The man with the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard. A love letter to the countryside and country people, and an artist’s inner conflicts.
Dancing by John Martyn. This song puts me in a great mood whenever I’m low. Relaxes and uplifts me at the same time, and I wish I’d seen him play it live.
Cactus Tree by Joni Mitchell. Like Fabrizio, Joni Mitchell’s voice breaks my heart, and this album is a favourite of mine. Every song is total perfection.
Soave sia il vento from Act 1 of Così Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I came to this music when watching the movie Sunday Bloody Sunday, and it moved me profoundly. It’s so simple yet powerful. I listen to it most days.
Bitch by The Rolling Stones. I’ve always wanted to make a movie with an action sequence scored to this music. Pumps me up and makes me feel alive.
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