Rick Rubin has chosen the eight songs he'd take to a desert island

Rick Rubin headshot
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Producer Rick Rubin has appeared on the BBC's long-running Desert Island Discs show, where he picked the eight songs he'd choose to keep were he ever marooned on an island.

Rubin's choices included songs by The Beatles, Ramones and Neil Young (full list below). Rubin also chose the book he'd take to a desert island (The Red Book by Swiss psychiatrist Karl Jung) as well as a luxury item (a set of tarot cards).

Subjects covered in the interview include Run DMC's collaboration with Aerosmith on Walk This Way, his work with Johnny Cash, and his production technique, which usually finds him lying with his eyes closed on a sofa in the studio, rather than hunched over the mixing desk. 

“Well, I'm not technical in any way,” said Rubin, “and my job is to listen. I can listen in the deepest way if I'm relaxed with my eyes closed.

“There are times when I'm looking for a specific thing, but in general it starts with the general experience of ‘What am I feeling?’ and I'm both listening to what's coming at me and paying attention to what's going on in my body as I listen.”

“Does something happen that makes me want to lean forward? Is there something that makes me want to laugh? Even if it's not funny, is there something that surprises me? Or makes me want to know more. Or bores me which happens, and then I’d say, ‘That's a problem’ - If it's boring to me, it'll probably be boring to someone else, or it's likely to be.”

Listen to Rick Rubin's choices on the BBC website (opens in new tab)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Rick Rubin-produced new album Return Of The Dream Canteen entered the UK album chart ay number 2 this week, losing out in the battle for the top spot to Being Funny In A Foreign Language by The 1975. 

Rick Rubin's Desert Island Discs

The Beatles - Across The Universe
Johann Sebastian Bach - ...And at the Hour of Death (performed by Víkingur Ólafsson)
Ramones - Rockaway Beach
LCD Soundsystem - Us V Them
Neil Young - I Believe In You
Thomas de Hartmann - Holy Affirming, Holy Denying, Holy Reconciling
Simon & Garfunkel - The Dangling Conversation
Roberta Flack - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.