The BBC recently unveiled their Desert Island Discs archive online. The programme, in which famous personalities name 8 records/songs and a luxury item they’d take with them on a desert island, started in 1942 and is still broadcast today. Vivien Leigh appeared on the programme on September 9, 1952. Unfortunately the audio isn’t available at this time, but it is really interesting to see which songs she chose. I think it reveals she had quite eclectic (aka awesome) yet refined taste in music. I see Vivien and I both share(d) a love for a little Ludwig Van!

Vivien’s picks:

Jean Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D Minor
Oscar StrausMariette Act 2 (I couldn’t find a link, but Straus also composed La Ronde!)
Ludwig van BeethovenSymphony No. 9 in D minor ‘Choral’ – 2nd movement
Ludwig van BeethovenSymphony No. 9 in D minor ‘Choral’ – 4th movement (Ode to Joy)
Danny Kaye Ballin’ the Jack
Maurice RavelDaphnis and Chloe–Daybreak
Laurence Olivier If the Heart of a Man (from The Beggar’s Opera)
William WaltonValse & Tango-Pasodoble (from Façade)

The luxury item Vivien chose was a piano.

If you could choose 8 albums or songs to take on a desert island, which would you choose?

About The Author


Kendra is the designer and webmistress of She lives in London and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait (Running Press, October 2013). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, on Facebook at Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, or at her official website.

16 Responses to Vivien Leigh on Desert Island Discs

  1. JD says:

    My Boy Builds Coffins- Florence and the Machine
    Turpentine-Brandi Carlile
    Someone Like You- Adele
    Oh Boy-Duffy
    Don’t You Remember-Adele
    Set Fire to the Rain-Adele
    Back to Black-Amy Winehouse
    Tears Dry on Their Own-Amy Winehouse

    This is really really really hard…8 songs is not enough

    • Kendra says:

      I think I’d have to have some Florence in my mix, as well. I wish she’d release a new album already!

      • JD says:

        I agree! I LOVE her…I’m ready for a new album. Have you listened to the B-sides or the deluxe edition of Lungs it has a few more songs and several remixes

  2. Anne says:

    I would also take her picks, but would exchange Laurence Olivier for more Beethoven.

  3. Alex says:

    Songs is way too hard. Albums is a little easier:

    Arular- M.I.A
    Kala- M.I.A
    Judy at Carnegie Hall- Judy Garland
    The Voice of the Sparrow- Edith Piaf
    Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness- Smashing Pumpkins
    Symphony no 6- Ludwig Van Beethoven
    Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols- The Sex Pistols
    Volume One- She & Him

    • Kendra says:

      Oh wow, Mellon Collie brings back some memories. I loved the Smashing Pumpkins i high school. I still think that and Siamese Dream are two of the best albums of the 90s

  4. TrippyTrellis says:

    La Traviata – Cotrubas, Domingo, Kleiber.
    The Damned – Maurice Jarre
    La Dolce Vita – Nino Rotta
    The Hours – Philip Glass
    Ryan’s Daughter – Maurice Jarre
    A Passage to India – Maurice Jarre
    Out of Africa – John Barry
    The Sicilian Clan – Ennio Morricone

  5. sylwia says:

    Better Be Good To Me (concert version) – Tina Turner
    Far Away Eyes – The Rolling Stones
    Let It Be Me – Elvis Presley
    Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi
    Va pensiero – Nabucco – Giuseppe Verdi
    Tara’s Theme – Gone With The Wind
    Tango – Scent of a Woman
    All For You – Vivien Leigh & Jean Pierre Aumont

  6. Kendra says:

    I think I’d choose:

    Joseph Haydn — Cello Concerto
    Sergei Rachmaninov — Piano Concerto No. 2
    Richard Wagner — Das Rheingold (Vorspiel)
    The Rolling Stones — She’s a Rainbow
    The Rolling Stones — Moonlight Mile
    Camille Saint-Saens — Danse Macabre
    Arcade Fire — Neighborhood 1 (Tunnels)
    Radiohead — Where I End and You Begin

  7. Matilde says:

    Mozart.Piano concerno n.21
    Mozart:Nozze di Figaro
    Mozart:Die Zauberflote
    Beethoven. Symphony n.9
    Verdi:Un Ballo in Maschera Barbiere di Siviglia
    the Beatles/Sinatra:Something
    Nat King Cole:quizas,quizas

    but why only eight…? It’s really hard

  8. Amanda says:

    Wow, this is so hard! I think I’d choose:

    Pearl – Janis Joplin
    Big Brother and the Holding Company – Big Brother and the Holding Company
    The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 – Bob Dylan (I was going to say The Freewheelin’ but, damn, The Witmark Demos is so, so ridiculously good. I much prefer outtakes/older versions of Dylan’s songs especially his earlier version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” on this album).
    Band of Brothers OST – Michael Kamen
    The Pacific OST – Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli, Blake Neely
    Sunshine Superman – Donovan
    Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

    Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
    Hard-Hearted Hannah (Vamp of Savannah) – Belle Baker
    Sherry – Franki Valli & the Four Seasons
    One Night Stand – Janis Joplin
    Marie’s the Name (of His Latest Flame) – Elvis Presley
    The Weight – The Band
    California Girls – The Beach Boys
    God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash

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