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Bill Gates’ Desert Island Playlist Includes David Bowie, Willie Nelson and Ed Sheeran

Bill Gates' desert island playlist includes David Bowie, Willie Nelson, Jim Hendrix and... Ed Sheeran.

Is Microsoft founder Bill Gates half the music fan of his late friend Steve Jobs? No dice, but the super-philanthropist isn’t a complete rube when it comes to tunes, as heard during a recent episode of BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs” show. Sprinkled throughout a 42-minute conversation about his Herculean efforts to eradicate extreme poverty, his work ethic at Microsoft and his relationship with Jobs (“for some periods we were complete allies”), Gates revealed eight songs he’d take with him if he was ever stranded alone. Check out his playlist:

1) David Bowie and Queen, “Under Pressure” — “In my 20s and 30s I worked a lot, but a few Fridays and Saturdays we’d go out and dance, so this kind of reminds me of those disco days with a little bit of weekend freedom.”

2) Willie Nelson, “Blue Skies” — “My wife and I love Willie Nelson, and so as a surprise gift for her I had him show up the night before we got married. We were on a beach in Hawaii and he kind of walked down the beach with his guitar and I said “let’s let this guy sing some songs for us.” It was kind of dark and it wasn’t until he got up on stage that everyone realize Willie Nelson had come to sing.”

3) Ed Sheeran, “Sing” — Gates’ 13-year-old daughter Phoebe picked this one for her dad.

4) The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Are You Experienced?” — “[Microsoft cofounder] Paul Allen was far more into music than I was and the musician that he loved the most was Jimi Hendrix. And because I was younger, he would sometimes taunt me with the title of this song — ‘Are You Experienced?’ — because I had gotten drunk or other various things, so this was one of our favorites.”

5) U2, “One” — “As the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation was just getting started around 2000, Paul [Allen] told me that I should meet Bono. And I didn’t prioritize it because I thought a musician is not really going to understand this global health stuff. But we finally did get to meet and I was amazed about how he had thought about it, read about it, so it started a partnership, and he’s been absolutely amazing.”

6) The Beatles, “Two Of Us” — “Steve was really into music, he loved the Beatles and so did I. And he actually mentioned the song “Two of Us” saying that was kind of like this journey we’d been on where we’d been competing and working together. Only we understood how intense and what great memories came out of that.”

7) Rodgers & Hammerstein, “How Can Love Survive?” — “Melinda and I both love The Sound of Music, and later as I met Warren Buffett, he and his first wife Susie (d. 2004) sang a song from The Sound of Music and in fact this was one we’d never heard of because it was in the Broadway musical and not in the movie. It’s kind of a cute song.

8) Hamilton musical, “My Shot” —  “I love musicals and one of the best I’ve ever seen is Hamilton that’s now on Broadway. This is one of many great songs from it, and it’s about a young person saying, ‘Hey I’m going to take a risk, I’m going to get out there and try something new and different.'”