John in Hamburg…
I’m sitting here in the sunshine by the River Elbe in Hamburg drinking luxury coffee. This was not possible when I first came here 40 years ago to play the Markthalle! I’m not a nostalgist by nature but that was our first major German show and so I remember it with much affection and I’ve subsequently always felt a strong connection with this part of the country. (I bet some of you actually came to that show! Do write and let us know.)
On the table in front of me I have my UK ‘Q Music Magazine’, which has a list of their most influential albums of all time. This has reminded me of so much great music that I haven’t heard for years and also made me think about which ones most influenced me. I often get asked about my favourites in radio interviews, but it’s always rushed.
Here’s a few that blew my mind and presumably shaped my music :-
Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the wind’ for its words and character singing. (I was just in senior school.)
The Kinks - ‘Something Else’ including the glorious Waterloo sunset. (Stories and atmospheres captured in song.)
Love - ‘Forever Changes’ (prototype acoustic psychedelia.)
The Walker Brothers records & Scott solo.(Glorious big sounds and everyday lyrics.)
Captain Beefheart - ‘Safe as Milk’ (weird is good. Surrealism music.)
The Stooges - ‘Doggy Song...’ (Filthy and attitude is all!)
Laura Nyro (Godmother of intelligent folk incorporating Brill Building standard writing.)
Nilsson Schmillson (classy sleaze.)
Serge Gainsbourg - ‘Histoire de melody’ (king of musical sleaze.)
Rolling Stones - ‘Rocks off’ (Noise your Mum didn’t like.)
Lennon & Yoko (People laid bare - Also not for your Mum.)
Can - ‘Tago Mago?’ (Euro New Form pioneers. A different way to rock.)
Gil Scot Heron - ‘The Revolution...’
(Politics and music merged.)
The Beach Boys - ‘Petsounds’ (Pop arrangement of the highest level.)
Let’s leave It here as a Part One list while we are in the Californian sunshine!
I hope these records have made you as happy as they made me.