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Baker's Dozen

Reel To Reel Cacophony: Jim Kerr Of Simple Minds' Favourite Albums
Mark Eglinton , November 4th, 2014 13:44

With their sixteenth LP Big Music just out, the Glaswegian new wave veterans' frontman gives Mark Eglinton a Baker's Dozen of his top 13 formative influences

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Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock

The Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield is on the record as being a massive fan of, in particular, the first four albums released by Simple Minds, beginning with Life In A Day in 1979 and culminating with 1981's commercial fuck you one-two of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. "Simple Minds were like crystalline gods to me", were his exact words and by my calculations Bradfield would have been eleven at the end of this distinct phase of the Minds' development. A decade or so previously, Jim Kerr was embarking on his own musical pilgrimage from a housing estate on the south side of Glasgow.

"I lived in a high-rise block in Toryglen and while I didn't have any older brothers, there was couple of older guys that lived above me that, while I was getting into the stuff I was listening to, would also put me on to Genesis or Van der Graaf Generator or Syd Barrett or whatever." Kerr explains.

Any of us who are genuinely into music can relate to that dizzying overload of information that comes with having older brothers or sisters or older friends that were a step or two ahead of us in terms of knowledge. Their need to discover was voracious and us, a few years younger but no less enthusiastic, just got sucked along with them in this exciting vortex of new bands and scenes. The result is that, more often than not, the music that you liked when you were a teenager lasts the distance. There may be regrettable diversions along the way, sure (like getting married for the first time and naively pretending to your new wife that you really never had a Bongripper and Alabama Thunderpussy phase) but if you were, let's say, a Springsteen fan when you were twelve, chances are you still are when you're fifty. Jim Kerr's exposure to music was sudden and hard-hitting. Within a six-month period of massive exposure, the dye was set and now, forty years later, it's time to pour it all into a list of just thirteen. "As a thirteen or fourteen-year-old kid," Kerr explains, "you're life is changing fast as it ever is, but when I heard all these bands over this period of just a few months, things really were - to use that well-worn cliché - never quite the same again."

Simple Minds' new album Big Music is out now via their own label. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Jim's choices


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Nov 4, 2014 2:24pm

"don't you forget about me, no no no no!"

sorry, already did

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Scott Stevens
Nov 4, 2014 2:24pm

Amusing read this. Howled off stage by Gabriel fans? No wonder - they'd have been playing stuff like Twist/Run/Repulsion probably!

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Paris Trance
Nov 4, 2014 3:30pm

In reply to :


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Nov 4, 2014 5:26pm

worth it for the pretenders bit.

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Nov 4, 2014 5:44pm

yeah - good choices and nice, humorous self-deprecating stuff from the man. The Minds are legends - that much can't be denied.

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Kev C.
Nov 4, 2014 6:43pm

Innervisions aside, I'd be v. happy to be stranded on a desert island with this selection.

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Jim C
Nov 4, 2014 6:59pm

In reply to Kev C.:

I'll take that a stage further and say that 'Innervisions' is welcome to go to a desert island on its own. Or, better still, outer space.

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Jamie Stewart
Nov 4, 2014 9:01pm

Something very nicely phrased about all this. There's a sentimental element to the recall and the telling that really tugs at you - especially if you're from that era of records, big brothers and all. The albums themselves almost don't matter (fortunately they are all classics) but the stories behind them do matter. Emotional in a way you don't hear or see so much nowadays.

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Nov 4, 2014 9:04pm


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Nov 4, 2014 9:05pm

Good read Mr. Kerr, thanks to you and Mr. Englinton. Didn't know he was married to Chrissie - have always thought she was one of the coolest freakin' gals ever.

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Nov 5, 2014 1:05am

What shines through is that feeling we probably all have of discovering new music and rushing out to buy or borrow the albums, or hearing a snippet of something and needing to know what it was, of self-discovery and identity being formed through musical attachments. I have some hazy memories of spending time staying at my punky aunts and through her and her mates discovering the Minds, internet and the radio rarely shared the good stuff till it was commercial so the only way was to have a cool friend or relative or take chances on cool album covers in flea-bit second hand record stores...

Nowadays I see my own sun - budding musician and all - finding himself in stuff a lot older than he is. Not a rare thing except there is little in modern stuff he finds appealing or something to identify with strongly.

It's good when one of your own musical favourites has such an appetite for other bands - some musicians can be a bit sniffy about liking other artists. Kerr is a bona fide music fan which somehow makes me like him more.

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Post-Punk Monk
Nov 5, 2014 1:20am

My mind stops dead when I contemplate the touring pair of Peter Gabriel and Simple Minds, both at the apex of their [artistic] careers on the same bill. Giants walked the earth, then.
For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®

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Mark Eglinton
Nov 5, 2014 10:17am

In reply to Post-Punk Monk:

I'm actually surprised that Gabriel fans weren't more receptive to the Empires And Dance stuff! Would have been great to see them together though. I saw Magazine in Edinburgh around this time and he's correct about their impact. (Enjoyed having a look at your blog too- good stuff)

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Nov 5, 2014 12:37pm

When Jim Kerr says the guys in Genesis would have been in 'cammo' if it hadn't been for Peter Gabriel, does he actually mean 'Camel' and the writer hasn't understood his Glaswegian accent? I think we should be told.

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Jeff Lennox
Nov 5, 2014 3:34pm

Great piece by the quietus again and some good records in there. Pleased to see a shout for Talking Heads and Magazine in particular. Such an underrated group.

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Nov 5, 2014 3:38pm

Simple Minds finally getting some recognition for their massive influence and, in turn, Kerr knows exactly who he needs to nod back to for their sound. It's the circle of life (not in an Elton John way) when it comes to music - excellent article.

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Nov 5, 2014 3:42pm

Tiffany's in Edinburgh was an amazing venue. Burned down in the 90s sometime I think but for a few years in the late 70s/ early 80s every band played there.

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Scott Eisen
Nov 5, 2014 3:50pm

Oh for more of Jim's stories. This feels like a conversation at a bar. Personal, engaging, recreating something we can all relate to in some way. One of the best in this series

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Nov 5, 2014 5:56pm

Gem of a piece here - this is the kind of stuff the Quietus do so well. Wouldn't have expected this kind of candour from Kerr though - someone I knew little about until now.

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Nov 5, 2014 6:54pm

"To be unique is really, really hard." Amen, Mr. Kerr, amen. Wish more artists had this quote painted on their walls at home.

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Nov 6, 2014 11:32pm

Who are these clowns in the Quietus comments talking shit about Innervisions? One of the best albums on the list!

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Nov 9, 2014 1:28am

No wonder why I really got hooked on Simple Minds. Kerr's influential albums are among my top 30 of all time

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Mathieu R
Nov 11, 2014 5:51pm

Nothing against Kerr, but his list is like a composite sketch of all baker's dozens ever compiled. I clicked hoping not to see the usual T-Rex/Bowie/Roxy Music/Lou Reed obviousness, and they all poppep up, along with the usual token African record. The only thing missing is the empty gesture of a Public Enemy album to seem "with it".

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Scott Eisen
Nov 13, 2014 12:18am

In reply to Mathieu R:

So, you want him to deny his influences just to appeal to your opinion of what's valid? There's a REASON why artists like this appear on so many lists, dipshit but the manner in which they influence each person is always different.

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Mathieu R
Nov 17, 2014 7:59pm

In reply to Scott Eisen:

I don't want him to deny his influences, I want the music press to stop thinking it is worthwhile to publish yet another article where an umpteenth musician repeats the same obvious statements about obvious influential artists.

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Mathieu R
Nov 17, 2014 8:00pm

In reply to Scott Eisen:

... "dipshit".

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Apr 20, 2016 12:12pm

In reply to teddydogs:

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