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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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Stevie_wonder_1415107985_resize_460x400

Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
This definitely breaks out of the lineage created by the first four. There were a couple of characters that lived up at the top of this high-rise block in Toryglen who had just huge record collections. They'd see me in the lift with my albums on me and say: "Come up and hear this and hear that…" and I'd go up and hear all this new stuff and I remember one of these guys saying once: "You've got to hear this. It's Tonto's Expanding Head Band." That was the first time I'd even heard Moog and synth sounds. Then he said: "These guys have produced Stevie Wonder…"

Now, with Stevie Wonder, I always thought about the Motown stuff he'd done but always saw that as the kind of stuff you played at parties or heard at the school dance. I liked it but I never bought it, knew much about that culture and the lyrics just weren't for me. Innervisions on the other hand came in this period where Stevie Wonder was starting to write about what was going on in America at the time and this was the first opportunity I'd had to really tune into political writing in any great detail. That combination of fantastic tunes, the sounds, the synths and I guess the funkiness - all married to lyrics in songs like 'He's Misstra Know-It-All' where he's taking a stab at the government - definitely made for something I wanted to play… and play continuously. It was one of a few classic periods that Stevie Wonder had. He was having hits still, but there was a depth that wasn't there in the Motown period.


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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 :

Wrong.

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seancooper
Nov 4, 2014 5:26pm

worth it for the pretenders bit.

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lightravels
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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somewhere
Nov 4, 2014 9:04pm

MAGAZINE!!!!!

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Apop
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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Gizmo
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, Magazine...no 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.

http://postpunkmonk.wordpress.com
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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teddydogs
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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fatale
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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Nikki
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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sIGNSENSE
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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Apop
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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Stephen
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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Luc
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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DSarge
Apr 20, 2016 12:12pm

In reply to teddydogs:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel_(band)

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