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Baker's Dozen

Howls From The Soul: Bobby Gillespie's Favourite Albums
Yousif Nur , May 4th, 2016 09:19

After the release of Primal Scream's eleventh album, Chaosmosis, the singer boils his record collection down to a mean 13, a selection that formed his "own private world" while he was growing up in Glasgow

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The Clash – The Clash
So it's spring, early summer in 1977. I'm a teenager that's started school. I read a book about a punk. I know something's happening. I heard 'God Save The Queen'. I started buying records like The Stranglers' 'Peaches' and The Clash's first album. I remember looking at the cover of the latter at a record store at the bottom of my street called Soundtrack Records. I remember looking at the three guys on the cover with brutally shorn hair, tight drainpipes and wearing shirts with Paul Simonon having a Union Jack stitched on over the pocket. There was also a photo of the Notting Hill riots with the police fighting the Rasta youth. Earlier that year I watched a documentary with my father about the Notting Hill riots at the carnival. I found it really inspirational because I just love seeing the youth rise up and take on the cops. It was a pre-punk moment of seditious confrontation that I found totally inspiring. Just seeing people saying "fuck you" to the system is always inspiring to me.

In terms of the Clash album itself, the song titles even sound great, such as 'I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.', 'White Riot', 'London's Burning' – I was like, "Fuck!" before I'd even heard the record! It totally blew my mind and I ended up buying the record. For a long time I'd stood outside the record store and looked at the sleeve!

This album was basically everything I was waiting for. It was my rock & roll. Previous to that, I'd heard rock songs on commercial top-40 radio stations, such as Deep Purple, The Who and Rolling Stones, but it felt like a different generation's music. So with The Clash, I finally found my thing. The songwriting on the Clash album is amazing. 'Remote Control' lyrically was about big business and not liking the things you do. You got no money, you got no power, they think you're useless and that's exactly how you feel. I thought, "Fucking hell" when I heard it back. You still felt as a kid scared of going into the adult world when you left school. The song wasn't rock bravado or being macho but about being a young person going out into the world for the first time feeling powerless, which was empowering because when you relate to something, you feel stronger. 'Hate & War' was another song that took the hippie ideal of love and peace and turned it on its head by saying: "There ain't no love and peace, this is the '70s, it's fucking hate and war here."

Punk rock was my portal and pathway to being a creative person. And the first Clash album was everything to set me on my way. Even now, I feel quite emotional talking about this. It's the most emotional record the Clash made because there's something really pure about it. I also think there's a humanism that the Clash have that the Pistols didn't, as the latter were just pure rage. For those reasons, this record is my life.


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