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Baker's Dozen

Madness Frontman Suggs' 13 Favourite Albums Of All Time
Simon Price , September 27th, 2011 11:22

Nutty Boy Suggs takes Simon Price on a guided tour through his record collection


Roxy Music - Roxy Music
My mate used to work at WH Smith’s record department, and the salesman from Polydor had been in and said “’Ere, we’ve got this record. It’s a bit weird, lad, but everyone seems to like it…” So he bought the lot, 50 copies. And it’s that old cliché: it sounded like it came from outer space. It was like nothing I’d ever heard before. I wasn’t really mad on rock music as such, and I was young, so I heard it with my formative listening ears, and it struck me as something really exotic and other-worldly. You listen to those songs: no choruses, solos that go on for hours, and… not that I’d compare us to Roxy Music in the slightest, but when we were writing some of those early songs like ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ and ‘Embarrassment’, they were songs that had no chorus, and verses and solos that went all over the place, and didn’t have a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, and I’m sure that in some very small way was informed by Roxy Music. Even down to the fact that they don’t mention ‘Virginia Plain’ until the very end, which is what we did with ‘Embarrassment’! “You’re an embarrassment…“, the last word of the song. I never saw them live, but I do clearly remember seeing them on The Old Grey Whistle Test, and old Whispering Bob (Harris) saying ‘If that’s the future of rock & roll, then I’m fucking off!’ And fortunately, it was. And the whole glamour of that album sleeve, and the portraits of the five of them inside the gatefold, and the clothes they were wearing… Andy Mackay had these sunburst crepe-heeled Toppers, I think they were called, that I spent months trying to find, and they were fifty quid even then. And you’d nick the poster off the Tube, but you’d have to rip off eight posters in one go, so you ended up with this completely rock-hard Roxy Music poster that you couldn’t roll up under your arm, and you’d try and pin it to your wall but it would keep coming off. All that formative stuff’s so important…