The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


The Clash - The Clash
I wasn’t really a punk. I was about 16 when that album came out. But I was living above Maples, a carpet shop near Tottenham Court Road, and it was right by Capital Radio, and I remember suddenly these 14-foot letters appeared in spraypaint on Capital‘s windows, ‘THE CLASH’! And there was a thing in Melody Maker, where I heard about this club called The Roxy at Covent Garden, so I went down there. Me and my friends already looked a bit skinhead-y, suedehead-y, and I had this mohair suit, but the connection was that the punks had straight trousers in this world of flares and Kevin Keegan hairdos. Nobody was wearing Vivienne Westwood clothing: there was a guy in a dinner jacket painted pink, and someone else in a boiler suit they’d made themselves, and it was really DIY. The tribalism between mods and skinheads and punks hadn’t really started at that time, and it hadn‘t fractured into a million pieces yet. In 1977, if you had short hair, and you were prepared to have someone call you a fucking cunt in your ear for it, you were in. I saw a band called Eater at the Roxy, whose average age I later found out was 14. And I first heard The Clash’s ‘1977’ and ‘White Riot’ on record there. I felt like I was at the advent of something new. I liked punk, and I liked the attitude, but by 1978 we had our own thing going. But I always had a soft spot for The Clash, because they had the reggae thing, like us, and there was a bit of soul in their music, for want of a better word. Joe Strummer definitely had a bit of soul in his voice. Every fucking track on that album’s brilliant, but my favourite’s ‘London’s Burning’. And they were fucking brilliant live. And we [2 Tone bands] wouldn’t have had anywhere to play if it wasn’t for punk. You had pub rock informing punk, and punk informing us, and The Specials were a direct amalgam of punk and ska, and we realised that the faster we played, the more likely we could get the crowd jumping up and down, which was a legacy of punk. All these different movements, fracturing then coming back together. You’d need 60,000 sociologists to untangle those couple of years.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.