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Baker's Dozen

The Sounds Of Planet Earth: Nick Rhodes Of Duran Duran’s Favourite Albums
John Freeman , April 15th, 2013 08:16

As his long-standing side-project TV Mania finally releases an album, Bored With Prozac And The Internet?, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes reveals the 13 albums that changed his perceptions about music


David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
I would say that David Bowie had the biggest single influence on all music that came out of the time period when I started at the beginning of the 1980s. And all other bands in that modern music zone were influenced most by David Bowie. Throughout the seventies we could safely say that he pretty much owned it. If The Beatles owned the sixties, Bowie owned the seventies. I could have picked any one of his albums. I thought about Hunky Dory which I have played most, or Ziggy Stardust... which was the first album I ever bought. I thought about Station To Station which changed things as his influences morphed and then the whole Berlin trilogy which were extraordinary records. I decided on Aladdin Sane as I think it is the ultimate glam album.

Musically, it was fuelled with seventies energy. Mick Ronson’s guitar work is spectacular, the tracks all have an anxiety to them – songs like ‘Cracked Actor’ and ‘Panic In Detroit’ really had an edginess. The singles ‘The Jean Genie’ and ‘Drive-In Saturday’ were probably not even the best tracks on the album – ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ is my favourite track on the album – but had an attitude. You could taste the air they were recorded in. It was the album that turned Bowie into an absolute superstar worldwide. I played it a lot when I was a kid and it was one of those records that made me want to be in a band.

Also, it’s by far the greatest cover of the 1970s. The image of the flash across Bowie’s face really resonates. It’s held up – I see that the V&A museum are having a big show of Bowie’s career and memorabilia (and so they should) and the image they are using to advertise it is the front cover of Aladdin Sane.

Were you personally influenced by Bowie’s sense of fashion and make-up?

Absolutely. Stylistically, David Bowie influenced an entire generation that came after him, including punks - who all loved Bowie. It’s the DNA we all followed. We grew up in that and we continued it. The glam period was fantastic. It was only a few years but it was very important to me personally image-wise. They were leading the way and they looked like rock stars should look.

Duran Duran played some shows with Bowie on his Glass Spider tour. How was that?

Well, we got to know David early on. It’s quite surreal that you are listening to these records in your bedroom and then a few years later you are meeting the guy at your shows. We did spend some time with him and did some shows with him. I’m very fond of David. I’ve heard two of his new songs and I’m glad he is out there making records. He has done a lot for music and changed people’s view on art. A true innovator, although David does steal, we have to say that, but he steals well.