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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


Talking Heads - Remain In Light
I saw Talking Heads as a kid at Birmingham Barbarella’s. They were about to release Talking Heads: 77. They were quirky and I didn’t know so much about them but they were out of New York, so it was interesting. Anything out of New York I would just buy, whether it was Richard Hell And The Voidoids, Patti Smith, the CBGB scene or Blondie. I loved Blondie and think they are one of the most underrated bands ever – so many great songs, the irony of the lyrics and Debbie’s voice and style.

I put Talking Heads in because I think their sense and appetite for experimentation is pretty extraordinary. All of their records have got something on them which was so original. I love the Fear Of Music album but I think the masterpiece is Remain In Light which I suspect Brian Eno had a rather large hand in. Either way, that Byrne-Eno combination worked brilliantly together. The album had the surprise hit single on it – ‘Once In A Lifetime’ – and that again was so unique and had that quirky sense of humour in the video. David Byrne really captured an aspect of America that nobody else did. To me, Talking Heads were the great American band of the eighties. There were lots of other bands that were good – The Cars wrote some great songs – but Talking Heads’ use of percussion, their use of African music and Byrne’s lyrics were so special. For me, he is one of the best lyricists out there.

A lot of the lyrics on that album are in a ‘stream of consciousness’ style. Did that have an impact on Duran Duran? I’m specifically recalling hours spent trying to fathom out the lyrics on Seven And The Ragged Tiger as a 13-year-old.

Ha ha. You’d have to ask Simon [Le Bon]. Simon likes stream of consciousness – you’ve just got to find the stream first. David Byrne paints fantastic pictures with his lyrics. I’m a fan because I think they were the most inventive American band of their time and made something that nobody else was doing.