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Baker's Dozen

Just Some Modern Rock Songs: Stuart Murdoch's Favourite Albums
Adrian Lobb , September 4th, 2013 07:02

The Glaswegian indie pop pioneers' frontman picks out his top 13 records


Stevie Wonder - Hotter Than July
This was also from my childhood. I’m getting a little bit older, slightly more conscious of what I’m doing – so in the late 70s you’d dabble with everything on the radio, hover with your finger above the record button during Top Of The Pops. I came from a small seaside town, so there wasn’t a great cultural exchange going on. We were dabbling in Blondie and Bowie, but ‘Master Blaster’ came along and I just got addicted to it. That was the single off this album that came out at the end of 1980. I loved it, played it over and over, and this was one of the first times I marched into town and put good hard cash down on a proper tape. I needed more.

Certainly ‘Master Blaster’ is the greatest thing on it, but at that age, you hoover up everything. If you have made the ultimate investment of hard cash, you get your money’s worth. I played that album to death. I even have a little bit of time for the ballad, for ‘Lately’, which isn’t the worst in the world. And, yes, I loved ‘Happy Birthday’, and I still have a soft spot for it actually! When you are playing with the band it is always somebody’s birthday, and if it is a gig night, there is always the temptation to sing 'Happy Birthday'. Quite often you do and the audience joins in, sometimes Stevie will play the Beatles version, we’ve done ‘Unhappy Birthday’ by The Smiths before, but there was one time it was the PA guy Fudger’s birthday. And I wanted to do the Stevie Wonder version. I don’t normally sing the cover versions, but we learnt it during soundcheck and I was high as a kite, loving singing it. Then after the gig, Fudger said: “It was very nice of you guys, but I was actually outside smoking a cigarette”. He missed his song.

I gave into the darkness not long after buying Hotter Than July. I made my first conscious decision to become affiliated with a movement, which was heavy rock. I was flirting with it around the age of 11 or 12, and gave into it pretty soon and everything got taken over by a sea of black.