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Baker's Dozen

Strange Refuge: Holly Johnson Discusses His Favourite Albums
Ian Wade , December 23rd, 2014 14:26

In our final Baker's Dozen of 2014, Ian Wade talks to the former Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman following the release of Europa, his first solo album in 15 years, about his all-time top 13 LPs


Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
It's got to be Trans-Europe Express really. I was aware of Autobahn and that was like The Beach Boys from outer space, engineered by Conny Plank - that was what they called it in those days, it was a blur between engineering and producing. I think Trans-Europe Express consolidated that futuristic thing, and of course it had a namecheck for David Bowie and Iggy Pop in there, which was an endorsement in some way. Although they were German, they were aware of 'our world'. I think the only other German thing I'd heard of before that were Faust, and the reason I know about them was they brought an album out [The Faust Tapes] and it cost about 15p or something, so everyone bought it.

'The Hall Of Mirrors' is really dark! The album's quite song-y as well. With The Man-Machine, it had the perfect record cover, it was the whole red-ness. Futuristic art deco with a slight Hitler Youth edge to it, a sinister edge. I went down to London one time, down the King's Road - I think it was the week of release - and every single shop was playing it.

However Man-Machine is everybody's album, whereas Trans-Europe Express is a more private album, which wasn't as widely known. I hadn't taken any drugs at the time, but it affected me. That line, "Even the greatest stars dislike themselves in the looking glass", it was all just very atmospheric.