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Baker's Dozen

Maximum Drama: Lee Ranaldo's 13 Favourite Albums
Nick Hutchings , November 8th, 2017 10:01

From the peak of CBGB new wave to the group he calls 'the defining band of the 90s', former Sonic Youth man Lee Ranaldo takes Nick Hutchings through the thirteen albums that shaped his life


Talking Heads - Talking Heads: 77

In the late 70s, I was moving to New York and I was inspired by all this stuff coming out of CBGB’s, and Talking Heads was one of the hugest influences at that time. I started to read about them, and I guess when I heard that record I wasn’t really sure what I thought of it. Some weeks later they came through Binghamton, New York where I was in University.

This was the first tour they did after Jerry Harrison joined the band, it must have been late ‘77 or early ‘78 they were still touring in a station wagon, I remember seeing them drive up and they were playing this same little pub out the edge of the campus that my band were playing.

As soon as I saw them it was like everything clicked. This was one of the most impressive concerts I’d ever seen and all of a sudden their music became super important to me. I’ve been listening to a lot of their records recently. I was going to choose Fear Of Music because that’s the record I’ve been listening to again right now and I’ve always thought that was their obscure third record but I didn’t realise it had ‘Life During Wartime’ on it and stuff like that and ‘Cities’, but they were such an incredible, experimental band.

That period of music –Talking Heads and Elvis Costello and Television and Devo’s first record, those records all seemed to define a new period of music for me and it wasn’t exactly punk, it wasn’t ‘God Save The Queen’ or ‘Tommy Gun’ or whatever The Clash were coming out with (which was also really strong), it just struck me as art music for the era.