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Baker's Dozen

Never Gonna Give 'Em Up: Rick Astley's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , June 13th, 2018 05:41

The absolutely charming Rick Astley sits down with Colm McAuliffe to tell him about his favourite records, from Roxy to Biffy Clyro and Tori Amos, taking in his enduring love of pop and prog along the way


Al Green – Greatest Hits
I felt bad about including compilations or greatest hits but if I'm honest, there the ones I go to. And I could say that about Elton John – sometimes you just want to hear the really big hits. Certain albums do stick with you forever but I'm a bit more attuned to the big, big singles. Maybe it's the way I grew up but also it's the initiation I had into my own hits. Even though I'm the youngest of four and grew up around a lot of prog rock albums – in fact, I know Yes off by heart. When Rick Wakeman played Hampton Court Palace a few years ago, he said I'm gonna do the whole of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, I bought a dozen tickets immediately! Because I knew my brother, sisters, partners would all want to go. It was bonkers and amazing. I could have gone full prog rock to be honest [with this baker's dozen selection]!

Sorry – what were we talking about? Ah yes, Al Green! My sister and brothers were my entry point for music. I would have listened to quite a bit of Bowie when I was a kid and remember being quite a bit frightened by him – I couldn't work this guy out. One minute he looks like an alien and he just looked a bit odd and also some of the songs were odd – I didn't know what he was on about at all. When someone changed his whole persona the whole time at the same time I'm beginning to look at girls at the same time and then wondering is Bowie a girl? What is he? He confused me! But I definitely got to know a lot of music simply because it was just on in the house. We had one record player – I wanted the Jungle Book album but that wasn't going to happen!

There's a track on my album all about having two older brothers and an older sister and it's called 'The Good Old Days' and I mention things like Rick Wakeman and lots of other bands and I also remember my brother John not letting me touch his albums!. My sister took me to see [my first gig which was] Camel when I was ten years old. Weirder than that, I was on tour, thirteen or fourteen years later in Japan and myself and the road crew were in the lounge sharing our first gig experiences. So it goes around and around each person and I'm thinking and shuddering 'they're not gonna believe me, not gonna believe me' until I say it: "Camel, Manchester Free Trade Hall." Two of the crew immediately jump up: "I did the sound at that gig" says the first! "I did the projection at that gig!", says the second! It literally turned something on in me. They had this massive, huge screen behind their gigs – they had this album called Mirage and another one called Snow Goose and you had these images of the pyramids and what have you. As a kid I did not know what was going on, it was another universe. Although to be honest, those projections were probably a bit naïve compared to [what you can experience] today.

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