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Baker's Dozen

Want 13: Rufus Wainwright's Favourite Music
Barnaby Smith , March 11th, 2020 13:32

Ahead of the release of his new album Rufus Wainwright guides Barnaby Smith through his favourite music, from Leonard Cohen to Eurythmics and his abiding love of opera


Leonard Cohen - The Future
The Future came out at around the same moment I discovered Maria Callas, and I got into it somewhat, but it was really Martha who was affected most by that record when it was released, along with a few of my friends. I could see it having its effect on the world around me. But I didn't really understand it for a long time, and then years later when we did the Leonard Cohen tribute shows in Australia, which were filmed for the I'm Your Man film, I really started looking at his material, and I realised that record was so seminal in his career. It was really when he became Leonard Cohen, in a lot of ways, in terms of how he ended up. I can pinpoint that transition as a useful guide in terms of my own career, where you hit a certain age and you have to kind of reinvent yourself – not totally, but you have to settle into a theme, and Leonard really did that with The Future so successfully. I think there's other albums that do that: Paul Simon with Graceland, Neil Young with Harvest Moon, so that's what I admire the most about that record.