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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


Prince - Around The World In A Day
I've always thought that this should be regarded as up there with Purple Rain and Sign O' The Times among his masterpieces.

Yes – of all his albums this is the one that got me. I admire him to the nth degree, no matter what, but that record just captured me wholeheartedly when it was released, and I must have listened to it at least 2000 times. My dad was living in England at the time and it was really here that I fell into the chasm of that journey. I've so many memories of my dad taking me to these really dodgy carnivals that they would have in the suburbs, with guys with tattoos operating these iffy lifts, and I would be listening to 'Raspberry Beret' or 'Around the World in a Day' on my Walkman. I'm a lucky guy; that was a fun period.

Did you ever cross paths with Prince?

I have only two Prince stories. I never really met him, but I know for a fact that during one of his shows he exclaimed at one point, "It's a pity there aren't more artists now like Rufus Wainwright." He also named a few other people, none of whom I can remember – but he did mention me, which was amazing. And then the other story I have is that I finally did see him live, in Milwaukee. I had to leave after about 10 songs because it was too good. It was so impressive that I was overwhelmed by it, and it was an interesting feeling. He was almost too good for his own good.