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Baker's Dozen

A Tower Of Songs: Sylvie Simmons' Favourite Music
Manu Ekanayake , August 13th, 2020 09:48

Like a gamekeeper turned poacher, rock journalist Sylvie Simmons has a new album of her own music out. Here she guides Manu Ekanayake through 13 lifelong inspirations, from Leonard Cohen to Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and Black Sabbath


Black Sabbath – Paranoid
I chose that one because I hadn't been a huge fan of like super heavy rock. I loved Led Zeppelin for example, but they were just one of the many musical flavours that just kept coming along during the 60s and 70s. You know, it felt like everyone woke up and there was another band just placed in front of you: you'd hear it on pirate radio or on Radio Luxembourg and another new delight would come along. The heaviest bands I'd been to see or heard before then were people like Fleetwood Mac when they were a still a blues band or Ten Years After, or Led Zeppelin, so this was the first time that I'd heard that really flooding, factory-floor kind of metal and I loved it, but I was a bit ashamed to love it. I hid the album in my collection. I didn't get the first album, I guess it was a second one with ‘Iron Man’ and those things that I kind of got into but it would turn out that metal would become quite a big part of my writing career because of being in LA at the time when the big metal thing happened. Tthe first time I went on the road with a band was when, back in 1978, Sounds sent out with Black Sabbath. It was the last tour Ozzy had before they fired him. He knew he was going at the end of the tour so it was a really interesting time to be with them and I got to talk to Ozzy a lot. As a person he is very fragile, but funny, and that [reality] TV programme is pretty accurate in terms of their house, where I went and saw some very funny things happening there. He was a sort of strange, interesting guy, but slightly lost. After that, I became somebody who would interview him regularly. But my only credentials for writing about metal were I that I had the album Paranoid by Sabbath in '78!