The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Coming Back To Beauty: Kevin Rowland's Favourite Music
Fergal Kinney , August 19th, 2020 08:16

Kevin Rowland guides Fergal Kinney through the songs that saved him, from self-discovery as a musician through the saving grace of music in recovery from drug addiction. Rowland portrait by Eliza Hill.


Elvis Presley – 'Can't Help Falling In Love With You'
It was coming up to my eighth birthday and I must have heard it on the radio. I'd wanted to see Elvis in Blue Hawaii, and I'd seen pictures of him. I'd never seen him on TV or anything like that, and we didn't have any of his songs at home. So, it was my birthday, and I went to the shop a few days before, they had a rack with the charts all in order, and there were plenty of copies of Elvis - I thought great. I got ten bob for my birthday, and the single was six and eight - six shillings and eight pence. Unfortunately when I went on my birthday, they were all gone! I ended up buying fucking 'Wimoweh' by Karl Denver! My old man was like - what are you buying that for? It's not even in English! But I really loved 'Can't Help Falling in Love With You' - I couldn't believe how good it was. The way he looked, he looked so warm and kind. Full of love. At that point you would have just moved form Ireland to Wolverhampton? Yeah, we lived in different places in Wolverhampton, and it was quite bleak, you know? A bit scary. We'd been in the countryside in Ireland and then we moved to this industrialised town, terraced streets. I remember my parents going out for the afternoon and leaving me and my brother, and the local kids terrorising us, trying to get into the house. They were climbing up the windows and my brother was trying to fight them. Before too long, though, my brother got friendly with them and became the leader of the gang. That was quite exciting - I'd beg to go with them. They'd take me on shoplifting expeditions - nothing serious, just stealing sweets, but it was very exciting. They had this den, there was a lot of derelict buildings around at the time, and in the middle of this derelict area of bricks they had a den - and in there they had everything. They had chocolate bars, they had crisps, they had pop.