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Baker's Dozen

Evidently Chicken Supreme: John Cooper Clarke's Favourite Songs
Alex Burrows , November 18th, 2020 11:32

Performance poet, style icon and broadcaster John Cooper Clarke tells Alex Burrows about his most-loved songs of all time and growing up during the birth of rock & roll. Portrait by Paul Wolfgang Webster.


The Ronettes – ‘Be My Baby’
Again, it could have been any of their records. That’s a sexy voice. Of all the girl groups, they’ve always been my favourites. Them and The Chantelles. There’s just a level of pain in their voice that’s irresistible. The quintessential Spector wall of sound? Absolutely. It never made more sense than with The Ronettes. Did he overdo it? I don’t think so, because Veronica’s voice really cuts through. It’s not any louder than anything else going on, it’s just occupying another sonic area, if that’s a way of putting it. It just cuts through. I’ll tell you who has a similar quality: Lou Reed. It’s nothing to do with volume, it’s something to do with pitch. No other instrument occupies that space. It’s got a sonic position that can’t be cancelled out. I went to see Veronica a couple of years ago at the Queen Elizabeth Hall for her solo show and she’s just as good now as ever. A great singer and a beautiful person, I’m sure.