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Baker's Dozen

Mercurial Rev: Richard Coles' Favourite Music
Alex Burrows , April 14th, 2021 08:57

Vicar, musician, broadcaster and ex-Communard, The Reverend Richard Coles tells Alex Burrows how music is still important to belief and why parish choirs are the new punk. Portrait by Tim Anderson.


Prince – ‘Alphabet Street’
I love this record and Prince so much. This came out at the end of the 80s and I listened to it all the time. I like music which is about a concept, the idea of a city. Funnily enough, it’s one of the reasons why my favourite opera by Wagner is Die Meistersinger, which is all about the city of Nuremberg. The music is full of the excitement and bustle of the city. ‘Alphabet Street’ just makes me think about walking down a street somewhere and everything is bubbling up and happening. I love the crazy, haphazard dynamic of it.

For me, Bowie and Prince are the two giants who stand above all the others in pop music. I love their music and they were such interesting people and so inventive and inexhaustibly rich in ideas. Bowie’s a hero of the 70s and Prince of the 80s. I never saw either of them. It never happened; I don’t know why. The song is about the city, for me. It’s about the randomness and haphazardness and the excitement and the electricity, the threat and the promise of people thrown together…