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Baker's Dozen

Is This Music? Norman Blake's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , July 28th, 2021 13:06

From the overlooked influence of Throbbing Gristle to an enduring love of The Velvet Underground, via Broadcast, The Rolling Stones and more, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake picks the thirteen records that shaped him


The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers

I was thinking about the famous Brian Eno quote about how The Velvet Underground sold only 10,000 copies but each of those people who bought them formed a band, and the first band to reference them in that was probably The Modern Lovers. Jonathan Richman went to see them a lot and I think he knew them as well. And of course, this album is produced by John Cale, and Jonathan then famously disowned the record. Which is sad, in a way, because I think it’s an incredible album.

You can absolutely hear The Velvet Underground influence in there but thematically, the songs are quite different and they hark back to Richman’s childhood. He wasn’t much past being a teenager when he wrote these songs. There’s kind of a wise head on young shoulders.

I came to this a little later because the first Jonathan Richman record I heard was Rock & Roll With The Modern Lovers and my good friend Duglas Stewart of BMX Bandits was a massive fan and he had that album. And so I went from there and obviously went back and discovered this one and being a young punk rocker, this was right up my street. Being a Velvet Underground fan, it struck a chord with me.