The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Constant Companions: Matt Johnson's Favourite Albums
Jeremy Allen , October 27th, 2021 07:31

From a teenage encounter with Pere Ubu in a Wardour Street club, to the comforting effect of classic reggae and his love of Marc Bolan, The The’s Matt Johnson takes Jeremy Allen through his thirteen favourite records


Tim Buckley – Greetings From L.A.

The first time I heard this was about 79. There was a great interview on the radio with John Lydon who'd recently left the Sex Pistols, and he was starting out with Public Image. And Johnny Rotten as he was known then was public enemy number one, and very controversial and confrontational. And then Lydon played this incredible selection of music. Everybody thought he would just be playing punk or whatever, but he was a brilliant interviewee, very insightful and intelligent, and he played a wonderful selection.

I'd never heard of Tim Buckley before and one of the tracks he played was called ‘Sweet Surrender’. And my brother and I were both blown away by his voice. We were like, ‘Oh my God, who is this guy?’ And then we immediately got the album, Greetings from LA, and it became one of those albums. Buckley's voice was just so mesmerising and soulful with this incredible range. And his phrasing was incredible. And he became my favourite white male singer after John Lennon. And he was a big influence on my own singing; I don't sound like him, I've a very different voice, but he inspired me incredibly with just the way that he used the voice as another instrument. He went off in a soul funk direction and changed his band around and it definitely became something else. The lyrics were sexually explicit, but they're self-deprecating at the same point. He alienated a lot of his older, more folky audience, but then, by the time I discovered him, he was already dead.