Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

4. Roy WoodBoulders

I’m on a personal mission to convince everyone that Roy Wood is one of the greatest songwriters this country has ever had. Before the Move, he was one of the leading lights in the Brumbeat scene in the early 1960s in a band called Mike Sheridan And The Nightriders, which was fantastic. This was his first solo album, which came out at the height of Wizzard’s fame [Wizzard’s Christmas perennial, ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ came out in the December of the same year]. Roy played every instrument, wrote every line, arranged it all, recorded himself, and produced it too, and there are pictures of Roy playing every single instrument on the back if you’re not convinced he did, including a cello that’s probably better than the one he had with ELO. It’s just so imaginative and unusual and musical. He created this version of Phil Spector’s wall of sound and he never gets plaudits for it. He should be as praised as much as people do Mark Ronson!

If you had to pick one track, it’d be ‘Miss Clarke And The Computer’ – a tragic love song sung by a computer that has been taken apart and is trying to express its feelings in its computerised voice. It gets me every time. I’ve also picked this because I saw Roy playing a few years ago in this town called Bilston in the West Midlands – I convinced one of my friends from back home to come with me, and we had this terrifying trip to get there, getting lost in this industrial estate then turned on Radio 4 to stop us getting scared and there was a play on, and this voice just said “MURDER!” I have never been so happy than to get to a gig, and it was great, and at the end, in the venue, I was waiting and waiting and waiting hoping that my idol would come out like a mad teenager. When he did, and then I asked if he’d sign my copy of Boulders, he was really surprised. His eyes lit up! He’s my hometown hero.

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