Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Howls From The Soul: Bobby Gillespie’s Favourite Albums

After the release of Primal Scream's eleventh album, Chaosmosis, the singer boils his record collection down to a mean 13, a selection that formed his "own private world" while he was growing up in Glasgow

Photograph courtesy of Sarah Piantadosi

"I love millions of records, but I’m trying to think of ones that had an effect on how Primal Scream made music," enthuses Bobby Gillespie. "Basically, the stuff I listened to when I was a teenager that I know now has shaped the way we make music, which I may not have realised at the start."

For Gillespie, as for so many others in the Baker’s Dozen series, pulling together a list of 13 albums was no small task. The singer has no shortage of influences, spanning funk, dub reggae and soul right the way through to post-punk, psychedelic rock and electronica, such that we might have needed more than ten times the quota to fit everything in.

Over the course of his Baker’s Dozen, Gillespie gets emotional over The Clash, relates how enamoured he is by dub and explains why The Byrds are foundational for Primal Scream.

Beyond this, talking to Gillespie has the feel of a history lesson about the records, all with their story to tell – not just musically but also touching on socio-economic issues, thanks to the incumbent Tory government. In his mind, nothing has changed since the 1970s; if anything, it’s got worse: "It really felt like there was no future – permanent repression, permanent bleakness. But when I look back on those times, they were better then than they are now. I mean that in a nostalgic sense, because the nature of the country has changed in terms of there now being endless wars, deregulating everything, what with public assets all being sold off. Now they’re closing down the libraries and it’s a deliberate ploy to cut off people from self-education. They do not want a well-informed, educated, intelligent, smart, turned-on, astute public population," says Gillespie. "They want backward, dumb-arse, illiterate, easily-guided and manipulated people. That’s what they want."

"So our reaction to that was to start Primal Scream and dream our way out by being creative," says Gillespie, "because as working class kids from Glasgow, our future was being destroyed. As a kid I found the real world intimidating, so rock & roll was my only way of escaping it. It was my own private world that I lost myself in."

Chaosmosis is out now on First International/Ignition Records. Primal Scream play Common People festival in Southampton and Oxford on May 28-29, before touring; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Bobby’s choices, which run in no particular order

First Record

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today