Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

4. Big StarThird/Sister Lovers

I had always overlooked Big Star. I had never really liked them and then a year-and-a-half ago I moved to Los Angeles and it was a case of me and my partner starting our record collection again as we couldn’t bring records over. He picked up this record really cheaply at a flea market or something and played it over and over at the apartment. I remember asking, "Oh my god, what the hell is this?" When I found out it was Big Star I had had absolutely no idea that’s what they sounded like.

I think I am right in saying that Third possibly wasn’t very well received and the production on it, which for me is one of its charms, is reassuringly bad. Even so, it is my favourite of all of their records.

There is a playfulness about the songs; ‘Kangaroo’ sounds like it has drums on it being played by someone else in a different room who is playing along to a different song. It was those elements that appealed to me when I initially heard the record. But then it has some of the most absolutely incredible songs, like ‘Nightime’ and ‘Take Care’ – which is one of my all-time favourite songs. It’s one of those records that every single song that comes on that you just think "this one’s amazing" and then, "No, this one is even more amazing" and, "I want to do a cover of this". I still think I am in the period of wanting to listen to it over and over and I have to stop myself so I don’t get sick of it. It’s been a wonderful record to – what’s the word? Sorry, I’m thinking in Welsh today – dissect and really take in.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Primal Scream, Ed Harcourt
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