Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives


Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti

In my teenage years, everyone was into Zeppelin and I was into punk rock. As a lyricist, I wasn’t really comfortable with all the Hobbit, Tolkien kind of stuff, or the "baby, baby, baby" stuff, so I was always down on Zeppelin. I was in my late 20s before I really got into them, I was probably 30, even – it took that long. I was flirting with them a little bit, then I saw that performance from the 1970s in Madison Square Garden on DVD. They’re standing really close to each other, playing rock & roll, and you’re like: "Led Zeppelin, that’s a real band, holy shit." You realise those songs didn’t come down from a mountain, they had to actually write them. Physical Graffiti is, I think, their best album and it seems like it’s the most rockin’, they’ve got that groove going. It’s got a cool cover, that building in New York, and it’s all a little less Lord of the Rings, a little more street: it’s the tenement building, rather than the forest. I have friends who are high school teachers now and they’re like, man, Zeppelin is still king. Zeppelin still speaks to the hormones of 14-year-old boys. The guys in the Hold Steady are super into Zeppelin – our guitar player Steve, he’ll talk to you about the upholstery on their second plane. These are real conversations he has.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Lord Spikeheart, Tom Ravenscroft
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