Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives


The Heptones – Peace & Harmony

They’re a vocal group and started back in the heyday of very early reggae records. It’s the Jamaican parallel universe of rock & roll. It echoes rock & roll, R&B, Motown, soul. It has all the vocabulary of great 50s rock & roll. It’s pop music. It has this work ethic and immediacy: “We’re just making records, and making records, and making records.” It’s like surf music. It’s guys around the world in cheapo studios just digging deep.

I love the vocalising of The Heptones. Even later records. I always loved them. I’m a sucker for the 60s records. All of their early records are singles. The first time they got compiled was probably the 70s. There’s one song called ‘School Girls’ that I almost covered a few years ago [Black essentially covers it for the Quietus there and then].

It’s so heartfelt and heartbroken. It’s like, it’s like, it’s like when I listen to ‘The Great Pretender’ [sings] “Oh yes! I’m the great pretender…” The Platters were a lot smoother than The Heptones. But The Heptones have that beautiful harmonising and soulfulness. Whenever I hear The Heptones I think, I wish I could sing that good. They do an amazing version of ‘Knock On Wood’. They fuckin’ own it, man! It’s already a big hit for whoever the fuck recorded it. They sell it, they own it, they wear the hat.

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