Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives


Kurt Weill – The Threepenny Opera

Like a lot of people of my generation, the first time I heard a Kurt Weill song was The Doors. You go half a lifetime without realising it was written by Brecht and Weill. Recently I went on a journey. I write songs with a guy called Reid Paley. He’s a very less is more, economical songwriter and you know there’s something about him that’s very tin pan alley. He wears a black jacket and a white shirt and has no problem banging out a song. He is not going to use a word like ‘thalossocracy’ in one of his songs. I felt I needed to get into the feel of Threepenny Opera – how has it survived all these years and spawned all these cover versions which are part of the jazz songbook? I really needed to educate myself and listen to that record ten or twenty times to hear the melody and the meter and the drama, what they put together, those dudes back in pre-WW2 Berlin.

They were working really hard and we’re still talking about those records today. I was just enjoying it in and my wife was listening along upstairs. She was doing laundry and I was doing pots and pans. And she said: “I could listen to this all day long, whatever it is.” I don’t speak German so I’m missing a lot outside the English part of the libretto but I still love it.

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