Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

5. Lou ReedTransformer

I only had it on tape recorded off record. I just thought it was unbelievable. I don’t know whether it’s timeless, because it puts me back in that room more than any other album. If I put it on I’m 13 again and there’s a certain dappled light coming in, and it’s spring, and it’s early summer and it gets me every time. It’s genius. Great production, and best backing vocals in the history of time on ‘Satellite Of Love’ by Bowie and Ronson. ‘Andy’s Chest’ I’ve never been all that hot on but the lyrics are amazing.

Bowie and Ronson’s production was crucial to this album. Because Lou would have come in with those songs, the way he plays them now – he doesn’t even know what the tune is anymore: [robotic voice] “It’s just a perfect. Day. I’m glad. I spent it. With you.” And that’s what he would have sung to Bowie and Ronson. And Ronson would have gone: [thick Yorkshire accent] “here Dave, what the fuckin’ ‘ell have we got ourselves into?” And Dave’s probably gone: “Er, yeah, nice work… Some semblance of a melody there, but I’m afraid it’s gonna have to go like this…” He sounds like Stephen fuckin’ Hawking sometimes, Lou does… It’s utterly brilliant – forever. You sing these songs to yourself whether you’re doing the crossword or watching the telly – that’s the measure of ’em. And I love the gift of great lyrics. You can have the greatest tune in the world but if the lyrics are crap, forget it.

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