Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Reinventions Of The Near Future: James Dean Bradfield’s Favourite LPs

With their Holy Bible shows just announced, the Manic Street Preachers frontman talks Emily Mackay through his all-time favourite albums

The Manic Street Preachers’ hop-happy singer-guitarist James Dean Bradfield serves up his Baker’s Dozen for us on a doubly momentous day. Not only is the Scottish referendum vote furiously underway as we speak, but it’s the day before the band are due to record their Mastertapes session of songs from The Holy Bible for BBC Radio 4. James seems a little antsy about the prospect, with a now-confirmed run of gigs which will see the band playing the album, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, in its entirety at this point not announced. "I’m still spooked about doing it, because… I know what it’s like to try and sing ‘Mausoleum’, and it was hard when I was 24," he says. "The bridges in ‘Mausoleum’ have no concept of punctuation, health, the bodily organ called the lungs. I’m sure, inside, I’m nearly converted to the idea, but still having big doubts about it", though he later adds: "Nicky Wire’s three-line whip will work".

The BBC Session, though, presents problems more practical than existential. "We’ve had a problem trying to come up with the list of stuff we’re going to play," James explains, "because we started rehearsing ‘Yes’, and then, y’know, of course, ‘For sale? Dumb cunts, same dumb questions…’, ‘Oh, here we go, I can’t sing that lyric…’. You’ve got ‘cock’ all the way through the lyric… ‘You want a girl so tear off his cock’… So I said, ‘OK, let’s do "Ifwhiteamerica…"’. ‘Compton, Harlem, a pimp fucked a priest’… and I was like, ‘OK, we can’t do that one…’. So there’s a good clue as to what songs we won’t be playing because – some of the expletives are very intrinsic to the mood of the song."

And as for the week’s other big event, James kicks off his list by righting some musical wrongs committed against Caledonia. "There’s something which has been written out of music history," he fumes, "and that’s that Scotland – from around 1978/9 to ’84 – just ruled the fucking world. Wiped the floor with England, Wales and Ireland. You had, off the top of my head, The Associates, Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera, The Skids, Simple Minds, Big Country. Need I go on? Scotland, for a seven-year period, dominated the post-punk world. There’s never been a book about it; there’s never been a Mojo piece about it…" Uh-oh, we’ve got him started…

Futurology, the Manics’ latest record, is out now via Columbia, while tickets for the Holy Bible shows go on sale this Friday, September 26, on the band’s website. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through James’ choices

First Record

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