Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Reel To Reel Cacophony: Jim Kerr Of Simple Minds’ Favourite Albums

With their sixteenth LP Big Music just out, the Glaswegian new wave veterans' frontman gives Mark Eglinton a Baker's Dozen of his top 13 formative influences

Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock

The Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield is on the record as being a massive fan of, in particular, the first four albums released by Simple Minds, beginning with Life In A Day in 1979 and culminating with 1981’s commercial fuck you one-two of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. "Simple Minds were like crystalline gods to me", were his exact words and by my calculations Bradfield would have been eleven at the end of this distinct phase of the Minds’ development. A decade or so previously, Jim Kerr was embarking on his own musical pilgrimage from a housing estate on the south side of Glasgow.

"I lived in a high-rise block in Toryglen and while I didn’t have any older brothers, there was couple of older guys that lived above me that, while I was getting into the stuff I was listening to, would also put me on to Genesis or Van der Graaf Generator or Syd Barrett or whatever." Kerr explains.

Any of us who are genuinely into music can relate to that dizzying overload of information that comes with having older brothers or sisters or older friends that were a step or two ahead of us in terms of knowledge. Their need to discover was voracious and us, a few years younger but no less enthusiastic, just got sucked along with them in this exciting vortex of new bands and scenes. The result is that, more often than not, the music that you liked when you were a teenager lasts the distance. There may be regrettable diversions along the way, sure (like getting married for the first time and naively pretending to your new wife that you really never had a Bongripper and Alabama Thunderpussy phase) but if you were, let’s say, a Springsteen fan when you were twelve, chances are you still are when you’re fifty. Jim Kerr’s exposure to music was sudden and hard-hitting. Within a six-month period of massive exposure, the dye was set and now, forty years later, it’s time to pour it all into a list of just thirteen. "As a thirteen or fourteen-year-old kid," Kerr explains, "you’re life is changing fast as it ever is, but when I heard all these bands over this period of just a few months, things really were – to use that well-worn cliché – never quite the same again."

Simple Minds’ new album Big Music is out now via their own label. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Jim’s choices

First Record

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