Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

10. MagazineReal Life

I try and tell people about the whole punk thing, how it came about, the excitement of it and the effect it had. I still glow inside thinking about it. But it was very much a meteor. It came and went so fast. A gazillion copy bands appeared overnight. But then, as the formula seemed to run out of juice and just as you’re wondering what’s going to come next, here comes Howard Devoto. We knew him from the Buzzcocks of course and that charming single that they had, but I just wasn’t expecting the sound of Magazine. I remember Paul Morley did a review of Real Life in NME. The effect of the review was like what used to happen with the classic 70s bands and it had real impact. I just thought: "I’m dying to hear this."

A night later, they had them on the … Whistle Test and they played, if I remember rightly, ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ and ‘Shot By Both Sides’. It really was startling. A couple of nights later still, they started their tour at Tiffany’s in Edinburgh and Charlie and I hitchhiked through. Well, it was like punk had never happened. The level of sophistication and the sound of John McGeoch playing John Barry-type melodies in combination with Devoto himself who was prowling around like a cat on that tiny, two-foot high Tiffany’s stage, made it really something to behold. They were right on top of us and here was a new world was about to open up…

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Michael Head
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