Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

7. Chuck BerryAfter School Session

I used to I live up in Willesden Green, up the road from the library where they had a record section, which was a very odd mix of really popular stuff, an odd little pocket of Irish music (there was a big Irish community there), and lots of blues and old rock and roll records as well. Chuck Berry is someone that, when you grew up with rock and roll, was almost ubiquitous throughout my childhood. I remember borrowing an album, I cannot say for sure whether it was this album, thinking, ‘I’ve heard of Chuck Berry I’ll take this one out today’, and being quite surprised. I probably knew ‘Maybellene’, but that song ‘Brown Eyed Handsome Man’, I didn’t know that and I love that song. To write songs that have a real sense of humour about them, I thought was just really interesting.

I can remember borrowing a John Lee Hooker album and I thought that was amazing, but it is very much one tone. It was interesting with Chuck Berry that there was a little bit more diversity for an album that was incredibly well known. There’s something about rock and roll music as well. I used to watch a lot of old films that had people jitterbugging and rock and roll dancing, and I never really experienced that. All the dancing I’d ever done in my life, you don’t hold each other, you don’t dance together in that way. You might bang into each other occasionally, but that’s it. I can’t remember whether it was on a cross channel ferry or something ridiculous, but I just remember being in this scenario where they were playing all this old rock and roll music and loads of people just ended up dancing together doing that. I thought, wow, this is actually really fucking sexy. Like, I’ve just started dancing with this person, but being thrown around and in that way is quite an aphrodisiac. I could see why they banned this stuff back in the day.

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