Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Peculiar Relationships: Neil Gaiman’s Favourite Albums

Following this week's release of his live collaborative album with Amanda Palmer, the fantasy and science fiction author picks out the records that have most inspired and informed his writing

Photograph courtesy of Wayne Hoerchel

“What an odd list,” muses Neil Gaiman, his long, black limbs bundled into a low, plush sofa in Brighton’s comfortingly old-world Grand Hotel as rain lashes down outside, scrolling perplexedly through his choices on his phone. Odd, of course, is perfectly normal for Gaiman, who has today appeared, talking, appropriately enough, about his first published book, a tome on Duran Duran (the band, not the villain from Barbarella). As we wind through his wonderfully, hypnotically narrated choices, people cast furtive glances at this dark lord of comics, fiction and fantasy. For Neil, though, it’s a nice chance to get away from the day job and talk music, with a very idiosyncratic, personal list, that avoids obvious choices in favour of personal stories.

His marriage to former Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer has brought Gaiman’s own interest in the world of music back into the spotlight a little more; this week, he’s released a collaborative live album with Palmer. His obsession with punk, post-punk and rock, though, is actually core and formative to his whole career, as his discussion of early favourites will reveal. He was in a punk band as a teenager, and his love of the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed led him to name his daughter after Warhol muse Holly Woodlawn, named in ‘Walk On The Wild Side’. His work isn’t riddled with references to rock so much as totally infused with it; the sense of dark, slightly seedy outsider glamour and grandness that permeates his most famous work, the Sandman comics is a world that could only have been created by a man raised on Bowie, and in particular, Lou Reed, whose Metal Machine Music was Gaiman’s soundtrack of choice while writing the wanderings through Hell of ‘Preludes And Nocturnes’. Morpheus’ soubriquet ‘Prince Of Stories’ is also lifted from The Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Set Free’, as Gaiman revealed in his recent, wonderful tribute to Reed. Yet his picks in our Baker’s Dozen for both Reed and the VU are not, by his own admission, their greatest works. “It is that weird thing,” he explains, “where you can move along and go, well, something else is greater, something else is bigger and more important, but this one…”

These ones. These ones are Neil’s ones.

An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer is out now via 8ft. Records. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Neil’s choices

First Record

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