Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Anger Through Grace: Nicky Wire’s Favourite Albums

Following the release of their eleventh LP Rewind The Film, the Manic Street Preachers man scours his record collection for the list to end all lists

One thing you can always say of the Manic Street Preachers – they bloody love a list. To this day their official website carries a ‘Lists’ section proudly and faithfully accounting such essential chart run-downs as the ‘Top Ten Idlewild Songs’, ‘Top Ten Creation Singles’, ‘Top Ten Welsh Rugby No. 8s’ ‘Top Five Cafes In Cardiff’ and, brilliantly, the ‘Top Ten Trumpet Makers’ (number one is Taylor’s if you’re interested). This has always been a band with strong opinions, singularly unafraid to arrange those opinions into a numbered order. It’s frankly weird that it’s taken us so long to pin Nicky Wire down to do Baker’s Dozen.

“I always find these things incredibly hard,” he says, shuffling cards covered with notes, “you realise how much you really loved stuff that sticks with you.” The Manics have always been voracious cultural consumers – each of their eleven albums has been accompanied by relevant quotes from writers, thinkers, films and poems; each of their songs a riot of references, lyrical, musical, political. Their new record, the reflective, melancholy Rewind The Film is practically a Baker’s Dozen itself, musically referencing 70’s Elvis, Rod Stewart, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Scott Walker, Dexys, Steve Albini, Elliott Smith, Sam Cooke and Amy Winehouse, and that’s without the much vaunted appearances by Lucy Rose, Cate Le Bon and Richard Hawley. It bleeds both ways as well – what strikes you most about Wire’s ‘Dozen is how many of these artists have ended up being Manics collaborators. “It’s brilliant isn’t it?” says Wire. “Just to think that some of your dreams come true.” Although, alas, not all of them. “We did write ‘Three Ways To See Despair’ for Morrissey, which we would have loved but we were too scared to send it to him. We’ve always been fine with people saying no, but we thought ‘Fucking hell, I bet he’ll say something really scathing’."

At the end of our chat Wire’s bag is still full of A4 cards scrawled with notes on his favourite records, way beyond the 13 he’s chosen for us here. Typically for the old scholarly culture slut he has revised extensively. “Fucking stonking,” he says to finish. “I could have gone on all day.”

Manic Street Preachers play a show at an as-yet-unconfirmed venue in Ireland tonight, followed by Manchester tomorrow and Glasgow on Sunday; head to their website for tickets. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through Nicky’s choices

First Record

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