Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

1. FreeFire Water

I was 16. I saw Free so many times, and Family. Once I saw guitarists that was it, I was sold. I saw Free at the Lyceum, they were kids, teenagers, 17, 18, my age, just beautiful. After Free I discovered the Marquee, and going to gigs – that was life-changing. I had money because of the acting, so I could go to a lot. I was more loaded than a lot of people my age, it was embarrassing. I was more loaded than my dad! I was sent off at 14 to live in Soho on my own, above the Shaftesbury Theatre on Greek Street, where Hair the musical was on. I was very excited by Hair. I really liked Soho because I was a bit of a thief – I always had a thing for nicking things, I’d see something and… magpie. I wouldn’t say I was an Artful Dodger but I was a bit of a nightmare really, uncontrollable. Carnaby Street was really in its heyday, it was swinging bloody London, but I was so young I didn’t really know what was swinging and what was not. The Vietnam war was going on and I’d follow the marches and collect the banners everybody threw away and put them on the bedroom walls, but I didn’t quite understand. So gigs, and then I discovered the music papers, which was a big thing. There was a one-legged gentleman who I’ve always remembered, a news vendor on the corner of Tottenham Court Road by the station, and you’d get all the papers straight from Fleet Street really early. I was a regular there. It is interesting to think of these records, Free and Led Zeppelin, and men singing about lemon dripping down your thigh and that we’ve got away from that. It’s cock rock, and that’s what I used to like, these masculine men. It was probably because I wasn’t like that.

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