Jim Kerr (Simple Minds): 5 Albums That Changed My Life
You may know Scottish rock band Simple Minds for their 1985 single “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” a.k.a. “The Breakfast Club Song,” but the band has a simply stacked discography, their latest release being 2018′s Walk Between Worlds.
Coming off that album’s release, lead singer Jim Kerr dropped by TIDAL HQ to talk about some records that shaped him, most procured as a young teen. “At the age of 13, I got the first job, after school job. It wasn’t the most glamorous thing I’d ever done; it was cleaning the back shop of a butcher,” he told TIDAL. “The good news was that they paid me five pounds per week and an album then cost £1.20. So I was rich!”
Check out some of the records he spent his spoils on below.
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T. Rex, Electric Warrior
That record, some might say, heralded the beginning of glam rock. Our equivalent of The Ed Sullivan Show was Top of the Pops — Thursday, it would reflect the charts — the whole nation would listen in and Marc Bolan came on with this kind of cosmic blues. He was androgynous before anyone knew what androgynous meant. He had the glitter when everyone else was [wearing] faded denim. He was reaching for something else. It literally blew my mind. I thought, ‘This is mine.’
That was the first album that I bought and remember coming back with this thing that I thought was slightly dangerous and sexy and all that stuff — before I even knew what that meant. It felt like I had something that my parents didn’t have; it felt like this was music for a new teen generation, and I had barely turned 13. I’ll never forget it.
David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust
I thought Marc Bolan was the second coming of Christ, but he wasn’t; he was the John the Baptist. He was the one who told you that there was something else coming over the hill, and that person coming over the hill was David Bowie.
Marc and David Bowie had a relationship — not only did they share producers and stuff, but they hung out with each other, they knew each other, they were like London mods. But David Bowie hadn’t quite found himself yet. He was a songwriter, he was bit of a song and dance man. Bowie came up in the sort of slipstream and, sadly, he kind of overtook Marc.
I’ll never forget it… He was on the Top of the Pops. It was the 6th of July in 1972, and he performed ‘Starman.’ All of the bands that came from the U.K. around that time, they’ll tell you that that was our ‘Where were you?’ moment. Because the world changed into color. ‘Starman’ was from Ziggy Stardust and that was the second record that I ever bought.
The Doors, L.A. Woman
My co-songwriter, Charlie Burchill, we both grew up on the same street; I’ve known Charlie since he was eight years old. I remember the day his mom got him a guitar because it was a summer day, and we were all on the street, hanging out. He came out with his guitar, and that wasn’t such a big deal. What was a big deal was that two days later, he could play everything and seemed to know everything.
What Charlie had was not only a guitar, he had an older brother and his brother had the most wondrous record collection and one of the mainstays of that record collection was the Doors.
His brother wouldn’t allow us to the touch the records, so when his brother started work, we just sat playing his albums the whole day through, hoping not to scratch them. One of the albums we’d play a lot was L.A. Woman. It’s still a colossal thrill to listen to the Doors.
Magazine, Real Life
It was really the post-punk thing that got me, and one of the key bands was a Manchester band called Magazine. That was Simple Minds’ first-ever tour; we opened for them. They never got a hit single, so they’re a cult band. But they were the prototype for us. I don’t want to say we stole so many things, but by osmosis, we adopted a lot of things from them because we were just so into it. To this day, I think we owe them a great debt. They were some of the torch-bearers that made it possible for bands like us.
Bob Marley & the Wailers, Exodus
For us, if you loved the band, you had to see it live, so we would go to a lot of concerts. [So I went to see Bob Marley,] and as soon as the music started… the opening track was ‘Exodus,’ and even as a kid, I knew that there was a profundity to all this. I didn’t know he was singing about their god and their religion and humanity and all that stuff, but I knew there was a depth to that beyond run-of-the-mill pop.
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