INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
New Musical Express DECEMBER 1, 1972 - by Bryan Ferry
WHATEVER TURNED YOU ON: BRYAN FERRY'S MUSICAL INFLUENCES
THE CRYSTALS: Da Doo Ron Ron - This is in my list to represent Spector and the whole time at which it came out. I like the title and the nonsense lyrics very much, and it's a great dance record.
THE SHIRELLES: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - This is particularly beautiful written by Goffin and King, I think. The lead singer is marvellous and so is the arrangement; the strings on the middle eight are incredible. It has a wistful, fragile quality which I love.
BOB DYLAN: Like A Rolling Stone - I've always preferred this period of Dylan to the acoustic guitar and harmonica numbers. It has one of the three organ sounds I really like, the others being the Farfisa sound and the Reginald Dixon sound. The lyrics, of course, are very good and Dylan's one of my heroes - if I have any heroes these days.
ETHEL MERMAN: There's No Business Like Show Business - I've always liked musicals. Camp, I suppose. If I became very rich tomorrow, I'd go out and buy all the records of musicals I could get my hands on - like Hello Dolly, Showboat, all those things. There's a Jewish word for her which slips my mind; it means "zest for life". She doesn't have a great voice, but she's got a terrific personality - like Dylan. They're both great singers. It's a happy song, without being a trivial one.
SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES: Tracks Of My Tears - A really sad one to follow that. He's one of the great lyricists. Combines the monumental with the throwaway. He's very similar to Billie Holiday, the way he phrases. Like all the Tamla records of this period it's immaculately produced, nearly perfect - the tambourine couldn't be any louder or softer or further away, and that sort of thing.
THE INKSPOTS: Memories Of You - Their lead singer has a vocal artistry comparable to Smokey Robinson's. I used to roll home drunk and play this very late on a scratchy record-player, along with Marlene and other things. My aunt had everything they recorded and she used to play them when I was small. I was always very moved by them.
THE BEATLES: A Day In The Life - I was very surprised when Sgt. Pepper's came out, to find out how much variety there was in their music. I'd liked all their previous records though when they first came out I was a bit suspicious, being into modern jazz a lot: Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman. It's very English music. English music used to be a bit of a joke somehow - The Laughing Policeman and all that. And totally asexual too, people like Tommy Steele parodying what was vital and beautiful in American culture. This is the only English record in my list.
LOTTE LENYA: Alabama Song - This is from The Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny by Berthold Brecht and Kurt Weill of course. It was covered horribly by The Doors - probably on the instigation of their pianist, who's a European. Lotte Lenya is a lovely cross between Ethel Merman and Billie Holiday, a mixture of forceful projection and tragic emotionalism.
BILLIE HOLIDAY: All Of Me - She's my favourite singer and I like everything she did. I Cover The Waterfront is another particular favourite. The records she made with Lester Young are the ones I love most.
CHARLIE PARKER: Star Eyes - Totally brilliant. Like Billie Holiday, he lived a tragic life and it came out in the music. It's very hard to verbalise about music this pure. It's very physical - you know, he plays a twisted note and you wince away from it. Although he's the only instrumentalist here, he's as much a singer as any of the others I've chosen.
FRANK SINATRA: Songs For Swinging Lovers - I love that mohair suit in the spotlight business. He's very good, though not everyone's cup of tea. He has an immaculateness which I admire. His best stuff is like this - with Nelson Riddle... the sort of thing you put on when you get home in the rain. Pour a couple of martinis, sling it on the phonogram, kick off your shoes, put your feet up, and survey your G-Plan furnished apartment.