From Melody Maker - March 28, 1998
by Dave Simpson
Special thanks go to Flagg for sending me this article.
Garbage's Shirley Manson reveals what rings her bell.
1 Nina Simone
"Nina Sings... Ellington"
The Queen of sultry rhythms meets the King of jazz.
"I grew up listening to this, thanks to mum. Singers like Nina Simone, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald made me want to do it. The album isn't that great, but it's got a brilliant version of her singing 'I Got it Bad, and That Ain't Good', which is so raw and amazing, it just slays me every time."
2 Siouxsie & The Banshees
Primal Howl from the psychotic darklands of seventies punk.
"Siouxsie embodied everything I wanted to be when I was a freaky adolescent. She was really articulate and string; there's so much power in songs like 'Jigsaw Feeling'. Siouxsie was my first schoolgirl crush. I always wanted black hair and black eyebrows but I couldn't have been further from that whole look because I was ginger! I still listen to 'The Scream' to this day and it's amazing."
3 David Bowie
Sex, sequins and schizophrenia from 1973's glam Messiah.
"It could easily have been 'Ziggy Stardust' but 'Aladdin Sane' was the first album I ever bought, ever! Bowie was also the first male singer I saw that I could relate to. There was a feminine side to him, obviously, and a lot of male singers I'd seen at that point were very manly. I put this in now and I listen to it from start to finish."
4 Patti Smith
US punk's passionate poetess.
"My favourite song of all time's on this album, 'Revenge'. I just love the opening line, 'I feel upset, let's do some celebrating'! I like the Patti Smith group purely for Patti Smith. She's my favourite female singer, not at all girly. She was a woman performing not relying on her sexuality at all. When she hits her stride, it's phenomenal."
5 The Velvet Underground
"The Velvet Underground"
Third seminal offering from Lou Reed's New York sleaze-gazers.
"I discovered what lay between men's thighs to this album, and what didn't often lay between their ears! 'Candy Says' is my favourite, but it's really sad. That line, 'I've grown to hate my body'. This was playing throughout my first sexual experiences. You just lifted the lever up and the record played all night. What happened then? What do you think happened?!"
US New Wave's virtuoso masterclass.
"Tom Verlaine's an amazing guitarist. He never does anything that makes you cringe. And he's got these beautiful long fingers, his hands just make me swoon! But this is the first whole album that I heard that seemed to me to be absolutely perfect. Years ago in Goodbye Mr. MacKenzie we used to cover 'See No Evil'. Ahem, yes!"
7 The Pretenders
Melodic power pop from one-time rock journo.
"Chrissie Hynde was one of the few people who looked good in a pair of leather trousers. She also inspired me to learn how to play guitar. She looks really comfortable with a guitar. She still looks like a woman, but she wears it low on her hips. And also her voice... that wonderful dichotomy of harshness and sensitivity. This album's a great pop album, songs like 'Kid' and 'Stop Your Sobbing'. Ohhh!"
8 The Stone Roses
"The Stone Roses"
Baggie's finest 50 minutes.
Probably the only album from the last decade that got me and my girlfriends into such a frenzy of excitement that we even got autographed copies. Me and one particular girlfriend even missed an episode of 'Eastenders' to see them play, after which we returned home steaming drunk and collapsed into bed, and an hour later we woke up simultaneously really wired by the concert, shoved the volume up full tilt and played the album while we jumped up and down on our beds. Completely naked and laughing hysterically!"
9 John Lee Hooker
"Tantalising With The Blues"
Twangy hooks from the Blues master.
"Until about four years ago I'd associated the blues with long-haired sixth-formers. But somebody played 'Serve You My Right to Suffer' and my hair just stood up. What I love about the bluesmen - and women like Betty Smith - is that they were always a lot older. The emphasis on how wise you are and how dirty you are is all to do with how you've lived. And these people can play until they're 90, with is phenomenal."
10 Frank Sinatra
"The Sinatra Touch" (Box set)
Greatest hits from the greatest voice.
"Frank is a relatively new discovery. I'd always thought of old ladies and Butlins, and then I heard him sing Jacques Brel's 'If You Go Away'. I thought, 'Oh God'. And this might be doing both singers a disservice, but it's like Nick Cave! He's so raw. It sounds like it's coming from deep inside, not off a music sheet."